As the name implies, “retainers” stabilize the result of orthodontic treatment so that the teeth won’t move again. Retainers can be removable or fixed.
We generally recommend BOTH with the removable one worn nights in most cases and the fixed or bonded retainers attached behind (not visible from the front) the upper and/or lower front teeth for many years…15 or longer in many instances. See our “Long Term Followup” gallery. Removable retainers can also serve as tooth whitening trays using whatever product(s) the patient prefers. See “Truth telling about Tooth Whitening” article on our website. Perhaps half of our adult patients these days were treated elsewhere in their teens but experienced relapse movements of their teeth as adults requiring retreatment. This can be avoided in most cases with bonded retainers. Once orthodontic treatment is completed, periodic retainer checkups are complimentary indefinitely though retainer repair/ replacement entails a modest charge if needed.