The following is a simple method for securing a lingual retainer wire during direct bonding.
1. Fabricate an .0175" stainless steel twisted wire retainer on the patient's post-treatment cast. For a 3-3 retainer, extend the wire to the second premolars.
2. Place elastomeric orthodontic separators between the first and second premolars, with a portion of each separator extending above the occlusal surfaces.
3. Prepare the lingual surfaces of the anterior teeth for bonding as usual.
4. Pass the ends of the retainer wire through the separators so that the anterior segment of the retainer is in passive contact with the lingual surfaces of the anterior teeth (A). A strand of dental floss can be used to secure the wire in the anterior region if needed.
5. Bond the retainer with a light-cured adhesive, then cut the excess wire distal to the canines (B).
6. Remove the adhesive flash from the tooth surfaces and take out the separators (C).
The retainer can be placed before or after debonding of labial brackets. Although this technique is not recommended with a flat retainer wire, it is ideal for use with a flexible twisted wire in either arch. We have found it simple, reliable, and economical; because it requires no special equipment or transfer trays, it saves considerable chair- and laboratory time.