Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.

Hawley Retainers

The Hawley retainer is the most common type of removable retainer used. The acrylic covers the roof of the mouth and a wire is visible wrapping around the front of the teeth. It is the most durable type of retainer and will last the longest.

Essix Retainers

An essix retainer is a clear plastic appliance used to hold teeth in their aligned position after orthodontic treatment. An essix retainer can also be used to improve alignment of slightly malpositioned teeth. However, due to its thin plastic material, the essix retainer is not the most durable retainer.

Fixed Retainer

A fixed retainer is a wire bonded to the tongue side of the front teeth. A fixed retainer may be recommended in addition to or instead of a removable retainer to ensure the front teeth stay aligned.

Retainer Care

  • Wear your retainer at all times, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
  • Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm, but not hot, water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
  • When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
  • Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove your retainer when you go swimming
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, and the washing machine.