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Orthodontic Retainers

What Are Retainers

A retainer is a custom-made appliance that is designed to hold teeth in place after orthodontic treatment. Retainers can be made from a variety of materials, including wire and clear plastic, and are typically worn every day for a specified amount of time.

Retainers come in different shapes and sizes, and can be designed to fit over the upper or lower teeth, or both. Retainers are a non-invasive and effective way to keep your newly-straightened teeth looking their best. If you have recently finished orthodontic treatment, or are considering braces or clear aligners, talk to one of our skilled orthodontists about retainers and how they can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

At Orthodontic Experts, we understand the important role that retainers play in maintaining orthodontic treatment results. Our expert orthodontists will work with you to determine the best type of retainer for your needs and provide the support you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost initial appointment and learn more about the benefits of retainers.

Types of Retainers

Retainers play an essential role in maintaining the straightened teeth after an orthodontic treatment, whether it’s braces or Clear Aligners. Once the treatment is completed, it’s important to keep the teeth in the correct position, and different types of retainers can be used to do that. Here are the most common types of retainers:

Types Of Retainers

Permanent Retainer

A Permanent Retainer, also known as a fixed retainer, is a thin wire that orthodontists attach to the back of the teeth to maintain them in their new position. Because it’s fixed to the teeth, patients don’t have to worry about removing it, which makes it an easy solution for those with forgetful tendencies. However, cleaning your teeth can prove to be a bit more difficult with a Permanent Retainer, and there’s also a risk of it breaking or becoming loose.

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Essix Retainer

An Essix Retainer is an affordable, clear plastic tray that fits over the teeth, similar to Clear Aligners. They’re lightweight, removable, and virtually invisible, making them an attractive option for many people. However, they require daily cleaning, as well as careful storage when not being worn to avoid bending or cracking.

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Hawley Retainer

Hawley Retainers are a traditional type of removable retainer. They’re made of an acrylic mold that fits over the roof of your mouth, with a thin wire that wraps over the front of your teeth. They’re adjustable and durable, but their metal wire arch can be visible.

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Vivera Retainer

Vivera Retainers are a popular choice for patients undergoing Clear Aligner treatment. They’re made of clear thermoplastic material, which is three times stronger than other types of Clear Plastic Retainers. Vivera Retainers are customized, removable, and durable, but they can be more expensive than other retainer options.

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Clear Retainer

Clear Retainers are a type of removable retainer that is made of thin, clear plastic, similar to an Essix Retainer. They’re comfortable and easy to wear, but they require daily cleaning and can become warped over time.

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Bonded Retainer

A Bonded Retainer is similar to a Permanent Retainer, but it only covers a few teeth at the front of the mouth. The wire is glued to the back of these teeth, and because it’s so subtle, it’s often preferred over traditional braces or a full-mouth retainer. However, similar to a Permanent Retainer, Bonded Retainers may require more care to keep the teeth clean.

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Benefits of a Retainer

After completing your orthodontic treatment, it’s important to maintain your new and improved smile with proper care. One way to ensure that your teeth stay straight and healthy is by wearing a retainer. Let’s find out the advantages of wearing a retainer:

Prevents Teeth from Shifting

After finishing your orthodontic treatment, your teeth are prone to shifting back into their original positions. A retainer helps keep your teeth in place, preventing them from moving around and undoing all the good work that was done with your braces. By wearing a retainer as directed by your orthodontist, you can ensure that your teeth stay in their new and improved position.

Improves Overall Oral Health

After wearing braces, your teeth and gums need time to adjust. When you wear a retainer, your teeth can adapt to their new position without experiencing any undue stress.

Enhances Speech

Similar to braces, a retainer can affect the way you speak initially. But, with time and practice, you’ll be speaking like normal in no time. In fact, some people find that wearing a retainer actually improves their speech by enhancing their pronunciation and enunciation.

Provides Long-Term Results

The orthodontic process can be long and challenging, and the last thing you want is for your hard work and investment to go to waste. Wearing a retainer can help ensure that your teeth remain healthy and straight for years to come. By taking good care of your retainer and wearing it as directed, you can enjoy the benefits of your orthodontic treatment for years to come.

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Benefits of Retainer
types of retainers after braces

Things to Consider When Choosing Between the Types of Retainers

Choosing the right type of retainers is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your orthodontic treatment results. There are a few key factors to consider when choosing between the different types of retainers offered by Orthodontic Experts.


The effectiveness of a retainer is the most critical factor to consider. You want a retainer that is going to keep your teeth straight and prevent them from shifting back to their original position after braces. At Orthodontic Experts, we offer different types of retainers with varying levels of effectiveness to suit your needs.


Your appearance is one of the primary concerns with wearing retainers, and that’s why we offer Clear Plastic Retainers for look-conscious patients. The Clear Plastic Retainer is almost invisible, and no one will even know you are wearing it. On the other hand, Hawley Retainers are visible with wires and acrylic, which some may find less appealing.


The durability of a retainer is essential because you want it to last as long as possible, and at Orthodontic Experts, we offer retainers that are made of high-quality materials. For example, our Hawley Retainers are made of acrylic and wire, and the Clear Plastic Retainer is made of thin, durable plastic.


Convenience is another consideration when choosing a retainer, and it’s essential to find a retainer that fits your lifestyle. For instance, Permanent Retainers may make it hard to floss or brush, while Hawley and Clear Plastic Retainers can be taken out and cleaned. For sports players or active people, we also offer sports mouth guards that can double as a retainer.

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Tips for Taking Care of Your Retainers

Taking care of your retainers is important to ensure that they remain effective and comfortable to wear. Here are some tips for taking care of your retainers:

Tip #1

Clean your retainers regularly

Removable retainers should be cleaned daily using a non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Fixed retainers can be cleaned using floss, a water pick, or an interdental brush.

Tip #2

Store your retainers properly

When you are not wearing your retainers, it is important to store them in a clean, dry case. This will help to protect them from damage, and keep them free from bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

Tip #3

Avoid eating and drinking while wearing you retainers

Eating or drinking with your retainers in can cause them to become damaged or discolored. It is best to remove them before eating or drinking anything other than water.

Tip #4

Wear your retainers as directed

To ensure that your orthodontic treatment is successful, it is important to wear your retainers as directed by your orthodontist. You must wear them for the recommended number of hours each day for maximum effectiveness.

How Much Does a Retainer Cost?

When it comes to retainer treatment, patients often consider the cost involved. Determining the cost of a retainer can depend on various factors such as the type of retainer, duration of treatment, and the orthodontic practice’s location. Orthodontic Experts provides affordable and quality orthodontic services at multiple locations to make treatment accessible to all. We aim to make orthodontic treatment reasonably priced for our patients by offering flexible payment options that cater to their budgeting needs. Our team of experienced professionals will work with you to determine the best retainer for you depending on your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist in your orthodontic treatment journey.

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Orthodontic Retainer Cost

frequently asked questions

How long should I wear a retainer?

The duration of wearing a retainer may vary depending on your teeth’s movements and the orthodontic treatment you received at our office. Generally, we advise our patients to wear a retainer for a year after removing their braces or clear aligners. After this period, you can switch to wearing the retainer as needed.

Does a retainer straighten your teeth?

No, retainers don’t straighten your teeth. Instead, retainers help maintain teeth alignment after orthodontic treatment. They hold the teeth in their final position to prevent them from shifting back to their original position.

Are retainers used forever?

Retainers aren’t used forever, but they’re essential for maintaining your teeth alignment after your orthodontic treatment. Once you’ve achieved your perfect smile, our Orthodontic Experts will advise you on the duration of wearing the retainer. Although you may not wear it every day, it’s vital to continue wearing it as needed to prevent your teeth from shifting.

How can you floss with a Permanent Retainer?

Flossing with a Permanent Retainer can be a bit challenging but not impossible. You can use a floss threader to pass the floss under the retainer wire and continue flossing your teeth regularly.

What happens if I don’t wear my retainer?

If you don’t wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist, your teeth are likely to shift back to their original position. This will reverse the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment, impacting your smile’s overall look and your oral health. So, it’s best to follow our orthodontists’ instructions and wear your retainer as directed.

Can retainers move teeth back?

Retainers are typically used to maintain the position of your teeth after orthodontic treatment, but they can also move teeth back, slowly and in a harmful way. If you lose your retainer during the retention phase and don’t find it for a while, your teeth may shift position in the meantime. It’s important to wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist to prevent unwanted movement of your teeth.

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