What are night retainers?

Night retainers, also known as OIR (Oral Invisible Retainer) are dental retainers. Retainers stabilize teeth and molars after they have been treated with braces. Seeing as this orthodontic tool is removable and only worn during the night, they are called night retainers. Similar to the Invisalign clear braces, night retainers consist of clear synthetic covers which slide over the teeth. They make sure your teeth stay put while they become fixed in their new position.

Night retainers keep your teeth aligned after an orthodontic treatment.

Why do you need night retainers

When you’ve finished with the clear braces treatment and you’re happy with your new straight teeth, it’s time to remove any attachments (the studs on your teeth) and be finished with braces in your day to day life. This does not always mean the treatment is over, however.

After active orthodontic treatment comes the retention phase: the stabilizing of the teeth and molars by using night retainers. This is necessary because they always move by natural design. Even if you just went through orthodontic treatment, your teeth will have a tendency to move back to their original position. They also move due to jaw growth, chewing power or tongue pressure.

Grinding or clenching of the teeth also lead to the movement of teeth and molars. In order to keep them in place as much as possible and keep the beautiful results of the treatment, wearing a retainer is a necessity.

There are different types of retainers, including stints and night retainers. A stint is a thin metal wire which is fixed to the inside of the front teeth. The wire keeps the teeth from moving.  The downsides to stints are: only the front four to six teeth are kept in place and it’s difficult to clean the teeth behind and around the stint. Comfortho recommends night retainers, so all teeth are kept in place.

How often do you wear night retainers

The night retainers are to be worn every night throughout the first year. Ideally, we will guide you through the process of wearing the night retainers less and less, without relapse of the teeth. If the night retainers feel too tight, there is a large amount of pressure from the teeth. Should you stop wearing the night retainer at this point, the teeth will start to move again.

As a starting point, the night retainers are worn as long as it takes for the teeth to settle in their new position. In many cases, the teeth will always try to move to some degree. This means you will have to wear the night retainers for the rest of your life. You can feel the shifts in your teeth: in the morning, the retainer might feel fairly loose, while at night there is a lot more tension. It is not recommended to stop wearing the night retainers for multiple nights in a row.


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How much do night retainers cost

After your Invisalign treatment at Comfortho, we will take (x-ray) photos of your teeth. In addition, retainers (night brackets) are ordered for you. They will have the same shape as the last set of your aligners. They are made from a stronger material, so that a set can last longer. You take home three sets when you leave.

You are therefore able to maintain a beautiful straight teeth, if you wear the night retainers according to the instructions, after the treatment for a longer period of time. And you will always have backup retainers, should you lose one of them. It’s always possible to order new retainers.

Cleaning night retainers

Because you only wear the retainers after brushing, flossing or picking your teeth, they will not become filthy as fast as regular braces. Always rinse the retainers with cold water before putting them in and taking them out. Never use hot water. Besides that it’s a good idea to clean the retainers once a week with a tooth brush and dish soap. Don’t use tooth paste, as it contains an abrasive which may damage the retainers.  If you want, you can apply products used for cleaning dentures, like steradent. Always be careful when handling your retainers, store them in their box and don’t leave them lying around.

Wearing night retainers will positively affect your self-assurance. Stick to the instructions and you’ll see that your teeth never get out of place. They’ll remain straight, attractive and beautiful.