When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase generally lasts for a minimum of 12 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on diligent retainer wear, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Please wear your retainer as instructed. There is a significant fee charged to replace a lost or broken retainer. Remember to remove your retainer (unless permanently affixed) prior to eating and brushing. Clean your retainer as instructed prior to placing back in your mouth.


We generally try to give you a choice of retainer types you can wear. Occasionally, however, Dr. Fenderson will need to use a certain type of retainer that best suits your needs.

  • Clear Invisible (full arch)
  • Clear Invisible (anteriors only)
  • Traditional Hawley type: Wire in front and plastic inside
  • Bonded (glued) on inside of lower and upper teeth


  • Retainers are to be worn full-time, day and night, unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Fenderson.
  • Retainers that are worn full-time may be removed to eat and to brush your teeth.
  • To clean invisible retainers, you may use an anti-bacterial soap (ex. Dial soap) and a wet Q-tip. Place a small amount of soap on the wet Q-tip and gently rub the Q-tip in the grooves of the retainer. Rinse out. Repeat this every other day. If you are wearing your retainer full time, do not use a toothbrush, as this can scratch your retainer and cause it to turn cloudy.
  • Keep retainers away from pets (especially dogs and cats) because they are attracted to your saliva and will either chew on or eat your retainer.
  • If you take your retainer out, you must place it in the case provided for you. If you wrap it in a napkin while eating, chances are, it will get thrown away. If you place your retainers in your pocket without them being in your case, your retainers will get bent or be broken.
  • Do not leave your retainers anywhere hotter than room temperature. They will melt.
  • Retainers are NOT dishwasher safe!
  • Do not soak your retainers in any kind of mouthwash, as retainers will absorb color. It is okay to dip retainer for a few seconds to “freshen” it up.
  • Once you have been advised by Dr. Fenderson to wear your invisible retainer at night only, you may brush your retainer with a toothbrush and some toothpaste. It may get a little cloudy looking, but it will not harm the retainer.


  • Your anterior invisible retainer is to be worn during the nighttime only!
  • If you wear your anterior retainer full-time, it will negatively affect your bite. Nighttime wear ONLY!
  • You should brush your retainer every morning (after you have worn it through the night) to clean it.
  • Be sure to keep your retainer in your case by your toothbrush during the day when it is not in your mouth.
  • Do not leave your retainer anywhere hotter than room temperature, as it will melt.
  • Retainers are NOT dishwasher safe!
  • Do not soak your retainers in any kind of mouthwash, as retainers will absorb color. However, it is okay to dip your retainer for a few seconds to “freshen” it up.


  • Hawley retainers are generally worn full-time for up to six months after your braces are removed. After full-time wear, you will be instructed to wear your retainer at night only. Do not go to nighttime wear until you are instructed by Dr. Fenderson to do so.
  • During full time wear, you may remove your retainer to eat and to brush your teeth. Leaving your retainers in while eating will cause them to become dirty and foul smelling; it can also cause your retainer to break. When your retainer is out of your mouth, it needs to be in your retainer case. One will be provided for you. Be sure to brush your teeth after eating, and then you may re-insert your retainer.
  • To clean your retainer, you may brush it with your toothbrush at least once a day. Feel free to brush more if you'd like - it won't hurt it. First, brush your teeth and then use the leftover foam on your toothbrush to brush your retainer. You may also soak your retainer in a denture cleaner or mouthwash on occasion to “freshen it up.”
  • You may notice a plastic taste for the first couple days after you get your new retainer. It will disappear in a few days.
  • You may notice a slight speech impediment. This is due to the plastic of your new retainer. As you wear the retainer more, you will get used to the plastic and your speech will return to normal.
  • If you are eating out, DO NOT place your retainer in a napkin as it can easily be mistaken for trash and thrown away. Please put it in your case.
  • DO NOT leave your retainer lying around for children to find. They will play with, step on or hide it. (Trust me, it's been done before.)
  • Pets (mainly dogs and cats) are attracted to the salt in your saliva and will gladly chew on or even eat your retainer. (That's been done, too!)
  • If you place your retainer in your pocket without first placing it in your case, you will break it.
  • Be sure to remove your retainer with your fingers and not your tongue. Removing your retainer with your tongue can cause the retainer to become loose or fit improperly. If you feel your retainer is not fitting correctly, please feel free to call us for an adjustment.