Orthodontic Retainers in Houston, TX

One of the most important parts of orthodontic treatment is what happens after we finish moving your teeth – making them stay put! In order to maintain your beautiful, new smile you will need to wear retainers to help keep your teeth from shifting back to their original positions.

Types of Retainers: Pros and Cons

There are three basic types of retainers, each with their own pros and cons. We also offer Vivera® retainers by Invisalign®.

Clear plastic retainers (aka Invisible retainers, Invisalign® retainers)

Clear retainers are very similar to Invisalign® aligners. They are made out of clear molded plastic that fits over the teeth. These retainers have become increasingly popular over the years thanks to their nearly invisible appearance and because they are thin and comfortable to wear. Since they are removable, it’s easier to maintain oral hygiene. Clear retainers are also able to retain your teeth more accurately than other types of removable retainers and are less likely to affect your speech. They can usually be made within an hour or at least by the next day.

On the other hand, these retainers are not as durable as Hawley retainers and cannot be adjusted for dental work or if the teeth move. Most importantly, removable means “losable”!

Hawley retainers (aka wire retainers)

hawley wire retainer houston texasThis is the most commonly recognized type of retainer. They generally last longer than clear plastic retainers and can sometimes be adjusted after new dental work. Hawley retainers are removable, making it easy to practice good oral hygiene.

Many people don’t like this type of retainer because its wire is visible in front of your teeth. It’s also more likely to affect speech than other types of retainers. They are bulkier and less comfortable than clear retainers, and they do not retain teeth as accurately. Since they are removable, Hawley retainers are also easy to lose and require 10-15 days for fabrication.

Fixed retainers (aka permanent retainers, bonded retainers, glued-in retainers)

fixed bonded retainer lower teeth

Fixed retainers are highly convenient because they are bonded to the back of your teeth, hiding them from sight. Since they are “permanent,” you won’t have to remember to wear them or worry about losing them. They are also comfortable, generally taking only a few days to get used to, and are unlikely to affect speech. 

Since they are glued to the back of your teeth, fixed retainers are more difficult to clean around than removable ones. Because you don’t remove them to eat, it is possible for food to get stuck under them and must be cleaned out later. Fixed retainers worn on the top of the teeth are most likely to break, requiring a follow up visit to our office for repair or replacement.

Vivera® Retainers by Invisalign®

vivera retainer invisalign houston texas

Vivera® retainers are a special type of clear plastic retainers. The best thing about them is that you get a series of 4 retainers instead of just one. Many people like to wear each retainer for a few months and then switch to a fresh one. They are made by Invisalign®, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through your orthodontic treatment using Invisalign® to qualify for them; people who had braces can get them, too! The other great thing is that Invisalign® will always have a scan of your teeth on file, so you can order more sets of retainers years down the road if you need them.

Alternatives to Retainers by Houston’s Advance Orthodontics

What if my teeth need to be moved?

In general, retainers are meant to keep teeth where they are, not to move them. If you’d like your teeth to be moved, retainers are probably not the best option. In the “old days”, some orthodontists offered “active retainers” to try to correct mild relapse if a patient hadn’t worn their retainers enough after finishing treatment and the teeth had shifted slightly. Nowadays, however, we have more reliable means of minor relapse correction, such as Invisalign® Express. It is relatively inexpensive compared to putting braces back on, and it works much better than an “active retainer.”

Contact Advance Orthodontics for Retainers in Houston, TX

Retainers play an extremely important part in your orthodontic treatment. If you have lost your retainer or need a replacement, Advance Orthodontics happily provides retainers for anyone located in the Houston area. Fill out our form or call us today to schedule an appointment!