ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Type of Orthodontic Retainer Should I Choose?

Updated on December 18, 2014
Hawley Retainer is the most popular orthodontic retainer
Hawley Retainer is the most popular orthodontic retainer | Source

There are many types of orthodontic retainers available to choose from when your braces are removed or when you are looking for replace an existing retainer. These types include the Hawley, Essix and permanent/fixed. Each of these types has their own advantages and disadvantages of course and making the choice between these types can be difficult. Some people may even choose to have two types. In this article we will explore the various types of retainers and the pros and cons of each in order to help you make this choice.

The most popular and oldest type of retainer is called the Hawley Retainer. This type of retainer is known to last a long time (less likely to break or wear out than other removable retainers). This retainer is removable and the wire can be adjusted to make changes to the teeth if needed. With this type of retainer the top and bottom teeth will touch each other when biting down, allowing a natural bite. Food can be eaten while wearing a Hawley retainer. This retainer will be visible by its telltale wire across the front of the teeth. Many colors and designs are available for the bite plate section of the retainer which can be fun. This type of retainer should be stored in a case especially since dogs are fond of chewing on them, and as a result, breaking them and/or taking chunks out of the bite plate section. Dog owners beware.

In an effort to make the Hawley Retainer less visible, a new type of Hawley Retainer was developed where the front wire is replaced with a molded piece of clear plastic called the ASTICS. This retainer is as effective as the Hawley, remains adjustable like the Hawley, but is more easily broken and is not recommended for children.

The Essix Retainer is nearly invisible and resembles Invisalign aligners
The Essix Retainer is nearly invisible and resembles Invisalign aligners | Source

A newer type of retainer, which is nearly invisible, was developed more recently. This is called the Essix Retainer. This retainer eliminates the need of having an obvious wire visible on the front of the teeth and also eliminates the biteplate. This type of retainer is revolutionary and is similar appears similar to the popular invisalign retainer trays that work to shift teeth over time. These types of retainers cost less than the Hawley retainer and they don’t allow the teeth to make contact when biting down. Many people find this type of retainer most comfortable, and with the benefit of being invisible this is the obvious choice of retainer for many.

Woman Wearing Essix (invisalign type) Retainer which is practically invisible
Woman Wearing Essix (invisalign type) Retainer which is practically invisible | Source

Some orthodontists highly recommend a permanent or fixed retainer since it eliminates the issue of remembering to wear the retainer and the possibility of losing or breaking the retainer. With this method, the orthodontist permanently affixes a wire on the inside of the teeth. It is applied similar to the way that standard braces are attached, but without brackets. While a convenient and fairly inexpensive method of retaining the teeth, having the affixed wire present makes it difficult to floss the teeth where the wire is. While the flossing is one issue another is comfort, this method might not bother some but can be excruciatingly annoying to others.

Comparing Retainers

 
Hawley
Essex (invisalign type)
Permanent/Fixed
Cost
More Expensive
Less Expensive
More Expensive
Comfort
Less Comfortable
More Comfortable
Least Comfortable
Eating with Retainer
Yes
No
Yes
Ability to Clean Teeth
Easy
Easy
More difficult
Minor Teeth Adjustments can be made
Yes
No
No
Effects Speech
Likely, often goes away over time
Slightly, will go away after a few days
No
Top and bottom teeth touch
Yes
No
Yes
Nearly invisible
No, The ASTICS is less visible
Yes
Yes
Durability
Very Durable
Less Durable
Moderately Durable
Easy to Lose
Less easy to lose
Easiest to lose
Impossible to lose

How long do I need to wear my retainer?

Orthodontists are now recommending that patients continue to wear their retainer for the rest of their life, this is because the teeth can shift out of their new position. The amount of shifting varies from person to person. This approach is very different from that of a generation ago when a retainer was worn for a short period of time and then forgotten about, with many patients the teeth shifted, requiring a repeat of orthodontic work causing frustration and costing time and money.

After the braces are removed, your orthodontist will recommend full time retainer wear and later shift to nighttime only wear or perhaps wearing the retainer 3-5 nights a week.

So there you have it, there are a fair variety of options when it comes to choosing a retainer. Sometimes the orthodontist will advise you on which type of retainer to choose, but often times, the choice is left up to the patient and their parents. This article help you to better understand you options when it comes to choosing a retainer. This article gives an overview of the pros and cons of the Hawley, Hawley ASTICS, Essex as well as the permanent/fixed type of orthodontic dental retainer.

© 2014 Ariel Laur

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)