Orthodontic Retainers at Life Orthodontics

Pros and Cons of the Different Types of Orthodontic Retainers

May 25, 2024

Wearing a retainer is essential to maintaining the smile you've spent time and money to achieve. There are three categories of orthodontic retainers: Hawley retainers, clear retainers, and fixed retainers. In this blog post, we’ll go over the pros and cons of each retainer option and discuss the Life Orthodontics difference.

Types of Orthodontic Retainers

Hawley retainers are the traditional option made of a combination of metal wires and acrylic. These retainers are durable, adjustable, and allow for minor modifications over time. Some patients also enjoy being able to choose a color or pattern for their retainer. The con of Hawley retainers is that they are the most visible option, with the metal wire sitting in front of your teeth. Another potential con of Hawley retainers is that they retain by holding only the front and back of each tooth rather than all surfaces, so there is a slightly greater chance of relapse with this type of retainer.

Clear retainers are made from transparent plastic, making them the most aesthetic option. They hold your teeth from all sides, so they are great at preventing relapse if worn as directed. They are easier and less expensive to fabricate compared to Hawley retainers, making them a more affordable option. The primary con of clear retainers is they are not as durable as Hawley retainers. Hawley retainers can easily last more than 10 years if well taken care of, while clear retainers will last on average 5 years.

Fixed retainers, also known as bonded or permanent retainers, are thin wires that are attached to the back of your teeth. These retainers are compliance-free, eliminating the need to remember to wear and maintain removable Hawley or clear retainers. The main con with fixed retainers is that it is harder to floss with them on, so sometimes oral hygiene can suffer. For more information on orthodontic retainers, visit this informational site by the American Association of Orthodontists.

Life Orthodontics Difference

At Life Orthodontics, we offer all retainer options. Where we differ from most other orthodontic offices is that we offer double coverage - both a fixed retainer and a clear retainer. This combination provides the greatest retention and stability for your smile. Most other offices would charge extra for double coverage of retainers, but there is no additional charge at Life Orthodontics since our goal is to keep our patients smiling for life.

At Life Orthodontics, another aspect of retention that differentiates us from other offices is our Smile for Life Guarantee. Read about our Smile for Life Guarantee in our past blog post. If you're looking for an orthodontist in Orange County that cares about retaining your smile for life, then Life Orthodontics is the best place for you. We proudly serve patients from all over Orange County: Tustin, Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Orange, Anaheim, and more!

Are You Ready to

Smile For Life?

Are You Ready to

Smile For Life?