Different Retainers Types and Tips to Choose

Retainers are also a part of your orthodontic treatment after braces. They help to maintain teeth’ position in their newly aligned state or prevent them from shifting to their original misaligned state.

The orthodontist from Newpark Orthodontics helped you to regain your straight smile but the journey doesn’t end as soon as the brackets come off. It is replaced by retainers, whose duty is to keep your newly aligned teeth in place.

There are several retainer types available, making it hard to choose a suitable one. Let’s understand the common ones in detail.

1. Hawley retainer

It has a clear acrylic base and a thin, U-shaped metal wire that wraps around your teeth. It looks like an eye patch but is designed for your teeth.

They are affordable, easy to clean and great for minor adjustments to your bite if needed. The clasp makes them easy to remove for cleaning and eating. However, the metal wire is visible when you smile.

They may even feel bulky in your mouth, taking some time to get accustomed to. If you choose Hawley retainers, remember not to grind or clench your teeth, or the acrylic will crack.

As they are removable, there is a need for user compliance because forgetting to wear them or misplacing them can hinder their effectiveness.

2. Essix retainer

They are made from clear, custom-molded plastic and are virtually invisible and comfortable to wear.

You will find active professionals or an athlete wearing Essix retainers, as they offer a smooth, snag-free design. Due to its potential for wear and tear, there is a need for frequent replacement.

They are costly and not suitable for everyone’s needs, especially if your teeth need more precise control.

Besides, you need to clean them carefully to prevent bacteria from harboring and staining. The most important thing is user compliance, as it is invisible, and you can forget to wear them.

3. Permanent retainer

It has a thin wire bonded directly to the backside of your lower front teeth. The retainers are totally invisible and hassle-free. You don’t need to feel concerned about losing or forgetting your retainer.

Permanent retainers don’t offer the same level of adjustability as removable options. Besides, cleaning around the wire is a challenge. If a wire breaks or loosens, you need to revisit the orthodontic facility for repair.

Who wins the retainer race?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best one for your friend may not be the genuine retainer for you. It will depend on your unique needs, lifestyle, and preferences.

Here are some factors to consider while choosing –

  • Do you prioritize a discreet look? – Permanent retainer can be your best option.
  • Are you prone to breaking or losing things? – Hawley’s and permanent retainers are sturdier options.
  • Do you grind teeth or play sports? Essix or Hawley retainers may be more suitable.
  • How comfortable are you in cleaning and keeping track of removable retainers? The permanent retainer may offer more convenience.

The most effective one will be the one that you will wear consistently!

Remember to –

  • Clean your retainer regularly to eliminate plaque buildup
  • Store the retainer properly when not in use to avoid damage
  • Follow your orthodontist’s instructions on how long to wear it and when to replace it.


With the right retainer and a little care, you can ensure that the post-brace smile stays for years to come!