The 3 General Types of Retainers

A retainer is a device designed to keep your teeth in place after your braces have been removed. Three different types of retainers are currently available: Hawley retainers, Essix retainers and permanent retainers. Each type of retainer has different advantages and disadvantages.

Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers are composed of plastic or acrylic, along with some bendable wire. The plastic or acrylic part of the retainer is molded to fit inside of your mouth, while the wire part is responsible for holding your teeth in place. This type of retainer is easy to clean and won’t prevent your teeth from fitting together naturally. In addition, Hawley retainers are adjustable and durable. However, they are also very obvious. People will be able to see the wire while you are wearing the retainer, and you may notice differences in your speech patterns.

Essix Retainers

Essix retainers are made of clear plastic. They are molded to fit perfectly around your teeth. The Essix retainer is much less obvious than the Hawley retainer, allowing you to wear it with less embarrassment. However, this type of retainer is not as durable and must be replaced every few years. The Essix retainer also prevents your top and bottom teeth from touching naturally, and it is difficult to clean thoroughly. Furthermore, the Essix retainer can trap liquids, holding them against your teeth until the retainer is removed.

Permanent Retainers

A permanent retainer is made of metal. It is bonded to your teeth and cannot be taken in and out. Because this retainer is in your mouth all the time, it holds your teeth in place well. It is also placed in the back of the teeth, so it won’t be visible to others. However, a permanent retainer makes flossing difficult. Most people must use a special type of floss in order to clean teeth connected to a permanent retainer. A permanent retainer can also injure the tongue.

To determine which retainer is best for you, schedule your consultation today with Dr. Saleh and his staff at Perfect Smiles. Regardless of the retainer design you choose, be sure to follow instructions carefully for the best results.

Posted in