Check out our video about the types of removable retainers and how to clean them properly!
Hawley Retainer - This type of retainer is made of bendable wire and acrylic or
plastic. The wire goes across the front of your teeth, and the acrylic is molded
to fit perfectly inside your mouth. Hawley retainers are available in a large
variety of colors and styles, so you can have a little fun with them by adding
sparkles or patterns. This type of retainer is adjustable so that your
orthodontist can “tweak” your teeth a little bit after braces.
Pros - Adjustable. Allows teeth to touch in a natural way. Lasts a long time with proper care. Easy to clean.
Cons - It is very noticeable. You might lisp at first when wearing it.
Essix Retainer – This type of retainer is made of molded clear plastic and resembles an Invisalign aligner. People like this type of retainer because it is less noticeable than a Hawley retainer. However, it doesn't allow your top and bottom teeth to touch in a natural way. Because of this, some orthodontists don't like this type of retainer. Essix retainers also have a shorter lifespan than Hawley retainers. On average, they begin to wear out after a few years, and then need to be replaced.
Pros - Virtually invisible on the teeth.
Cons - Does not allow the teeth to touch in a natural way. Wears out after a few years. Can be difficult to keep the interior surfaces clean. Traps liquid against the teeth.
Permanent Bonded Retainer – This type of retainer stays in your mouth all the time, because it is bonded (glued) to the back of your teeth. Usually this type of retainer is placed behind the six front lower teeth. Sometimes orthodontists may start you with a bonded retainer, and switch you to a Hawley or Essix retainer after six month to one year. It can be very difficult to floss the teeth which are bonded; you will need to use Threader Floss to do it correctly.
Pros – Retains teeth well. Cannot be seen by other people.
Cons – Difficult to floss. May cut or bother your tongue. May require dental wax to be comfortable at times.
No matter what type of retainer you have, remember to keep it clean. We sell several different types of retainer cleaners for removable retainers. And don't forget to use a good sturdy retainer case! We carry a large selection of retainer cleaners and retainer cases at DentaKit.com. Click on the links below to see them!