The Do’s and Don’ts of Caring for your Retainer

Many of our patients here at Pembroke Dental Ballsbridge use retainers or bite splints. The main reasons for this are because patients have had orthodontic treatment or because of bruxism, teeth grinding or clenching.


There are four main types of retainers:

  1. Bonded retainers
  2. Removable retainers

Because your teeth will usually try to move back to where they were when you finish orthodontic treatment, most patients will need to use retainers to prevent relapse. Bonded retainers are fixed to the inside of your teeth after treatment such as the ‘train tracks’ your orthodontist may have fitted when you were a teenager or one of the adult, short-term braces we provide here at Pembroke Dental Ballsbridge, like Six Month Smiles, clear aligners, Inman aligners or ClearSmile braces. Bonded retainers generally last about five years or so.

Clear aligner

Retainers provided by Pembroke Dental Ballsbridge are guaranteed for a year, so if your plastic retainer cracks or your bonded retainer comes away from a tooth, you can pop back in to us to have it repaired.


  1. Hard bite splint
  2. Soft bite splint

Even if you’ve never worn a brace you may need to use a bite splint or night guard to prevent grinding or clenching in your sleep, which can otherwise result in damage to your teeth. Depending on the severity of the bruxism and what you find more comfortable, you may be given a hard or soft bite splint. (There are also other treatments available for bruxism, including therapeutic Botox and Cerezen devices – ask Dr Keenan or Dr Owens at your next appointment if you would like more information or read more on our website).

Alas, nothing lasts forever! An essix retainer will normally last one to two years and a bonded retainer should last five, but all retainers will all eventually break or wear out. However, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of yours:

  • Remember to store and care for your retainer correctly. Don’t leave it where it can get sat or stood on, or even squashed by a chair or car (it has happened!) and remember to bring them home with you if you are on holidays. Many patients leave them in hotel rooms only to find they have been thrown out by the housekeeping staff when the room was cleaned after they checked out.
  • Don’t immerse your retainer in boiling water or leave it exposed to heat or direct sunshine – it will become misshapen and if it doesn’t fit correctly, it doesn’t work correctly. Keep your retainer clean and odour-free using appropriate products such as Retainer Brite (which we stock at Pembroke Dental Ballsbridge) and a toothbrush.
  • A plastic retainer may crack or chip, especially if you’re grinding. Come back to the dentist to see if it should be replaced or whether you need a different type of retainer instead.Dog ate retainer
  • Beware of the dog! Joking aside, Fido loves retainers and will treat yours exactly the same way as his squeaky toys if he gets his paws on it. Dogs have been known to take retainers off night stands and bury them in the garden, so consider yourself warned!


For an appointment with the dentist to discuss bonded retainers, removable retainers or bite splints, please call the office on 01 668 3242 or email

Dog Braces

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