What is a Retainer and How Does It Work?

 Azarko Marketing  Monday, June 05, 2017

A retainer is a common orthodontic appliance that has an important role to play in proper oral care for many different people. It is typically used after orthodontic treatment in order to help the teeth stay in their new position by providing needed support to oral structures. Usually made up of clear plastic and wires, a retainer can be fixed or removable. Custom-made retainers are among the orthodontic treatments offered by the Edmonton dentists of Azarko Dental Group.


Wearing braces causes changes not only to your teeth, but also to your gums and to the surrounding bone structure. When braces are removed, the teeth, gums, and bones will sometimes want to return to their prior alignment. This is known as "relapse." A retainer reinforces the new position of your teeth so that all of your oral structures have even more time to settle into your newly aligned bite, helping to prevent a relapse.

Your Edmonton dentist will determine what kind of retainer is right for you. A removable retainer, as the name suggests, can be removed. A fixed retainer, on the other hand, is bonded to your teeth and remains there until your dentist takes it off. A fixed retainer is mainly intended to support the front teeth, which are more likely to shift after treatment. For this reason, even people who use a fixed retainer often wear a removable retainer as well.

Whether fixed or removable, your retainer will be moulded to fit the exact shape of your teeth, gums, and bone. A retainer is typically worn after both orthodontic treatment with traditional braces and treatment with the clear, plastic aligners known as Invisalign. Getting your retainer from a trusted Edmonton dental clinic will ensure that it fits well and fits comfortably, and that it properly does the job it was intended to do.

After braces are removed, orthodontic patients are typically instructed to wear their retainer as often as possible to help the teeth settle into their new alignment. As time goes on and your oral structures successfully adjust, you may only need to wear your retainer at night time. The total length of time that a retainer must be worn can vary from person to person depending on the severity of the initial misalignment and the progress of treatment. In order to maintain their straight smile, many people continue to wear their retainer indefinitely while they sleep.

At Azarko Dental Group, our Edmonton dentists provide custom-made retainers that help our patients maintain a straight smile once it is time for their braces to come off. We ensure that your retainer is well-made and comfortably fitted, and we are always here to help if you have any questions or concerns.

Orthodontic Treatment in Edmonton

For more information on orthodontic treatments such as retainers and braces, feel free to visit the Edmonton dental clinic of the Azarko Dental Group today.

Azarko West


14938 Stony Plain Rd.

Edmonton, AB T5P 3X8