Retainers are a crucial part of keeping teeth straight after orthodontic treatment has concluded. Learn about retainers and how they can help you after your primary orthodontic treatment is over.

Keep Your Teeth Aligned

After any orthodontic treatment concludes a retainer is used to maintain the teeth’s new alignment long term. There are fundamentally two types of retainers: permanent and removable. Whether you are best suited for one or the other will depend on your overall oral health and orthodontic needs as assessed by your dentist. We offer two types of retainers at Dental Care East Hanover:

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers come in two basic types: clear plastic and Hawley retainers. Any type of removable retainer needs to be cleaned as often as your teeth. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste or a baking soda solution is a must to reduce bacteria. Besides cosmetics, a major advantage of removable retainers is that they can easily be removed for eating as well as brushing and flossing.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are a long-term, indefinite option, only needing to be replaced or repaired if sufficient wear occurs. They are also not visible like Hawley retainers and are very durable. Some upsides of permanent retainers are that they do not require following instructions, cannot be lost, and are likely the most durable type of retainer. Some downsides are that maintaining oral hygiene can be difficult since it can’t be removed, making some areas harder to reach properly.

  • What is the best way to clean retainers?

    As you remove and replace your retainer during the day, germs and plaque will begin to accumulate. This is not an issue as long as you clean your retainer after each use.

    To begin cleaning your retainers, take them off and gently rinse them in warm water. Then, carefully clean your retainer with dish soap using a soft-bristled toothbrush. After you’ve cleaned every inch of your retainer, rinse it and let it dry.

  • How do you know when it's time to replace your retainer?

    Your retainers are strong, but they won’t last forever. Replace your retainer if you detect a loose fit, an unpleasant tight fit, or cracks emerging in the retainer. Continuing to wear a broken or warped retainer might harm your smile more than it will help keep it in place. If you break or lose your retainers, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible to get a new pair.

  • Can permanent retainers be removed?

    Yes, permanent retainers can be removed by a dentist or orthodontist if necessary. However, it’s usually not recommended unless there is a specific reason, as they are intended to be a long-term solution.

  • How often should permanent retainers be checked?

    It’s recommended to have permanent retainers checked by a dentist or orthodontist at least once a year to ensure they are still properly in place and functioning correctly.

  • How long do you wear removable retainers?

    The length of time you need to wear removable retainers varies depending on your individual orthodontic needs and the recommendations of your orthodontist. In general, they may need to be worn full-time initially and then gradually transitioned to nighttime wear.

  • Can you sleep with removable retainers?

    Yes, you can sleep with removable retainers, especially if your orthodontist recommends wearing them at night for maintenance. However, be sure to follow any specific instructions provided by your orthodontist.

More Questions?

If you have more questions about retainers, please contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further. Feel free to schedule an appointment online through the button below.

Dental Care East Hanover

320 Rt 10
East Hanover, NJ 07936
View Map


Monday: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm



Email Address

[email protected]