It doesn’t matter if you had orthodontic treatment or not; your teeth move constantly through your life, about .5 millimeters a year. If you don’t hold them in their place, they will shift. Retainers are designed to keep your teeth from shifting.

There are two main types of orthodontics retainers, fixed or removable. When it comes to each category, there are only one or two options available. Below we are going to introduce you to different types of retainers that are currently available in orthodontics and explain their pros and cons.

Essix Retainer

Also known as a clear retainer. It is a removable retainer that is made of a resilient clear plastic or Polyethylene.


It is almost invisible and very cosmetic, with little to no interference in your speech pattern. It is quick to fabricate, and in most cases, it can be done at the office and delivered to you on the same day.

It covers all surfaces of your teeth and precisely retains them in their position. It also protects your teeth from enamel wear in case of minor grinding and bruxism.

It is the most hygienic retainer available. You don’t need to use any special technique to brush or floss your teeth. You take the retainers out and do your oral hygiene routine. There are no food restrictions with this type of retainer.

Retainer – Essix Type


Like your shoes or clothes, it won’t last forever. Depending on how it is maintained; sooner or later it needs to be replaced. You may lose it or it may change color over time. It may not stand extreme occlusal forces if you grind your teeth excessively at night. If it is damaged, it is impossible to repair it and the only solution is to fabricate a new one.

Hawly Retainer

It is a removable retainer that is made of a wire that is bent alongside the teeth and an acrylic part that covers the palate.


Because it is made of a thicker acrylic and does not cover the chewing surface of the teeth, it is slightly more durable than an Essix retainer. Also, the wire can be adjusted to some extent to improve its adaptation around the teeth and, if necessary, to apply minor orthodontic forces on a tooth. The acrylic part can be repaired as well.


It will affect speech; lisping is a quite common complaint. It is not as cosmetic as the other retainers either. It is not the best type of retainer for retaining the teeth because the wire constantly distorts while moving around. It requires frequent adjustments and follows up visits to make sure teeth are still retained.

It is a lab fabricated retainer, which makes the fabrication process more costly and time-consuming.

Retainer – Hawley Type

Bonded Retainer

It's a piece of passive wire nicely adapted to your teeth and bonded directly to the teeth.


It is very cosmetic and permanently bonded to the back of the front teeth.

It is not the healthiest choice for the gums and surrounding tissues. It makes regular flossing almost impossible. If placed on the top teeth, it will interfere with the bite. It breaks too frequently during routine cleanings. Most of the time when it breaks, you won't know until you notice the significant shifting of your teeth.

Retainer – Permanent Type