Orthodontic Retainers

Orthodontic Retainers

When your braces come off, you start a new phase of your orthodontic treatment… retention. The retention phase of your treatment is just as important as the braces phase because without retention, your teeth will move.


What is an Orthodontic Retainer?

A dental retainer is a custom-made orthodontic appliance used to keep teeth in place after dental braces are removed. Once your braces come off, your teeth need to settle into the jawbone and gum tissue that hold them in place. Made of plastic, wires or acrylic, retainers keep your teeth from shifting and wasting thousands of dollars worth of orthodontic work! Teeth can also shift over time on their own, making wearing a retainer even more important.


What types of retainers can I choose?
 There are 4 popular types of retainers. 

1) Clear (Essix) Retainers 

Clear retainers are the most popular because they are the least visible and easiest to wear. They are made of a thin plastic shell that is vacuum formed from a model of your teeth. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth.  It is similar in appearance to Invisalign trays, but made of a different material designed to last many years. Because these retainers cover the teeth, patients should never drink sodas, coffee, tea or anything but water as your teeth will stain and may even get cavities.

2) Hawley Retainers are most popular for younger patients. They are made of wires and colored acrylic. The fun part about Hawley retainers is you can have them made in any color you want. You can even have a design or logo with your favorite team.  The advantage of this type of retainer is that the metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the teeth as needed. It also benefits from being strong and rigid  and allow for fake/pontic teeth to be added if needed. The main disadvantages of this type of retainer is the appearance of the wire, interference with speech, risk of fracture and inferior retention of lower incisors in comparison to vacuum-formed retainers.

3) Fixed Retainers are made of an orthodontic wire that is permanently bonded to the tongue side of your teeth. There are many different types of fixed retainers, which include :

• Reinforced fibers

• Fixed canine to canine retainer (only bonded to canine teeth)

• Multi-strand retainers (bonded to every tooth)

Unlike the Essix and Hawley retainer types, fixed retainers cannot be removed by the patient.They have the advantage staying in your mouth 24 hours a day but have the disadvantage of causing tartar buildup, gingivitis and other gum problems if they are not kept clean. As with dental braces, patients often must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small space between the retainer and the teeth.


4) Vivera Retainer

The Vivera Retainer is a product from Invisalign that’s meant to maintain teeth after orthodontic treatment with Invisalign.  Vivera retainers are clear removable retainer that’s made with the same technology as Invisalign aligners, but thicker and tougher than the typical Invisalign aligner. Vivera retainers are made using 3D imaging, thermoplastic material, and Invisalign’s proprietary technology.  If you choose to go with Vivera, you’ll get four sets of clear retainers so you will have plenty of backups.


How often do I wear my retainers?
We recommend every patient wear their retainers full time for 1 year after completing treatment. Full time means all day except for eating and sports. After a year you can wear them only a nights.

Why do I need to wear my retainers?
Your teeth are not actually fused to your jaw bones.  They are actually suspended from the bones by tiny fibers called periodontal ligaments.  Two sets of these fibers reset to their new position after 6 months, but the third set takes a year.  That is why it is so important to wear your retainers all the time for the first year.

Why do my retainers make me talk different or with a lisp?
When you get your new retainers you may talk with a lisp for a few days. This is because your tongue hits the retainer when you talk.  This throws off the timing when you speak.  Not to fear!  If you keep wearing your retainers and work through it, your tongue will adapt and you will talk normally in 2-3 days.

I noticed increased saliva with my new retainers. Is that normal?
Yes, this is natural and your body's normal reaction from having an object in your mouth like food.  Like with the speech, the increased saliva will go away after a days or so if you keep wearing your retainers.

What do I do if I loose my retainers?
If you can't find your retainers, call our office as soon as possible.  Every day you are not wearing your retainers, your teeth can shift.  We can usually make a clear retainer within one day.


How Much Do retainers Cost?


Retainers can be costly to replace, so it’s important to take care of yours as best you can. A single removable retainer (upper or lower) can cost anywhere between $150 to $300, so if you need a retainer for both upper and lower, it will be double that. Fixed bonded retainers can cost as much as $500 depending on your location and doctor.


Vivera Retainers Cost

Vivera Retainers are a bit more expensive than typical clear retainers you get from your orthodontist, but there’s a good reason for that.  If you choose to go with Vivera, you’ll get four sets of clear retainers so you will have plenty of backups.  Vivera retainers are  best for Invisalign customers because they can be made from your  your last Invisalign clear aligner mold so there is no need for an additional impression or scan. The cost varies from $400 to more than $1,000 for four sets of retainers. Vivera retainers are ordered through Invisalign so discuss this with your doctor.

Clear Orthodontic Retainers
Clear Orthodontic Retainers