Retainer: All You Need To Know About Retainer


There are two types of retainer: Permanent and removable. Your orthodontist will help you choose the best type for you based on what you need braces for and what conditions you may have. You may only get one style, or you can get a removable retainer for your upper teeth and a permanent one for your lower teeth.

A retainer prevents your teeth from moving after they are straightened with braces. Moreover, it takes four to six months for teeth to become permanent in their new position. During this time, teeth return to their original position in what is known as a relapse. When used as intended, a bracket prevents it.

We discussed in detail the different types of retainer.

Why a retainer?

Even if your teeth are permanently in their new position, the effects of daily chewing, growth and wear can cause a relapse. Therefore, your orthodontist may recommend that you wear a retainer for the rest of your life.

If your retainer is removable, you must wear it exactly as directed by your orthodontist, or you could lose braces benefits. Also, one of the studies showed that the most common instructions are to wear a retainer all day, seven days a week for a year after removing braces. So it is generally recommended to wear the retainer indefinitely at night. Instructions vary, so it is essential to speak with your orthodontist about this.

Once you start wearing your retainer, your orthodontist will check your teeth to make sure your retainer keeps them from moving. You can adjust or repair the bracket or create a new one if necessary. Also, you will usually have checkups 1, 3, 6, 11, and 24 months after your braces are removed.

You must consult your orthodontist as early as possible if you lose the retainer or if it breaks or breaks. This way, it can replace before your teeth fall out again.

Detachable Retainer: Pros and Cons

The advantages of removable retainer:

  • They can easily remove when you are ready to eat and brush or floss.
  • They are relatively easy and convenient to get.

The disadvantages removable retainer:

  • They can be misplaced or lost if they are not in the mouth, especially if they are not in a case.
  • They can be easily damaged if they are lying around.
  • Also, they can cause excessive saliva making.
  • Bacteria can grow and live.

The major problem with removable retainer is that relapses are common. This is because people lose the bracket and do not replace or use it as often as directed. If you don’t use it, it may not work as it should, and your teeth will return to their original location.

Both types of removable retainer should be removed and cleaned daily with gentle brushing. Your orthodontist may also recommend that you soak it. Learn more about retainer cleaning.

There are two types of detachable retainer: Hawley and clear plastic retainer

Hawley retainer

Also known as wire retainers, they are removable retainers made of fine metal and plastic or acrylic wire, which are shape to fit the roof of the mouth or the inside of the lower teeth. The attached metal wire passes through the outside of the teeth to maintain alignment.

The advantages of Hawley

  • The retainer can adjust if you need a better fit the first time or if your teeth need a slight realignment later.
  • It is slightly more durable than a clear plastic holder.
  • It can fix if it is broken.
  • With the proper use and care, it can last for years.
  • With this type of retainer, the upper and lower teeth naturally touch.

Hawley retainer disadvantages

  • It affects your speech more than other retainers.
  • It is more noticeable than the other types of retainers.
  • Initially, the wire can irritate your lips or cheeks.

The average cost ranges from $ 150 to $ 340.

Clear plastic  retainer or holder

These are removable retainers that have a shape that perfectly adapts to the new position of your teeth. They are also called molded retainers. (The technical name for this is thermoplastic or vacuum-formed backing.)

To make this type of retainer, an impression of the teeth is taken. Next, an excellent plastic or polyurethane is heated and vacuumed around the mold.

A clear plastic retainer advantages:

  • It is practically invisible, so you are more likely to use it. This means that they are less likely to relapse.
  • It is less bulky and potentially more convenient than a Hawley retainer.
  • Your speech is less likely to be affected than a Hawley retainer.

Disadvantages of it:

  • It cannot be adjuste if you need realignment. It should be replace.
  • If it cracks or breaks, it cannot repair.
  • And, it can affect your speech more than permanent retainers.
  • It can deform when exposed to heat.
  • It tends to fade and become more visible over time.
  • The upper and lower teeth do not naturally touch with this type of retainer.
  • It can retain fluids in the teeth, which can lead to cavities.

The main difference between the three popular brands of clear holders is the type of plastic they made of. The brands are Vivera, Essix, and Zendura.

Vivera sometimes mistakenly called Invisalign. Also, both products are made by the same company, but Invisalign an aligner used in metal braces to straighten teeth, not a retainer.

Clear plastic retainers are becoming more popular and used more frequently than Hawley retainers.

The average cost ranges from $ 100 to $ 285  (top or bottom).

Permanent retainer: advantages and disadvantages

They made of solid or stranded wire that bends to fit the shape of your newly straightened teeth. The wire cemented to the inside of the front teeth to prevent them from moving. They most often used on the lower teeth and known as fixed, lingual, or bonded retainers. Only your orthodontist or dentist can remove them.

They often use when an orthodontist believes that teeth are likely to relapse or that the person is not following instructions on wearing a removable retainer. Although some removed at some point, usually due to excessive plaque and tartar buildup or gum irritation, most remain in place indefinitely.

A permanent retainer advantages:

Following the instructions on when and how long to use it is not a problem.

  • It is not visible to others.
  • Also, it probably won’t affect your speech.
  • It cannot misplaced or lost.
  • It is not easily damage.

Its disadvantages:

  • Maintaining oral hygiene, especially flossing, can be difficult because you won’t remove them. This can lead to tartar and plaque build-up, which could lead to gum disease.
  • Attached is what you may not like.
  • The metal wire could irritate your tongue.

Like your teeth, it needs cleaning daily. Using a threader can run the floss under the wire to remove food, plaque, and tartar. Find out how to clean your retainer.

The average cost ranges from about $ 225 to $ 550.

Estimated cost and comparison table for types of retainers

More retainer cost considerations

These estimated costs reflect the average prices reported by orthodontists and those who have had dental work. These estimates do not take into account dental insurance. Talk to your orthodontist, dentist, or insurance provider about whether dental insurance can cover the treatment and how much of the cost the insurance will cover.

Two of the most significant cost factors are your location and what dental work you will need.

Orthodontists set their prices for treatments, and the cost of your retainer include in the total cost of your dental work and braces.

Also, ask your orthodontist about the cost of replacement or repair if something happens to  it.


There are pros and disadvantages to each type of retainer. Your orthodontist will recommend the best type based on your teeth and the need for braces. But don’t forget to consider your preferences when it comes to appearance and the effort also the amount of time you want to put into it. You will most likely wear and care for it for many months or years, so you must have the type of retainer that works best for you and that you wear as directed.

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