Having a beautiful set of teeth after drug addiction

A Matter of Retention: The Ins and Outs of the Dental Retainers Available to You

by Danielle Fletcher

When the day comes for you to finally remove your braces, you'll likely be ecstatic about your newly straightened teeth. You can now smile with confidence. However, it is natural for teeth to shift back to their former positions over time. Because of this, it is important that you follow the advice of your dentist or orthodontist and wear your retainer as often as possible.

Although it isn't a very appealing prospect, especially after having worn braces for so long, you can at least be comforted by the fact that your smile will benefit as a result.

There are several types of retainers available to you as a patient. Each has its own attributes, and you should study them to ascertain which one appeals most to you.

Clear Retainer/Essix Retainer

Essix retainers are similar to Invisalign aligners in that they are clear and almost invisible to the naked eye. This type of retainer is made of clear plastic that fits over your teeth.


  • Unnoticeable to other people.
  • The cheapest of the three types.
  • Holds all your teeth.
  • Can be removed for social outings.
  • Allows you to comfortably maintain your oral hygiene.
  • Offers some protection from grinding.


  • A favourite chewing toy of dogs.
  • Can be easily misplaced.
  • Wears out after a few years.
  • Can cause liquid to become trapped against teeth.
  • Doesn't allow your teeth to meet naturally.

Hawley Retainer

This type of retainer is constructed of acrylic or plastic, and metal bendable wires that fit over the front of your teeth.


  • Adjustable to allow your dentist to target specific zones.
  • Lets your teeth meet naturally.
  • Comes in many colours.
  • Is easy to clean


  • The second most expensive option.
  • Very noticeable due to wires.
  • Can cause a lisp at first.

Permanent Retainer/Fixed Bonded Retainer

A fixed bonded retainer consists of a wire that is bonded to the back of your teeth, namely the central and lateral incisors as well as the canine teeth.


  • Invisible to other people.
  • Very effective retention for front teeth.
  • Last a long time if well cared for.


  • The most expensive option.
  • May irritate your tongue.
  • Makes brushing and flossing difficult.
  • May break if care is not taken whilst eating or brushing.

Whatever you decide is best for you, ensure you adhere to the advice of your orthodontist in regards to wearing your retainer. In most cases, your dentist will likely require you to wear your retainer day and night for the first few weeks, but later, you might only need to wear it at night should you choose a removable retainer.