After all of the hard work you dedicate to your braces or Invisalign® treatment, you deserve to love your smile for years to come.

Wearing your retainer is the final (and most important) phase of your orthodontic treatment in Issaquah. It’s up to you to maintain your results through proper retainer wear and care!

Confident smiling woman

What does a retainer do?

Your retainer is worn once your braces or Invisalign treatment is complete, and it plays the key role of holding your teeth in their beautiful new position to prevent them from ‘relapsing’. 

Once active orthodontic treatment is complete, your teeth are susceptible to ‘orthodontic relapse’, or reverting back to their original pre-treatment positions. Your teeth require a period of retention to ensure that they stabilize in the proper alignment.

How long will I wear a retainer after braces or Invisalign?

At the beginning of your retention phase, you’ll be instructed to wear your retainer full-time for one year. This is how we achieve and maintain the best results!

After about a year, you will be able to reduce your wear to nights only. Because teeth have a tendency to shift throughout life, it’s important that you wear your retainer at night, indefinitely.

Types of Retainers

There are two types of retainers, removable retainers and fixed retainers. 

Removable retainers are similar to Invisalign clear aligners, in that they can be taken out as needed to eat, brush your teeth, and clean your retainer. 

Fixed retainers are bonded to your teeth and cannot be removed without your orthodontist.

Fixed Retainers

These retainers include a small metal wire, custom-designed to fit behind the teeth. They’re generally bonded to the back surface of the bottom teeth, but can also be used behind the top teeth depending on your condition.

Typically, this wire stays in place forever to hold your bottom teeth in their beautiful alignment. The only exception is if your family dentist determines that your oral hygiene is suffering, which could lead to bone or gum problems. Keeping your teeth clean with a permanent retainer is essential!

Removable Retainers

The main types of removable retainers are Hawley retainers and Essix retainers. 

The Hawley retainer has metal wires with an acrylic center that sits in the roof of the mouth. An Essix retainer is similar to Invisalign; it’s a clear retainer made of plastic, custom-made to cover the front and back surfaces of the teeth.

Retainer Cost

You will receive one custom retainer as a part of your treatment plan. If you happen to lose or break your retainer, there will be a replacement fee.

If you lose or damage your retainer, please let us know as soon as possible. We want you to have a new retainer as soon as possible to prevent your teeth from shifting out of place.

The ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of Retainer Wear & Care


  • Do not expose your retainers to heat! Your retainer can melt or warp and become ineffective, so it’s important that you do not put them in the dishwasher, use hot water on them, or leave them in your car. 
  • Do not leave your retainer around your pets. You don’t want to find out how much they love chewing retainers!



  • Do put your retainer in your retainer case every time you remove it from your mouth. 
  • Do clean your retainer every time you brush your teeth. You can use a mild dish soap and an extra soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your retainer. 
  • Do clean your retainer case regularly. You want your clean retainer to be placed back in a clean carrying case every time. You can use a mild soap and lukewarm water to wash your retainer case daily, or at least a few times a week.
  • Do soak your retainer in a retainer cleaning solution (like Retainer Brite) to disinfect your retainer a few times a week.
  • Do clean your retainer before and after placing it in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser or soap residue.

Have questions about retainers?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.

Dr. Tripti Pawar and our experienced team are here to guide you and support you along your treatment process, while you achieve the perfect smile.

Ready to get started? Request your complimentary consultation at our conveniently located orthodontist office in Issaquah today!