When we remove your braces, your teeth will be perfectly straight. You will finish your treatment by wearing a retainer, which is the last stage of treatment, called retention. When your braces come off, your teeth haven’t fully adjusted to their new position yet. They need to be held into place with a retainer to prevent them from shifting.

The success of this stage is solely up to you, the patient. You should wear your retainer 24/7 until instructed differently by Dr. Hansen or one of his staff. Just like with braces, your retainer requires some care and special attention.

Take out your retainer before you eat or drink anything other than water, and remember to brush your teeth after each meal before putting your retainer back in your mouth.

To clean your retainer, you can soak it in a cup of warm (not hot) water or mouthwash, or brush it gently with a clean toothbrush. Never use toothpaste on your retainer!

If you have any other questions about your retainer or how to take care of it, please call our office. We’d be more than happy to assist you!

Essix Retainers


Essix retainers look similar to Invisalign trays. They are clear retainers that fit on your teeth and can be removed to eat and drink. They are entirely made of a hard, transparent plastic, which means there are no wires. We use Essix retainers to keep your teeth in place after braces. Like all retainers, they should be worn as often as possible until Dr. Hansen tells you otherwise.

Fixed/Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are a small piece of wire that is glued or cemented to the inside of your teeth. They are usually attached to the canine teeth and they stretch across the back of your teeth to hold them in place. They are not removable, but they also cannot be seen, so they are a great option for those who don’t want to worry about wearing a removable retainer.


Bonded lingual retainers can break and patients should be careful with them. If your retainer does break, call Dr. Hansen and get it replaced as soon as possible. Brushing and flossing your permanent retainer is important, and practicing oral hygiene can extend the life of your retainer and keep your teeth healthy. We will provide you with special threaders to help you floss around your new retainer.

Fixed retainer