Effect of bonded and removable retainers on occlusal settling after orthodontic treatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Document Type



Dental-oral, Maxillo-facial Surgery


This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to summarize the effectiveness of bonded and removable retainers (the Hawley and Essix retainers) in terms of improving occlusal settling (occlusal contact points/areas) after orthodontic treatment. We searched the Cochrane Library, PubMed, CINAHL Plus, and Dental & Oral Sciences Source (DOSS), as well as SIGLE, Google Scholar and ClinicalTrials.gov for eligible studies. We included randomized and non-randomized controlled trials along with cohort studies. Studies that reported occlusal contacts/areas during retention with fixed bonded and removable retainers were included. To assess the quality of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias (RoB) tool was utilized, whereas the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) was used to assess the quality of cohort studies.We included 6 articles in our systematic review after scrutinizing 219 articles and eliminating the illegible ones based on duplication, titles, abstracts, and objectives. Bonded retainers (BRs) allowed faster and better posterior occlusal settling as compared to the Hawley retainer (HR). However, HR showed good occlusal settling in the anterior dental arch. The Essix retainer (ER) showed a decrease in occlusal contact during the retention phase. Meta-analysis showed no statistically significant difference between BRs and removable retainers. In conclusion, HR allowed better overall occlusal settling as compared to other retainers. However, BRs allowed faster settling in the posterior tooth region. The Essix retainer showed poor settling of occlusion. Overall, there is an insufficient number of high-quality RCTs to provide additional evidence, and further high-quality RCTs are needed.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Dental and Medical Problems