Retention is as important as treatment with braces. Not wearing proper retainers may lead to shifting back of the result achieved with brace treatment. Retention ensures a beautiful smile and functional occlusion for a long time.

Retention plate – a plastic plate attached to the teeth with clamps. A retention plate is worn all the time for 6 months, then for 3 months at night and thereafter for 3 months overnight. Further retention regimen is determined by the orthodontist. The plate can be removed for eating, cleaning teeth and sports, if the device may be damaged.

Essix retainer – a thin transparent plastic splint that is comfortable to wear and does not show. An Essix retainer is worn all the time for 1 week (ex. for eating, cleaning) and thereafter at night for 1 year. The specific retention regimen is determined by the orthodontist.

Wire retainer glued to teeth – a long-term retainer is bent precisely according to the teeth and glued to the inner lingual surface of the teeth. A glued retainer does not shift from place and keeps the teeth in place at all times.


  • Retainers should be maintained with care, as they are quite delicate. Retainers should not be placed in very hot or cold water as this can deform them. The patient should not fit or bend the retainer themselves. In case of losing the retainer or it breaking an orthodontist should be urgently consulted.
  • A lost or broken retainer does not only incur additional costs, but also affects permanence of the treatment outcome. To achieve a beautiful smile and dental occlusion, cooperation between the doctor and the patient is important.
  • If the retainer is not worn, ALWAYS keep it in a container. The retainer should be stored inside a damp napkin in a container, which prevents the device from drying (deforming).
  • Clean the retainer once a day using a brush and water. If necessary, liquid soap, dishwashing detergent or special plastic (prosthetic) cleaning liquid can be used to break down dirt. A removable retainer should not be washed with toothpaste.
  • The patient has to bring the retainer with them when coming to an appointment.

dr. Kati Võrk

Orthodontist - Orthodontic treatment for children and adults

Riia St clinic

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