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Read about the different types of retainers and the pros and cons of each type. Find out the dos and don'ts of caring for and cleaning your retainers.

The Importance of Retainers Following Braces Treatment

When it’s time for you braces to come off, you will need a retainer to make sure your teeth don’t move back to their original position. Your orthodontist will advise you on the right type of retainer for your teeth. Then, our team will either scan your teeth or create a mold to ensure the retainer is fitted to keep your teeth straight. Once it’s ready, you will be advised on how to clean and care for your new retainer.
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Pros and Cons of Hawley, Essix and Permanent Retainers

At Risas Dental, we offer Hawley, Essix, and permanent retainers. After your braces are removed, your orthodontist will determine the best type of retainer to meet your needs. Here are some pros and cons of each retainer type.

Hawley Retainers


  • Sturdy material: Made with metal wires and thick plastic for durability
  • Easy wear: Removable for easier maintenance
  • Versatile design: Adjustable, easy customization and modification


  • Possible discomfort: Thicker materials may cause mild discomfort
  • May affect speech: Bulkiness may cause speaking difficulties
  • Visible metal wires: Some patients prefer a more discreet option

Essix Retainers


  • Comfortable: Thin plastic for more comfortable wear
  • Attractive: Invisible plastic; more aesthetically pleasing
  • Conforming: Flexible and adapts better with the mouth and teeth


  • Breakable material: May break more easily than thicker materials
  • May need replacement: May require replacement vs. repair if damaged

Permanent Retainers


  • Loss-proof: Reduced risk of loss and damage
  • Better stability: Help prevent teeth from moving 24 hours a day
  • Completely invisible: Glued to the back of the teeth


  • Difficult to remove: Must be removed by a dental professional
  • Not available to everyone: Only certain patients are candidates

How To Clean Your Retainers

Dental plaque and bacteria that are naturally present in your mouth can also build up on your retainers and increase your risk of tooth decay. Clean your retainers on a regular basis to help keep germs at bay.

Here are some simple tips on how to properly clean your retainers:

    • Brush your retainers once a day. Dip a toothbrush into a mixture of cold water and hand or dish soap and use the brush to clean each surface.
    • Soak your retainers once a week. Soaking your retainers in a mixture of cold water and denture cleaner at least once per week will help eliminate bacteria.

Retainer Dos

Follow these tips to get the best out of your retainers and help prevent potential issues.

  • Store your retainers as directed: Your orthodontist will provide you with a storage case to keep your retainers safe when not in use.
  • Contact us if you lose or damage your retainers: If you lose your retainers or they become damaged, contact Risas Dental right away. We'll help you get a replacement.
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Retainer Dont's

Here are some important steps to follow to prevent damage to your retainers.

  • Keep retainers away from heat: Make sure to keep your retainers away from heat sources such as curling irons, space heaters, and stove burners.
  • Keep retainers away from pets: If your dog or cat chews on your Essix or Hawley retainer, it can permanently damage the plastic.
  • Don't adjust retainers on your own: Bending the wire or plastic on your retainer can increase the risk of breakage, and our orthodontist is happy to perform the adjustments for you.
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