Orthodontic Researchers Make Discoveries About Retainer Wearing



A group of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine researchers wanted more definitive research on retainer wearing. As a result, they recently conducted a study searching for more data.

The researchers randomly sent out 2,000 surveys to orthodontists in the United States and 658 responded.

It was discovered that 58.2 percent of orthodontists had prescribed removable retainers for their patients. Fixed lingual retainers that are constantly worn in one’s mouth were prescribed by 40 percent of orthodontists.

Most orthodontists prescribed removable retainers to be worn full-time for the first nine months after a patient had his or her braces removed. Orthodontists also want patients to wear these retainers part-time for the rest of their life.

According to the researchers, it’s conceivable that some dental issues could appear again. However, there is no definitive proof that this will happen.

The researchers put together another study analyzing how often patients continue to wear retainers after their braces were removed. Of the 1,200 patients who received the survey, about 36 percent answered the questions, which detailed all aspects of retainer wearing.

According to the study, 60 percent of the people wore their retainers for a minimum of 10 hours per day in the first three months after being prescribed a retainer. There were 69 percent of the patients who wore the retainer every night. After about 19 to 24 months, roughly four out of five patients were still wearing the retainers, though it may have only been once per week. One out of five stopped wearing the retainer.

The study also indicated that factors such as age and gender, and the type of retainer had no effect on the person’s retainer-wearing habits.

The final study looked for the effects on patients who did not wear a retainer in the month after having their braces removed. There were 30 patients who had the wires on the braces removed but still kept the appliances in their mouth as a way of checking the changes in their mouth.

The results showed that about half of the patients displayed no negative effects from not wearing the retainer in that one-month time period. There were some patients, however, who needed more work because they did not wear the retainer.

Despite the ways in which these studies will help orthodontists, none of them were a large enough sample size to make definitive conclusions regarding retainer wearing. More research is essential if orthodontists change the ways they prescribe retainers.