Orthodontic retainers are custom-made devices, made usually of wires or clear plastic, that hold teeth in position after surgery or any method of realigning teeth. They are most often used before or after dental braces to keep teeth in position while assisting the adjustment of the surrounding gums to changes in the bone.
Some retainers are permanent whereas other are temporary. Most patients are required to wear their retainer(s) every night at first, with many also being directed to wear them during the day – at least initially.
There are four types of retainers typically prescribed by orthodontists and dentists: Hawley, Essix, Zendura, and Bonded (Fixed) retainers.