hawley retainer

Which Type of Retainer Is Best for You?

April 12th, 2016

ALTHOUGH IT MAY SEEM hard to believe during the process, one day those braces will come off! Orthodontic treatment doesn’t end after braces, however. To maintain that beautiful new smile you must wear a retainer as directed after braces are removed.


Remember that while braces straighten teeth, retainers KEEP them straight.They are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment! So, what kinds of retainers do you have to choose from after braces?

We Help Find the Retainer That Suits You Best

Choosing which type of retainer is right for you can depend on how your orthodontic treatment went, 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

There are several different types of retainers to choose from. Here are the three most popular!

  1. The Hawley Retainer: This is usually what people think of when they hear the word retainer. It has stood the test of time and is definitely durable. The Hawley retainer has an acrylic body with a metal wire that goes around the teeth. It is easily removed and can be adjusted if minor tooth movements are necessary. In individuals who had maxillary expansion during treatment, a Hawley is recommended to maintain the upper jaw width.
  2. The Essix Retainer: Another type of removable retainer, the Essix 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. However, these retainers are not as durable as Hawley retainers, and tend to wear out over time requiring new ones to be made with greater frequency.
  3. The Fixed Retainer: This virtually invisible retainer consists of a small wire bonded to the tongue side of the lower and upper front teeth. Since permanent retainers cannot be removed on a regular basis, wearers of this type of retainer need to be consistent in their oral hygiene routine, brushing and flossing regularly. These retainers require little, if any compliance, and therefore tend to be the favorite option. Retention is meant to be a lifelong commitment - this is the easiest way to do it!

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!

Image by Flickr user Sara Neff used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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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