AIM Several surveys evaluate different retention approaches among orthodontists, but none exist for general dentists. The primary aim of this survey was to record the preferred fixed retainer designs and retention protocols amongst general dentists and orthodontists in Switzerland. A secondary aim was to investigate whether retention patterns were associated with parameters such as gender, university of graduation, time in practice, and specialist status. METHODS An anonymized questionnaire was distributed to general dentists (n = 401) and orthodontists (n = 398) practicing in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. A total of 768 questionnaires could be delivered, 562 (73.2 %) were returned and evaluated. Descriptive statistics were performed and responses to questions of interest were converted to binary outcomes and analyzed using multiple logistic regression. Any associations between the answers and gender, university of graduation (Swiss or foreign), years in practice, and specialist status (orthodontist/general dentist) were assessed. RESULTS Almost all responding orthodontists (98.0 %) and nearly a third of general dentists (29.6 %) reported bonding fixed retainers regularly. The answers were not associated with the practitioner's gender. The university of graduation and number of years in practice had a moderate impact on the responses. The answers were mostly influenced by specialist status. CONCLUSION Graduation school, years in practice, and specialist status influence retention protocol, and evidence-based guidelines for fixed retention should be issued to minimize these effects. Based on the observation that bonding and maintenance of retainers are also performed by general dentists, these guidelines should be taught in dental school and not during post-graduate training.