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Distinctive Retainer Types Used in Dentistry

Distinctive Retainer Types Used in Dentistry

Distinctive retainer types

Distinctive Retainers

Once an orthodontic procedure is complete, maintaining the integrity and position of teeth in the jaw is critical.

Maintaining the teeth in their new alignment is essential, ensuring the procedure’s success and restoring the teeth’ functionality.

Retainers are the dentistry appliance entitled to hold the position of the teeth. Retainers come in various shapes supporting the structure of teeth and jawline of the patient.

With the emergence of technology, different types of retainers have taken form to improve comfort and functionality.

If you are about to get a retainer, it is better to know the common types of retainers.

What are retainers?

Retainers are orthodontic devices that maintain the straight alignment of teeth. It helps in retaining the effects achieved by braces.

Retainers are critical because the teeth tend to shift to their original positions due to growth factors affecting the gums and periodontal ligaments. Whether the retainers are fixed or removable depends on the condition of the patient.

Your orthodontist will help you out to choose the right retainer that will fit you perfectly.

You have to wear your teeth retainers as prescribed by the dentist because if you slack off, your teeth could shift again and become crooked, or the gaps might open up.

Types of retainers

Common retainers include fixed and removable retainers. The type needed by the patients depends on various factors such as the risk of relapse, original malocclusion, and growth pattern of teeth.

How long one must use retainers differs based on condition but remember that you must use the retainer indefinitely as per the doctor’s suggestion.

Fixed retainers

A fixed retainer comprises a metal wire that is fastened to the back of your front teeth. The braided wire is curved to fit the shape of your teeth post orthodontic treatment.

The cemented wire prevents your teeth from moving back to their original procedure. The fixed retainers are often used on the lower teeth.

The fixed retainers are also known as fixed, lingual retainer wire or bonded retainers. Only an orthodontist can remove the fixed retainers.

The fixed retainers are cemented behind the six front lower teeth.

The permanent lingual retainers are used when the orthodontist thinks the teeth are crowded, pivoted or swarmed, or have a high degree of relapses.

Most fixed retainers are removed after some time by the dentist in-office due to excessive buildup of plaque or gum irritation, while some are left cemented indefinitely.

Also Read White Spots on Teeth : Causes and Treatment


  • Adapting to the instructions such as when it should be worn and how long is not a problem anymore

  • The retainer is not visible to other

  • It won’t affect your speech or bite strength

  • It lasts long can’t be damaged easily


  • Maintaining oral hygiene becomes a hassle

  • Lack of excessive care leads to the buildup of plaque and tartar

  • the cemented wire might feel irritating

The fixed retainer should be cleaned with extreme care using threader floss to prevent plaque buildup.

The dentist might provide a removable backup retainer in case your retainer fails.

The removable retainers

The removable orthodontic retainers are clear or metal devices that have to be worn only at night or for a period mentioned by the orthodontist.

Unlike fixed retainers, the removable retainers give you the privilege of removing the retainer at any time you want.

The removable retainer is easy to maintain and doesn’t affect oral health as you can remove them and clean them using your regular toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.

The removable retainers are of two types: Hawley retainers and clear retainers.

Hawley retainer

Also known as wire retainers, the Hawley retainers comprise a metal wire bonded to an acrylic base.

The Hawley retainer rests on the roof of your mouth or runs along with the interior of your lower teeth.

The metal wire attached to the acrylic base runs outside the teeth and maintains the teeth’ alignment after the orthodontic treatment.


  • You can adjust the retainer after some time if you need realignment

  • durable compared to a plastic retainer

  • with the Hawley retainer, the upper and lower teeth touch naturally

  • It lasts for years when used with proper care.


  • It affects speech that other types of retainers

  • Easily noticed

  • The wire might feel bothersome

Clear plastic retainers

The Essix retainers are also known as clear retainers. The clear retainers are composed of thin and explicit plastic material.

The clear retainers are molded to fit the new alignment of your teeth perfectly. As they are molded, the clear plastic retainers are also called moulded retainers.

First, the dentist creates a mold of your teeth. Thin plastic or polyurethane is heated into the mold to conform to the structure.


  • It is not virtually visible

  • Feels comfortable than Hawley retainer

  • Affects speech


  • It cannot be adjusted in case you need realignment

  • Once damaged, it can’t be repaired

  • The upper and lower teeth don’t touch naturally

Essix and Vivera are two common brands of mouth retainers. The distinction between the two is the type of plastic used.

Bottom line 


Now, that you know the importance and different types of retainers, call our experts at Ekdantam dental clinic and know further about getting retainers.

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