The retention phase is a critical part of your orthodontic treatment!

When we remove your braces or you complete your clear aligner transformation, your orthodontic treatment isn’t over yet! Now, you begin the retention stage of your orthodontic treatment. 

As your braces, Invisalign or Spark treatment is coming to an end, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to wear your retainer and how to clean retainers when you visit us at one of our locations in South Carolina!

What do retainers do?

Retainers after braces or clear aligner treatment solidify the hard work you put into your treatment process. They support your new smile and hold your teeth in their final position to prevent them from shifting and reverting to their original position.

The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far! When you first begin wearing your retainer, you’ll wear it for 24 hours, through the day and night. After about 12 months, we’ll let you know when you can reduce your wear to nights only!

Remember to remove your retainer before brushing your teeth, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth. You can soak your retainer in a retainer or denture cleansing solution regularly to prevent bacteria buildup.

Types of Retainers for Teeth


Maxillary wrap-around retainers are your upper, removable retainers. The most common types of removable retainers are Hawley retainers and Essix retainers. The Hawley retainer includes an acrylic center that rests in the palate of your mouth, with small metal wires that fit between your back teeth to hold the retainer in place. The Essix retainer is very similar to a clear aligner, made of transparent plastic that fits around the entire dental arch. 

You must be very careful when handling your removable retainers! They’re fragile and costly to replace. We’ll give you a special case for your retainer; please make sure you keep it in this case when you’re not wearing it! (You’d be surprised how many people throw away their retainer on mistake.) 

To clean your retainers, brush it with toothpaste after each wear. You can soak it in a denture cleaner or retainer cleaner with warm water too.

How long do retainers last? Your retainer can last up to 10 years with proper care!


A fixed retainer, or permanent retainer, is cemented to the back of your teeth and typically remains in place for a lifetime. These permanent retainers include a thin metal wire, custom-designed to fit your dental arch, with each end cemented to the back surface of a tooth. Fixed retainers may be bonded behind the upper teeth, the lower teeth, or both, depending on your specific condition. 

If you have a fixed retainer, it’s important that you brush and floss your teeth thoroughly each day! Food particles can get trapped within your fixed retainer, leading to bacteria growth. We’ll show you how to properly floss behind your fixed retainer when you’re beginning the retention phase!

How long do retainers last? Your permanent retainer can last a lifetime.

Retainers Cost

The cost of your retainer is included in your affordable payment plan!

How much do retainers cost? There won’t be an additional fee for your retainer, unless you happen to damage it or lose it. 

At the end of your braces or clear aligner treatment, we’ll give you your custom-designed, removable retainer! As long as you keep your retainer in great shape, and you store it in your designated carrying case each time you take it out of your mouth, you shouldn’t have to worry about a retainer cost

In the event that you do damage your retainer significantly or lose it, you will be responsible for a replacement fee. If you require a replacement retainer at any point, please contact our office.


Cut out of our patient and smiling at the camera. He is happy with his orthodontic results.

Have any questions about dental retainers?

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at any of our locations in West Spartanburg, East Spartanburg, Gaffney, Duncan, or Union. We’re happy to discuss braces retainers, retainers costs, and any other treatments with you. We believe patient education is the foundation to a successful treatment! 

If you haven’t received your complimentary exam yet, we encourage you to request yours today! Your first visit to our office is no-obligation, no-risk, and no-commitment. We want you to experience the Nth Degree in orthodontic care, without any financial risk.