What are and which dental retainers are the best?

The use of dental retainers is essential at the end of orthodontic treatment in order to maintain the corrections that were achieved in the previous treatment.

We want you to know everything about retainers, the types of retainers, their care and much more.

What is a teeth retainer?

A dental retainer is an oral appliance that should be used to stabilize the new position of the teeth after orthodontic treatment (post-orthodontic retainers) and prevent the teeth from returning to their original position.

Retainers are absolutely necessary after straightening the teeth with orthodontics, until the position of the same is permanent.

Types of dental retainers

Dental retainers can be of two types: removable or fixed.

Fixed retainers

These retainers for teeth provide permanent retention or containment of the teeth. They are mainly used to maintain the position of the lower incisors or to maintain space after dental extraction pending implantation.

The traditional fixed retainer is a wire that is placed on the inside of the teeth, making them almost invisible.

These fixed orthodontic retainers can be used for several years without interfering with the patient’s normal life, but require more controlled and judicious oral hygiene and regular check-ups to prevent movement and loss of effectiveness.

Removable retainers

Retainers of this type can be easily removed by the patient for the purpose of eating, playing sports or brushing teeth.

Within these types of retainers, there are other types that are the most used and known:

Hawley-type retainers

They are made of acrylic or plastic material and feature foldable metal hooks that go over the molar teeth and a wire that covers the outside of the teeth.

This type of retainers has the following advantages:

  • it is available in different colors and styles so you can customize them
  • can be adjusted
  • the upper and lower teeth can rub against each other naturally
  • they are easy to clean
  • and are durable with proper care

The only disadvantage we have to say about this type of retainer is that they are very visible and you may not feel very well, especially at first.

Essix-type retainers

This is a transparent plastic splint or transparent retainers that cover all the teeth, similar to invisalign aligners, therefore, they are more discreet than Hawley-type retainers and that is why people like them more.

However, they are not to the liking of orthodontists as this retainer prevents the teeth from touching naturally.

Additionally, they have a shorter average life than the Hawley, it is more difficult to clean the internal parts and they also retain the liquid in the teeth.

Osamu dental retainer

It is a retainer that has a double layer, a rigid outer layer and another soft inner layer that allows small movements in the teeth.

Which retainers are better?

Your dentist or orthodontist is the best person to determine the best dental retainer that fits your needs. We can help you, request your appointment now!

For example, in some cases, he may suggest only one type of retainer, but he may also suggest using a removable retainer for the upper part and a fixed retainer for the lower part, and thus, each case will have to be evaluated by him.

Additionally, knowing the judgment of each patient, it can allow the use of a removable appliance to the patient, taking care to guarantee its use for the necessary hours so that the retention of the teeth is efficient.

How long should retainers be worn for?

Orthodontists recommend that the most appropriate, in terms of the time of use of retainers after orthodontic treatment, is a full year continuously, that is, 7 days a week for 24 hours a day.

After this time, it is recommended to use the retainer at night indefinitely. However, you should still visit your orthodontist every so often because your retainer may need to be adjusted, fixed, or replaced.

Lastly, if you lose your retainer you should also visit the orthodontist to have a new device made and prevent your orthodontic treatment from going to waste.

Retainer Care Tips


Keeping your retainers clean is necessary for good oral health, preventing the buildup of bacteria and bad odours, and will help take care of your dental device.

Cleaning of fixed retainers is done during regular brushing.

Removable retainers must be removed for cleaning and use neutral soap and not toothpaste to prevent them from deteriorating easily.

Take care when removing retainers

Do not always remove the retainers from the same side to avoid wear, cracks or breakage to the retention device.

Store retainers in their box

To prevent them from getting damaged or falling on the floor, keep the removable retainers in their box and they will stay protected.

If they deteriorate, change them

If you see the removable retainer broken, you should change it promptly because that way it no longer fulfills its function.

Likewise, if the fixed retainer is detached, you need to go to your dentist immediately to repair it.

Now that you know more about dental retainers, you have more information so that you know that when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment and after removing your braces, your treatment continues with retainers.

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