AAO - Retainers Keep Your Teeth From Becoming Crooked Again
What’s Your Type?
There are two types of orthodontic retainers: fixed and removable. Removable retainers can be taken off to eat or brush. They will be worn full time for about a year, and then worn only at night once your orthodontist determines the appropriate change in wear. The removable retainer requires discipline to maintain your tooth alignment but don’t worry, as it’s easily mastered. Fixed retainers are permanently bonded to your teeth. They require special attention to clean around and protect, and should only be removed by your dentist. When deciding on which retainer best suits your needs, your orthodontist will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and help decided which is best for you.
Hawley Retainers - Are the most common type of removable dental retainers. Consisting of plastic, the Hawley retainer adheres to the shape of your soft tissue and teeth. Wires are embedded into the plastic that closely wrap around your teeth, keeping the retainer and your teeth in place. This type of retainer can be adjusted as needed to fit tighter to the teeth, and with normal care and handling last a considerable length of time.
Essix Retainers – Another removable retainer is the vacuum formed or “Essix” retainer, made of clear plastic. Some patients prefer this retainer because most people can't tell you're wearing one, and they can generally be fabricated quickly.