January 10, 2023by Mahesh Patel

Why are retainers so Important


Teeth move after brace removal so to keep them in their new perfect position, we recommend retainers. The two main types are  are fixed retainers and removable retainers.

  1. Fixed retainers: are bonded to the back of the front teeth. They are invisible and feel just like natural teeth. They are very precise and very effective. They cannot be forgotten to be worn or misplaced.
  2. Removable retainer: These cannot be worn all the time as it is impractical and are worn at nights only. They are less precise as they deteriorate more quickly and teeth are prone to movement.  They are also more likely not to worn exactly day in day out or forgotten to be worn at all for period of time occasionally. This almost always lead to teeth moving out of position.


One of many


Which ones are better?

Ideally, fixed retainers are better. They are ‘invisible’, comfortable to wear and cannot be forgotten to be worn.

Each patient has individual needs and we would advise as we are very selective. The key factors to fitting one is good oral health and absence of a deepbite.  This ensures good longevity and easy maintenance.

The front teeth are more prone to relapse so fixed retainers are more effective for the front teeth.  Removable retainers useful for arch form maintenance, useful as a ‘re-aligner’, as a bite guard, whitening tray and desensitising teeth which are sensitive. For these reasons, most of our clients have both.

Are FIRST Ortho fixed retainers different?


  1. Our retainers extend over eight teeth. This compares to the average of 6,4 and only 2 teeth. This gives far better stability.
  2. Each pad is like a veneer and feels like your natural teeth making it easier to keep clean.
  3. It is placed away from the gums as we reduce a deepbite to make this possible. This makes gum health easier to maintain.



What other advantages are there with  fixed retainers?

  1. As the teeth will be more stable, one can aim for a more perfect result in the knowledge the changes will remain.
  2. Improvement in gum health as small spaces (dark triangles)  between the teeth can be closed.
  3. The tips of the teeth can be build as a part of the retainer improving the appearance of the teeth.
  4. Thin edges of the teeth due to bruxism and wear and tear can be reinforced as part of the retainer.
  5. Erosion of the back of the teeth can be protected as we cover the teeth with a thin veneer. However, one will also need to address the initial cause of the erosion.

Do fixed retainers need replacing?

Fixed retainer: this is hardly replaced at FIRST Ortho. Since 1988, we have advised replaced 6 and on advice removed 19. Considering we fit 5-9 a week, this is a small fraction. The low failure rate is we are selective in patient choice. We would not advise it for those at risk to complications: e.g calculus build, deep bites or poor gum health. The repair rate at this clinic is 2% over a two year period on one tooth. Considering we fit them on 16 teeth this is low and manageable.

Teeth are part of the overall growth of the body and they can change as a part of natural development. Once fixed retainers are fitted, clients rarely request for their removal because they do not impinge on their day to day life. The key aspect is the need for good gum health.