Article: Volume 46 Number 9 Page 848 - October 2019

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  Dent Update 2019; 46: 848-860

Orthodontics:  Orthodontic Retention: a Clinical Guide for the GDP

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Abstract: Retention is normally required after active orthodontic tooth movement in order to maintain tooth position and minimize the effects of age-related changes to the dentition. The aim of this article is to define stability, retention and relapse with reference to the literature and to review the evidence with regards to clinical effectiveness of different types of fixed and removable retainers and wear regimens, with emphasis on systematic reviews and Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). Furthermore, to discuss the general dental practitioner's role and responsibility in managing patients after active orthodontic treatment.

Clinical relevance: It is common practice for orthodontists to review patients for one year after active orthodontic treatment. Beyond this period, monitoring of the patient’s long-term retention is often carried out in general dental practice. This paper provides an overview of orthodontic retention, including retainer types, wear regimens and a discussion of the common problems associated with retainers and advice on management.

Author notes: Aslam Alkadhimi, BaBDentSc(Hons), MFD (RCSI), Orthodontic Specialist Registrar (email: and Mohammad Owaise Sharif, BDS(Hons), MSc, MOrth, RCS Ed, FDS(Ortho) RCS Eng, FHEA, Clinical Lecturer/Honorary Consultant in Orthodontics, University College London, Eastman Dental Institute, London, UK.

Objective: To outline the different types of orthodontic retainers and overcoming problems associated with their use in general practice.


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