An orthodontic retainer is a custom-fitted device or appliance that holds your teeth in their current position. Teeth have a natural tendency to want to shift throughout one’s lifetime. Also, after orthodontic treatment teeth want to go back to their original spots. Research shows that the lifetime wear of retainers is the only way to permanently maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment.


At Walt Orthodontics, we offer the following types of retainers:


Fixed/Permanent Bar Glued to Teeth

A lingual bonded retainer is a thin wire that is glued to the inside surface of your front teeth only. Front teeth are the most likely to shift, especially on the bottom. Having a bonded wire gives patients the extra assurance that these teeth won’t shift during the times their removable retainers are not worn.

Having a bonded wire does not take away the need to wear a removable retainer! Although often referred to as a “permanent retainer”, these retainers can be removed in the future, if needed.


Discrete & Comfortable Go To’s

Essix retainers are removable retainers made entirely from clear plastic that fits snuggly around all the surfaces of the teeth. Upper and lower Essix retainers are given to every patient at the completion of their treatment since they are removable, and nothing is glued on the teeth.

Essix retainers are recommended to be worn at night for 8 – 10 hours once treatment is complete.


Perfect for Youngsters

Theroux retainers are used for our patients who have Early (Phase 1) Treatment. They are made from plastic in fun colours that cover just the front teeth, permanent molars and palate. Theroux retainers are able to hold any expansion that has been done, including front teeth alignment. A Theroux also allows baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to erupt.

These are usually worn at night, 8 – 10 hours once treatment is complete.


The “Old School Retainer”

Made with a metal wire on the front of teeth and acrylic covering the palate. The acrylic can be customized in a variety of colours.

Hawley retainers are used in situations for the back bite to settle.


The simple answer is: no, not if you wear your retainers. The most important thing for people to understand is that the most stable position for your teeth are where they initially are before orthodontic treatment. However, this isn’t necessarily the healthiest or most esthetic position for them. When someone gets braces or Invisalign, their teeth are moved to a new position which potentially can be more unstable. Orthodontic treatment isn’t a cure – you cannot expect that your teeth will automatically remain in their exact final position once treatment is complete without any maintenance.

Some people’s teeth will not shift but this is not the norm. We cannot predictably identify whose teeth will shift and whose will not – therefore we recommend lifetime nightly retention for everyone. Also – your wisdom teeth have nothing to do with teeth shifting. Teeth have an increased tendency to shift around the same time that wisdom teeth generally erupt – but it’s not due to the wisdom teeth. The easy solution to all of this is to wear your retainers nightly!


At Walt Orthodontics, we are committed to using technology to help protect the investment in your smile. All patients are provided with one set of retainers at the end of the treatment, but everyone is different in terms of how fast they wear through these retainers, similar to a pair of shoes! That’s why we have created our Digital Retainer Program. By using our in-house digital scanners and 3D printing, we are able to offer you 4 sets of retainers (8 total) at an extremely reduced rate when you opt in this special program at the end of your treatment!

Replacement retainers are usually priced around $200 for each retainer. But at our office, the Digital Retainer Program gives you peace of mind that you will have protection of your investment in your perfect smile long term! Please feel free to ask our staff more about how you can opt into our Digital Retainer Program and be set with your retainers for life!



Interested in Retainers? Here are some common questions we get asked about retainers.

How long do I need to wear a retainer for?

Research shows that retainers need to be worn throughout life. There are constant forces on teeth that can cause them to move. Wearing a retainer at night indefinitely prevents this movement.

How often do I need to wear a retainer?

For the first 4-6 months after treatment is complete, retainers should be worn full time. After that, night time wear (8-10 hours per day) is recommended indefinitely.

How do I care for my retainer?

Most importantly, keep your retainer in the case provided. At Walt Orthodontics, the most important rule is “If it’s not in your FACE, it should be in the CASE”. If not, it can get thrown in the garbage, lost, broken or even chewed by a pet!

We recommend cleaning your retainers by brushing them 1-2 times per day with your toothbrush and toothpaste. Try and brush and floss your teeth before wearing your retainer. Other alternatives to clean include mouthwash, drugstore retainer cleaners (e.g. Polident Retainer Cleaner), dish soap, or 1:1 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Never boil your retainer!

How often do retainers need to be replaced?

Everyone is different in terms of how fast they wear through their retainers, similar to a pair of shoes! Most Essix retainers can last 2-3 years.

If you clench or grind your teeth or have any dental work done (ex. buildups, fillings), you may need to replace them more often as the retainers may not fit properly, or show excessive wear.

At Walt Orthodontics, we offer our Digital Retainer Program that helps reduce the cost of replacement retainers long term!

What if I lose my retainer?

If you lose your retainer, contact us immediately so we can see you as soon as possible to get it replaced.

Remember—if it’s not in your FACE, it should be in the CASE!

Ready for some


If you have been wanting your bespoke, dream smile, our team at Walt Orthodontics is happy to help you achieve that. Book your complimentary consultation!