Littlewood, S. J., Millett, D. T., Doubleday, B., Bearn, D. R., and Worthington, H. V. (2016). Retention procedures for stabilising tooth position after treatment with orthodontic braces. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 1, Art. No.: CD002283. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002283.pub4

This systematic review discusses the best evidence for different approaches to reducing relapse.


Hichens, L., Rowland, H., Williams, A., Hollinghurst, S., Ewings, P., Clark, S., et al. (2007). Cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction: Hawley and vacuum-formed retainers. European Journal of Orthodontics, 29, 372–8. [DOI: 10.1093/ejo/cjm039] [PubMed: 17702797]

Rowland, H., Hichens, L., Williams, A., Hills, D., Killingback, N., Ewings, P., et al. (2007). The effectiveness of Hawley and vacuum-formed retainers: a single-center randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 132, 730–7. [DOI: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2006.06.019] [PubMed: 18068589]

These two papers describe a well-designed randomized controlled trial comparing Hawley retainers and vacuum-formed retainers.


Kucera, J. and Marek, I. (2016). Unexpected complications associated with mandibular fixed retainers: a retrospective study. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 149, 202–11. [DOI: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2015.07.035] [PubMed: 26827976]

This paper describes the side effects of bonded retainers, including unwanted tooth movement with the retainer still in situ .


Little, R. M., Wallen, T. R., and Riedel, R. A. (1981). Stability and relapse of mandibular alignment – first four premolar extraction cases treated by traditional edgewise orthodontics. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 80, 349–65. [DOI: 10.1016/0002-9416(81)90171-8]

A classic paper that demonstrates the high risk of relapse after orthodontic treatment.


Littlewood, S. J. (2017). Responsibilities and retention. APOS Trends in Orthodontics, 7, 211–14. [DOI: 10.4103/apos.apos_82_17]

This paper provides an overview of the important roles and responsibilities of the patient, orthodontist, and general dental practitioner in retention.

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