It is normal to have soreness on the cheeks and lips from having a new brace. The teeth are also uncomfortable when you bite or chew. This is only temporary and it will get better in one or two weeks. Please use your wax if the brace is rubbing and stick to soft food.

My fixed brace is broken

If it is NOT painful, eat soft food and eat on a side, away from the breakage to prevent any further damage to the brace. We may wish for you to come in sooner than your next appointment. If it is painful, we are happy to see you urgently. The offending part could be covered with orthodontic wax, Babybel wax or chewing gum temporarily. At the weekend or if you are on holiday, please carry out any emergency treatment necessary to make you more comfortable - through an emergency dentist or DIY using nail clippers to cut long wires if possible. If there has been an accidental injury to your mouth or face, resulting in a severe breakage or a knock to your teeth, you may need to go straight away to a hospital A&E. Don't worry about the brace itself, we will fix it as necessary.

My fixed brace is digging into my lips or cheek

Try to use orthodontic wax, Babybel wax or chewing gum to cover the offending part - dry the area first. If the wire is long at the back because it has popped out of the last tube, you can try to re-insert it with tweezers or try to tuck it out of the away under the bracket. If the last metal bracket has broken, the long wire will protrude into the cheek. It can be cut in an emergency or the broken bracket can be re-fixed on the tooth by us. You can try using nail clippers to cut the thinner flexible wires placed in the early stages of treatment. You may need an emergency appointment with us or an emergency dentist. Your brace can be fixed by us at any time after the event.


Retainers are used to maintain the wonderful results achieved by wearing braces.

Teeth can move throughout life so retainers are fitted after the braces are removed and should be worn at night throughout your life to keep your smile beautiful.

What are retainers?

Retainers maintain your straight teeth after the braces have been removed. A clear gumshield is commonly given for night-time wear and sometimes a fixed wire retainer is placed behind the front teeth. Your teeth are free to move throughout life unless you wear retainers to hold them. It is normal for our body parts to grow and change throughout life and this includes teeth. Most changes in the body cannot be prevented (hair and nails will continue to grow). Fortunately, the position of the teeth can be maintained by wearing retainers. Natural factors cause teeth to move, such as late jaw growth, growth of wisdom teeth, changes in muscle/bite forces, natural loss of bone or gum disease etc. Some teeth are stubborn & have a strong desire to slip back to their original position. Maintaining our smile is a life-style choice with obvious benefits and retainers need to be worn for life or as long as you wish to have straight teeth.

How many years do I need to wear retainers?

There is never a good time to stop wearing them because your teeth will move throughout life. Wear them for as long as you care about the straightness of your teeth. We expect to brush our teeth for life and wearing retainers is just an extention of maintenance of our dental health and wellbeing.

How often should I wear my retainers?

Wear your removable retainers every night until we advise you otherwise. After a couple of years it may be sufficient to wear them alternate nights. It is better to wear them more often than less and you can’t wear them too much! If you have fixed retainers too, it may be sufficient to wear your removable retainers 2-3 nights a week. It is important that they are worn regularly. Irregular use and periods of non-wearing, will allow teeth to move significantly, which will be disappointing. If they feel tighter than usual or you are noticing your teeth move, you are probabaly not wearing them enough. Please wear them full time (night and day) and contact us for advice so that we can help get you back on track.

How often do I replace my retainers?

Retainers should be replaced if they are broken or loose. If they are a few years old, they will be subject to wear and tear in the mouth and they they may not look great! Some people grind their teeth at night and their retainer may deteriorate more quickly. It is best for us to check your retainers.

I need (new) removable retainers.

If you want to replace your old ones, please make sure you wear your current retainers for 48 hours night and day, before coming to see us for new impressions/scan of your teeth. Please wear them to the appointment so that your teeth are at their best. If your retainers are lost, please contact us immediately so that there is no delay in taking new impressions/scan. Your teeth will start to move if you are not wearing anything.

My retainers are not fitting.

Call us urgently, as soon as you notice. If you have not been wearing your retainers for any reason, your teeth may have moved. There may be a chance of recovering the situation by forcing the reatiners onto your teeth and moving the teeth back into alignment. You will need to wear them night and day for 24-48 hours to see if it is helping. The teeth may become painful as they move and it is best to call us for support and advice. If your teeth are moving despite wearing retainers as advised, please wear them full time and call us as soon as possible. Growth of the wisdom teeth can cause sudden changes and make it difficult to wear your retainers. If they don't fit at all, it may be too late to retrieve the situation easily. Call us to see how we can help.

I want fixed retainers.

Fixed (wire) retainers are NOT an alternative to removable retainers. You need both, ideallly. They can offer additional security & convenience if combined with removable retainers. Fixed retainers only hold the front teeth, allowing the back teeth to collapse and push all the front teeth out of the correct bite. Contrary to professional advice, many patients choose not to wear their removable retainer, and rely only on their fixed retainers. They can break whilst eating hard/crispy foods. They can come loose without you realising and the breakage can be difficult to diagnose. You may notice your teeth begin moving out of line - this is a common problem. They can collect plaque and tartar and in possibly cause tooth decay. We avoid them in younger children. We are happy to discuss if fixed retainers are suitable for your teeth. Please call us.

My fixed retainer is broken.

If you can bear with it, please call us and give us an opportunity to fix it. If it is uncomfortably loose and causing you immediate problems, wear your removable retainer on top during the day if that helps, and call us. If you cannot bear with it, pull it off with tweezers or cut it with sharp nail clippers. Make sure you wear your removable retainers every night to stop teeth moving and ask us for advice.

10 points to help you keep your smile beautiful !

  1. Wear your removable retainers alternate nights, at least, even if you have fixed retainers.
  2. Fixed retainers are a good idea but don’t rely on them. They can break if you bite apples & pizza crust.
  3. If your removable retainers are feeling tight, you are probably not wearing them enough.
  4. Please call us, if you feel your teeth are moving or your retainers are not fitting well.
  5. Check your fixed and removable retainers for damage - ask your dentist or hygienist. Keep your removable retainers clean and safe in a retainer box, away form dogs!
  6. Don't forget to take them on holiday or business trips.
  7. Replace your retainers every few years if they are looking tired.
  8. Always keep a spare set of retainers in your cupboard in case they you lose or break a set.
  9. Always have new retainers made on straight teeth. Wear your retainers solidly for for 48 hours before having an impression/scan for new ones.
  10. Retainer need to be worn for life, if you want to keep your teeth straight.