Braces

Which Type of Retainer Is Best for You?

April 17th, 2016

Dr. Fell and Dr. Borenstein believe retainers are the most important part of orthodontic treatment. Wearing your retainer as directed is essential for maintaining that beautiful new smile forever. In our office, we usually advise full-time wear for 6 months after treatment followed by night-time wear. Retainers are a lifetime thing - many patients and parents are shocked by this, but our bodies are extremely dynamic and in order to keep those teeth in place, something needs to hold them.

Together, We Will Find the Retainer That Suits You Best

Choosing which type of retainer is right for you can depend on where your teeth started before treatment (teeth have a tendency to move back to where they came from), your level of oral hygiene, whether or not you grind your teeth, your personal preference, etc. Depending on your unique situation, we will recommend the type of retainer that will be best for you and your lifestyle.

Retainers Come in Three Basic Types


1. The Hawley Retainer: has an acrylic body with a metal wire that goes around the teeth.

  • This is the most popular type of retainer and definitely the most durable.
  • It is removable and can be adjusted if minor tooth movements are necessary.
  • You can customize it by choosing whatever color suits your personality.

2. The Essix Retainer: (The "Clear Retainer")

  • Another type of removable retainer that looks more like an Invisalign tray than a traditional retainer. It is made of thin, transparent plastic designed to fit precisely over your teeth.
  • People love the Essix retainer because it is not as visible as the Hawley.
  • This can be a great option for people who grind their teeth.
  • You cannot eat or drink anything except water with this retainer in.
  • They need to be replaced every few years.

3. The Fixed Retainer: a wire glued to the tongue side of the lower (and sometimes upper) front teeth.

  • We tend to recommend this option to all patients for their lower front teeth so long as their oral hygiene can tolerate the extra care this retainer requires.
  • Since this type of retainer only holds the front teeth, we will still usually recommend having a clear retainer to wear over this retainer at night to hold the back teeth in place.

Whatever retainer you choose, the most important thing you can do is wear them as directed by your orthodontist and clean them regularly!

Keep Your Smile Straight and Your Bite Perfect

By wearing your retainer, you can make the transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile! If you have any questions about the kinds of retainers we offer or their maintenance, give us a call or come in to see us! We’re always happy to see our awesome patients.

Thank you for everything!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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