Best Retainers

Removable and permanent retainers are the two major types of retainers that you will come across. Based on your needs, any issues you may have, and the reason you needed braces.

Your orthodontist will assist you in making the best decision when it comes to choosing the type of retainer that you need. 

Best Retainers

Your teeth won’t move after having been straightened with braces if you use a retainer. The new location of your teeth may not become permanent for a minimum of four to six months.

Your teeth will attempt to shift back into their natural position during that time, a process known as relapse. A retainer prevents this from occurring when worn as directed.

In this guide, we have gone through the best types of retainers that you may want to consider yourself. As mentioned above, your option may be limited to your needs as well. 

Fixed Retainer

A permanently glued retainer is also known as lingual or fixed, which is exclusively utilised on the front six teeth, frequently acting solely as a bottom retainer on the lower jaw.

The form you produced with braces is permanently maintained by glueing a sturdy wire behind the teeth. 

You won’t notice the wire because it is invisible, simple to adapt to, and quickly forgotten.

Your orthodontic appliances will be taken out and swapped with the wire at your “braces off” session. However, you might need to replace yours every 3 to 10 years.

Permanent dental retainers are slightly more expensive than a simple detachable retainer. Yet, for many people, their full concealment is a plus.

Although there is no danger of losing this kind of implant, it is challenging to thoroughly clean and floss because the wire is anchored to your teeth.

These are quite a common and popular option to go for. Especially as it is invisible, so people feel more confident in wearing them. 


  • Invisible – These types of retainers are invisible, which makes your smile more pleasing to look at. You won’t notice they are there. 
  • Fixed – This retainer is fixed to your teeth, so it cannot move.
  • Small – This is a small retainer, which is why it goes unnoticed. 


  • Hard To Clean – Fixed retainers can be more difficult to clean around. In addition to that, you cannot floss your teeth, instead, you will have to use interdental brushes.
  • Only For Canine Teeth – This type of retainer will only bind canine teeth together. Thus, there is a chance that other teeth could still move. 

Hawley Retainer

Hawley Retainer

You can put Hawley retainers on both your top and bottom teeth. They are also known as wire or metal retainers.

Since they are completely removable, you must take them off when eating and drinking sweetened beverages. 

Wires will sit over and across your teeth and are attached to an acrylic plastic plate, which touches your gums and palate. Some dentists may offer to change the colour or add a pattern to the retainer.

This is one of the least expensive solutions, and if properly maintained, it could last many years. Hawley retainers have the drawback of being obvious, especially when placed on the top teeth.

However, this won’t be a problem once you start wearing them solely at night.


  • Affordable – The Hawley retainer is one of the most affordable retainers on the market. Thus, if you are tight on a budget, you will be able to afford these. 
  • Durable – These retainers can last for various years, as long as they are properly maintained. 
  • Customisation – Some dentists may offer to customise your retainers with particular patterns or colours of your choosing.


  • Noticeable – Hawley are very noticeable retainers, so everyone will be able to see it. 

Essix Retainer

Essix Retainer

If you prefer a clear retainer that is detachable, therefore an Essix retainer might be suitable. This is designed to fit over your gum line and fully cover your teeth.

This type of retainer is much less obvious than wire retainers. Hence, this is why some individuals chose this kind. Similar to the Hawley model, Essix retainer fees are similar, yet they aren’t as durable and long-lasting.

For eating, you’ll have to take your device out, and you should clean it frequently. It might eventually turn discoloured, but you can avoid this with the right cleaning regimen.


  • Detachable – Thus, a retainer can be removed from our mouth while you are eating or cleaning your teeth.
  • Invisible – People won’t notice whether you have got this retainer in, so it is much less conspicuous.
  • Affordable – This type of retainer is extremely affordable for anyone on a budget.


  • Discolouration – Over time, this retainer will discolour, which may not look pleasant.
  • Durability – This type of retainer isn’t as long-wearing compared to other types of retainers on this list.

Vivera Retainer

Vivera Retainer

This is the transparent plastic dental retainer made by the same company that makes the Invisalign retainer (sometimes called Invisalign braces).

It is much less prone to breaking compared to other plastic devices because it is composed of a very sturdy substance. 

If you don’t like the idea of having imprints made of your teeth, getting one fitted instead involves a laser scan of your mouth. You can acquire one of these even if you’ve never used Invisalign.


  • Transparent – This retainer isn’t very noticeable, thus, no one will be able to notice when you have got it in.
  • Laser Scan – If you don’t like having teeth imprints made, this retainer is formed using a laser scan instead. Which is a much more comfortable process to go through.
  • Sturdy – The plastic that is used on this retainer is incredibly strong and sturdy. Thus, the retainer won’t break easily.


  • Price – This type of retainer may be slightly more expensive compared to other types we have mentioned in this article today. 

Buyers Guide

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to purchasing a set of retainers for either yourself or someone else in your family.

The type of retainer that you need will be dependent on your teeth and any issues you may have. 

We have put together this simple guide, which will help you make an informed decision. You will be able to know what your choices are and what to look out for.

Retainers: What Are They?

Braces aren’t something you wear for fun. No one really enjoys wearing braces. For a smile you’re happier with, you’ve undoubtedly put in a lot of effort and maybe experienced some discomfort.

You don’t want your teeth to gradually shift out of place once again. Your dental retainer will help with that.

Your teeth will begin to reposition themselves spontaneously once your braces are taken off. As we age and as our wisdom teeth erupt, it’s also typical for your teeth to shift.

After receiving braces, wearing a retainer aids in maintaining the proper alignment of your teeth.

As long as you continue to wear your retainers as prescribed by your dentist. All types of retainers will keep your teeth straight for years to come.

Depending on where your braces were placed, you can acquire retainers for your upper and lower teeth. Or just your upper or lower teeth.

What’s The Difference Between Retainers And Braces?

Dental health can be improved by using braces to realign crooked teeth. You can either use fixed brackets to attach them to your teeth or flexible aligner braces. 

Depending on how much movement is needed, brace treatment might take anywhere from six months to three years.

Following the use of braces, retaining appliances are worn, and their primary goal is to prevent tooth movement by keeping your teeth straight.

The aim of all varieties, whether movable or fixed, metal or plastic, is to prevent your teeth from getting misaligned once more.

Removable Retainers

The main issue with detachable retainers is how frequently people relapse. This happens because some people misplace their retainer, fail to replace it, or fail to wear it as recommended.

If you don’t wear it, it won’t be able to function as intended. Then your teeth will attempt to reposition themselves to their previous positions.

Both kinds of removable retainers must be taken out and cleaned every day with a soft brush.

Additionally, your orthodontist could advise soaking it. Plastic and Hawley retainers are the two most popular types of removable retainers.

Hawley’s retainers, sometimes known as wire retainers, are detachable retainers that are moulded to suit the inside of your lower teeth or the roof of your mouth.

While, a plastic retainer is a detachable retainer that is custom-made to accommodate your teeth’s changing position. Also known as moulded retainers.

The type of plastic substance used to make the three popular types of clear retainers is what distinguishes them from one another. These include Essix and Vivera.

Sometimes Invisalign is used improperly to refer to Vivera. The same firm produces both items, but Invisalign is not a retainer. Instead, it is a system of aligners that straightens teeth without the use of metal braces.

In comparison to Hawley retainers, clear plastic retainers are being used more frequently.

Fixed Retainers

A solid or braided wire that is bent to fit the contour of your newly aligned teeth makes up permanent retainers.

To prevent your front teeth from moving, a wire is attached (cemented) to the inside of each one. They also are most frequently worn on lower teeth. Only your dentist or orthodontist can remove them.

When an orthodontist believes that the teeth are very prone to relapse or when the patient (such as a small child) won’t adhere to the usage guidelines.

Then a fixed retainer will be used instead of a detachable retainer. However, some are occasionally removed because of excessive plaque and tartar buildup or gum sensitivity.

While the majority are kept in place permanently. Additionally, permanent retainers need to be cleaned every day, much like your teeth.

Cost Of Retainers

Cost Of Retainers

Your location and the type of dental work you require are two of the main cost retainers.

The cost of your retainer might be included in the entire cost of your dental procedures and your braces, since orthodontists determine their own fees for treatments. 

Also, it is important that you question your orthodontist about the price of repair or replacement retainers. This is important if something occurs to your retainer, such as if it breaks or goes missing.

The material of your retainer and whether it is fixed or removable will affect the overall price as well. Retainers could cost anywhere between £100 to £300.

Fixed and metal retainers will have a higher price tag compared to removable and plastic retainers.

Yet, it is important to consider here that while plastic and removable retainers are much cheaper than fixed and metal alternatives.

They aren’t as durable. Hence you may need to ask for more replacements over the time that you need to wear retainers. 

As a result, in the long run, you may have to spend more money on your removable and plastic retainer. Then you would have had to do with your fixed metal one.

It is all about finding the right balance when it comes to the cost. A lot of people think about the aesthetic of their retainer, which is important.

However, if you are on a budget, you need to consider how much money you could be spending in the long term on retainers as well. 

As a result, you may pay a higher upfront fee for your fixed and metal retainers.

Yet, you save money in the longer term, as you won’t need as many replacements as you would with any removable retainer, especially with plastic and removable retainers. 

Purchasing Retainers Online

If you can’t get to the dentist or want to avoid paying the high office retainer charges, you can get a replacement retainer online.

You can order an impression kit from a variety of internet businesses, which you can use to build a mould of your teeth at home. You’ll soon have your transparent retainer in the mail if you send this.

Even though many individuals find this online service helpful, it’s occasionally preferable to visit an orthodontist or dentist.

Particularly if it’s been a while since you’ve worn a retainer, this is because your dentist will need to check your alignment again.

The cost of a replacement retainer can differ. A replacement retainer with a private dentist frequently has the same price as the original.

If you don’t require new tooth impressions for your replacement retainers, you could save some money.

Sometimes, damaged retainers can be repaired. Ask your dentist for advice if yours has been broken or damaged.

Notably, Vivera retainers are more expensive but come in sets of three or four. This implies that you won’t need to run to the dentist right away if you lose or break your retainer—you can simply swap to one of the others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Retainers Be Painful?

Sometimes retaining devices can hurt, however, this normally only lasts for a day or two after installation.

The pain from the retainer shouldn’t be too severe, and you can use your usual medicines to treat it. You should visit the dentist right away if it persists or worsens.

Wearing a retainer can be uncomfortable if you forget to put it in for a few days. This is because you’re shoving your teeth back into place after they’ve already started to move somewhat.

Tell your dentist if any retainer components are bothering your tongue, cheeks, or gums. Often, this is simply fixed by removing any sharp edges using a nail file.

Can You Keep Your Teeth Straight Without Using A Retainer?

No. Your teeth will inevitably shift over time. Then this movement can be unpredictable.

You must wear your retainer continuously to ensure that the time you spend using braces is worthwhile.

How Long Do You Need To Wear Your Retainer For?

Following the removal of your braces, the majority of orthodontists advise patients to use retainers full-time for the initial few months. Before allowing you to convert to overnight retainers indefinitely. 

You won’t have to worry about it with fixed retainers because you’ll wear them constantly.

Although, once you are past the first initial months, you may want to consider just a nighttime retainer instead of your fixed one. 

How Long Will Your Retainer Last For?

Although top bonded retainers typically fail after three years, permanent retainers can last indefinitely. Due to less regular daily wear and tear, bonded bottom tooth retainers will last for much longer. 

Depending on how carefully you take care of yours, Hawley retainers may last anywhere from one to twenty years, whereas plastic clear retainers are only expected to last a few years at most.

Andrew Kemp
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