I’ve written quite a few blogs on retention.

There is no one size fits all protocol.

The Orthodontic Aftercare Opportunity

Esthetic Bonded Fixed Retainers

Bonded Retainers

Choosing the Best Type of Retainer after Orthodontic Treatment

There is also a lot on our youtube page.


Basically, you need to pick the right retainer to fit the case clinically.

I love positioners and hawleys the most and essix and bonded retainers the least. The pros and cons are listed above in the blogs and YouTube.

Hawleys and Essix need to be worn full time for at least 6 months and can be tapered after that but the exact tapering schedule needs to be customized for each patient or relapse occurs.

Here is my scripting, let’s say I am talking to my hypothetical patient, Sarah, who is 13.

“Sarah, you’ve been doing a great job with your retainers. Let’s talk about phasing your retainers down. I know you’ve been wearing them 24/7 but you do take them out for eating and sports. Tell me a little bit about how that is for you. What is the longest you’ve left them out? Did they feel tight or achy when you put them back in? If so, that was too long. Your teeth have already moved and if we do that too often, they won’t move back. Try to find how many hours you can leave them out without feeling any discomfort. That is your sweet spot. Each month try to add one more hour. Some patients can safely go to nights after 6 months of full time wear and some may take years to taper back. Listen to your body. It is a marathon, not a sprint.”