Posted on November 1, 2018

What Type of Orthodontic Retainer Will You Be Wearing?

Finally! The end of your orthodontic treatment is in sight. What’s next? If you want to keep your teeth straight, you will need a retainer.

There are three main types of retainers, but which ones will you be wearing?

Our staff at our Parker and Castle Rock, CO locations love seeing the excitement on our patient’s faces when they finally finish their orthodontic treatment. But we want everyone to keep their healthy, straight teeth forever.

What Determines The Type of Orthodontic Retainer You Will Wear?

Unless there is a specific reason you need a certain type of retainer, such as having missing teeth, the choice is up to you.

Whether you just finished Invisalign® treatment or recently got your braces off, Dr. Struhs will discuss each type of retainer with you. Each type of retainer has its own special considerations and benefits. Dr. Struhs will answer any questions and describe the benefits, drawbacks, cleaning routines, and more!

In the meantime, here is a breakdown of the different types of retainers.

Types of Retainers

Hawley Retainers

You have probably seen these before – they’re the most common type of retainer. Hawley retainers are removable and consist of a metal wire that connects to your molars. They look like braces without the brackets and are the most visible of the three.

After you first get your braces off, you’ll likely be instructed to wear your retainer all day and night. Depending on your individual treatment plan, you’ll eventually only have to wear them when you sleep at night.

Essix Retainer

Essix retainers are a popular option because they are clear. They fit over all of your teeth like Invisalign® aligners, making them a more discreet option than Hawley retainers

If needed, an Essix retainer can even have false teeth to make your smile complete.

Permanent Retainer

A permanent retainer is a metal wire that is attached behind your teeth. It is virtually invisible to anyone you are talking to or smiling at.

How to Clean Each Type of Retainer

Keeping your retainer clean is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy mouth. Incorrectly cleaning them can lead to damage and poor mouth health. Here’s how to do it properly.

Hawley Retainer

To clean your Hawley retainer, you first need to rinse it off with lukewarm water. Then take a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush the retainer with a mild, scentless, colorless soap. When you have adequately cleaned it, thoroughly rinse off the soap.

Essix Retainer

You clean these the same way as Hawley retainers. You rinse them off with lukewarm water, then brush them with a mild, scentless, colorless soap and rinse again.

Also, don’t put your Essix retainer back in your mouth after eating until you floss and brush your teeth.

Permanent Retainer

Since you can’t take out a permanent retainer, you’ll clean it in a similar way to how you would with braces.

You will need floss threaders or a water flosser to clean your retainer and gum line. It isn’t possible to floss underneath a permanent retainer without threaders. The cement that keeps the wire in place is usually very close to your gum lines, making it difficult to thread floss through.

What is the Lifespan of Each Retainer?

Since you will need a retainer for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight, you want to invest in something that will last.

To help you decide which retainer is right for you, we have created a list of the average lifespan of each.

  • Hawley – Five to ten years
  • Essix – Two to five years
  • Permanent – Up to 20 years

Orthodontics in Parker and Castle Rock, CO

Do you want a healthier smile for the rest of your life? Let Dr. Struhs help you accomplish your smile goals at 20 Mile Orthodontics. Request an appointment online or call either one of our convenient locations!

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