A, Hawley retainer
These are the most common removable retainers made from an acrylic base plate with a metal labial bow. This retainer clips onto the teeth.
B, Essix retainer
These are vacuum-formed aesthetic (invisible) retainers. Easy and comfortable to wear. Only disadvantage is when the teeth shift slightly, the retainer will no longer fit.
You must remove your retainers whilst eating and drinking because it may cause staining to the teeth.
C, Fixed Retainer
Small wires bonded permanently on the inside surfaces of the teeth. These mandibular retainers must be worn until all growth has ceased. Nevertheless when this wire is removed, there is a slight chance that the mandibular incisors could shift. You will be shown how to brush the teeth as you will need to be careful whilst brushing.
If the retainer becomes loose you will need to contact your orthodontist.
After active treatment retainers will need to be worn. Removable retainers are worn full-time for the first 1 to 3 months. They are then worn only at nights for the next few months, phasing down to every other night for a few months, and eventually 1 or 2 nights a week. You should then keep wearing your removable retainers 1-2 nights a week for as long as possible; in other words for as long as you want your teeth to remain straight! This is called ‘long-term retention’.