After the braces are removed, it is important to maintain the result achieved. This is primarily done by placing wires, also called splints, behind the front teeth.

In certain situations this is not enough and extra ‘night bits’ are needed.In some situations, this is not enough and additional ‘nightguards’ are needed. In such a situation, this is indicated when discussing the treatment plan or just before removing the braces.

 However, even in situations where there is no increased risk of relapse (tooth recession or loss of achieved result), many patients choose to have ‘added security’ in the form of an Essix retainer or IOR (invisible orthodontic retainer). This is a cap made of clear, thin but sturdy plastic that usually only covers the teeth and not the palate. As a result, the IOR is considered to be the most comfortable nighttime retainer.

It is important that you wear the IOR, like any other night guard, every night for the first 2 weeks. After that, you should reduce the amount of time you wear it each week by one night per week. This means that 2 months after receiving the IOR, you should only have to wear it one night per week and keep it on for as long as possible; should the splint come loose, you can use the IOR as temporary ‘insurance’. In this way, an IOR will last approximately 3 – 5 years.

Should you not be able to visit us at short notice to resolve the issue with your splint, you can wear the IOR (almost) full time to prevent your teeth from shifting. Keep the IOR clean. Brush it every time after wearing it overnight.

Use toothpaste and a toothbrush and gently (do not push too hard) but thoroughly brush each piece of the IOR. Do not use hot water as it may deform the IOR. If a white film develops on your IOR, soak it in cleaning vinegar for a day.

To put your IOR in, push it gently from front to back. To take it out, place your fingernails at the very back of each side under your retainer and gently slide it away from your teeth from back to front.