I’ve been told I need to wear an Essix retainer. What is this?

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Dentist Melbourne
Melbourne's Home of Dentistry

What is an Essix retainerSo you’ve finally completed your orthodontic journey and your braces have been removed!

Now that you have a beautiful smile, we want to help you keep it that way. This can be achieved with an Essix retainer – our removable custom-fitted clear acrylic retainer – or a wire bonded to the inner (lingual) side if your teeth to hold them in their new positions, or a combination of these two retainers.

Why do I need to wear my Essix retainer?

Clinical research has long shown that teeth have a tendency to move, no matter how well they are straightened. Correct use of your removable retainer and your fixed wire will help keep your teeth where we want them to be.

How long will it take to adjust to wearing an Essix retainer? 

Just like your previous orthodontic application, your retainer will take some getting used to. Your speech may be affected for the first day or two, but this will quickly resolve. If you feel that your removable retainer is not fitting well or you are having trouble with your bonded wire, please contact our friendly reception to make an appointment with your orthodontist.

How often should I wear my retainer?

  • First year = 24 hours
  • Second year = At night
  • Third year = Every second night
  • After the third year = 2-3 time per week (if the retainer feels tight, where it more often) 

During the first year, you should only remove your retainer when you are eating, drinking, brushing your teeth or playing sport. Remember to place the retainer in the box provided. Do not store it in tissues or your pockets as it may be broken or thrown away.

Bonded lingual wire

This retainer is cemented behind your teeth and is usually left in place permanently, to minimise any possible future movement of the teeth.

How do I clean and care for my retainer? 

Essix retainer

Your removable retainer needs to be cleaned daily, using cool water and your toothbrush. We recommend that you also soak your retainer once a week in a cup of Retainer Bride or in cool water and a teaspoon of vinegar. This will remove any bacteria and debris that may have accumulated. DO NOT use hot water or toothpaste as it may distort the acrylic.

Bonded lingual wire

To clean with the wire in place, brush above and below the wire using small circular movements. We recommend you use Oral-B Superfloss, as it has a stiffened end to thread between your teeth and the wire, a spongy section for large spaces and a smooth end for cleaning beneath the gum line.

In addition, it is important to keep up-to-date with regular visits to your general dentist and hygienist.

What should I do if I lose or break my retainer? 

Essix retainer

If you lose of break your Essix retainer, please phone our friendly reception staff within 48 hours and we will organise an appointment to take new moulds of your teeth and have a replacement made.

Bonded lingual wire

If your bonded wire comes loose or breaks, please phone our friendly reception staff within 48 hours and we will repair it or organise to have a new one made.

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