Types of Retainers
Retainers are an important part of orthodontic work. When you finally have your braces taken off, you need a retainer to keep your newly straightened teeth in place. Retainers help your teeth get used to the new position, and improve your smile permanently. There a few different types of retainers, however, and there are pros and cons of each. The three main types are permanent retainer, Hawley retainer, and Essix retainer. Here is an overview of all three.
A permanent retainer is a thin piece of wire glued to the back of your teeth and is often times the best long term solution. They’re attached in a similar way to braces but are much more discreet.
- There aren’t visible from the outside and are very discreet. Seen as they’re fixed to the back of your teeth, other people won’t be able to notice them.
- Not only are they almost invisible but they’re also more comfortable than other types of retainers. They’re lightweight and they don’t tend to get food stuck in them.
- A permanent retainer is also cheap to replace.
- You will wear a permanent retainer all the time so need to take extra care with oral hygiene. You’ll need a floss threader to clean it properly.
A Hawley retainer, on the other hand, is made from acrylic. They are molded to your mouth but can be removed. You can wear them as often as recommended by your orthodontist.
- A Hawley retainer is very durable. They last a long time and aren’t difficult to take care of.
- Hawley retainers also come in a range of different colors so they’re fully customizable. These are more fun for kids and teenagers. The acrylic is also pretty stain and scratch-resistant.
- You can take out a Hawley retainer so it’s no problem for oral hygiene. You can also clean it easily with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Dogs see Hawley retainers as great chew toys.
- It’s more visible and uncomfortable than a permanent retainer, although you won’t have to wear it forever.
- A Hawley retainer can affect how you speak at first.
Essix retainers are also known as clear plastic retainers. They’re thin and clear and sit over your teeth.
- They can be removed so have similar benefits to Hawley retainers.
- An Essix retainer is molded to each tooth so they are exceptionally good at preventing movement.
- They’re difficult to see and quite comfortable.
- An Essix retainer is not suitable for everyone as the thin plastic may affect your bite.
- They’re more expensive than other types of retainers but they’re also less durable.
- Unlike with Hawley retainers, toothpaste can scratch them and they’re a little more difficult to clean.
Your orthodontist will be able to explain which type of retainer is best for you. If you would like to learn more about the different types of retainers, get a free consultation today.