Orthodontic Retainers: A Contemporary Overview

J Contemp Dent Pract. 2019 Jul 1;20(7):857-862.


Aim: The aim of this article is to provide an insight into the various modalities of retention and types of appliance used in achieving this objective.

Background: Maintaining the orthodontically treated teeth in their corrected position is a challenging and ominous task since the inception of this specialty. Orthodontic retainers play a pivotal role in preventing posttreatment tooth movement, thereby maintaining the esthetic, function, and stability of the stomatognathic system.

Results: An extensive study of literature suggests that there are significant variations in the results describing the effectiveness, cost factors, survival times, oral hygiene status, and regimen of various orthodontic retention appliances. In terms of patient's satisfaction and speech articulation, vacuum-formed retainers (VFRs) are better than Hawley retainers. Occlusal contacts are better achieved with Hawley retainers than VFRs.

Conclusion: Currently, there is insufficient high-quality evidence in favor of a particular retention appliance/regime or protocol. There is a need for further evidence-based high-quality studies/randomize controlled trial studies (RCTs) to evaluate different orthodontic retention appliances and regime after the orthodontic treatment.

Clinical significance: Irrespective of the appliance, the patients should be prepared for a long-term or indefinite retention phase following orthodontic treatment to prevent relapse.

Keywords: Orthodontic retainers; Relapse; Removable retainers; Retention Vacuum formed retainers..

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Orthodontic Appliance Design
  • Orthodontic Retainers*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Recurrence
  • Tooth Movement Techniques
  • Vacuum