Smile Hub’s Guide to Orthodontic Retainers



Here at Smile Hub Dental Clinic, we provide orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign and Six Month Smiles. Orthodontics can create the straight smile you have always wanted. Creating straight teeth can be straight forward but getting them to stay that way can be difficult. Once you have gotten your perfect smile it is important to maintain it which is where retainers come in. A retainer is used to keep the position that the teeth have been moved into after orthodontic treatment. There are three main types of retainers.


Essix (Clear) Retainer


Essix retainers are removable appliance which are made of transparent plastic so they are not as noticeable as other wire retainers. Over time our teeth are continuously moving due to contact and pressure and can move to different positions in our mouth. An Essix retainer keeps the teeth in the desired position after orthodontic treatment. An Essix retainer can also treat minor corrections or slightly uneven teeth. Essix retainers are a great way to keep straight teeth without feeling self-conscious as they are clear and not noticeable. They are thin and removable so they should not cause any trouble in your daily routine and lifestyle. If an Essix retainer becomes uncomfortable it could mean that your teeth are moving and you may not be wearing the retainer enough so it is important to wear it more to reduce any discomfort and prevent teeth changing position.


Hawley Retainer


A Hawley retainer is less common nowadays as it can be quite noticeable and awkward to wear. These are made of thick plastic with a metal wire that sits in front of the teeth. At Smile Hub Dental Clinic, we don’t usually make these retainers as there are more advanced options now.


Bonded Wire Retainer


A bonded retainer is a metal wire which is fixed into place with dental cement on the inside of your upper or lower teeth after orthodontic treatment. They are usually placed on your front teeth which means they are not suitable for treatment with molars or premolars. It is very important to get a retainer after orthodontic treatment to prevent the movement of teeth back to their previous position.


There are many advantages to having a bonded retainer. It is a fixed and permanent appliance which means once it is in you don’t have to worry about where you have left it or ensure that you have worn it enough to stop your teeth moving like with a removeable retainer. A bonded retainer is great option as it cannot be seen because it is glued to the back of the teeth. A removable retainer is clear but can sometimes still be noticed. A bonded retainer can last a very long time if it cared for correctly. Bonded retainers have been known to last up to 10 years which is a lot longer than other retainer types. Financially, a bonded retainer can work out the best as it does not need to be replaced due to it breaking or being lost like removable retainers. The only problem that can occur with bonded retainers is that it can be difficult to floss under them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a retainer after orthodontics?

It is important to have a retainer after having orthodontic work as it is easy for your teeth to move back into their old position. This is why we now believe retainers are a necessity to keep your straight smile. It is important to wear the correctly and take care of them to ensure they are providing the correct amount of retention.

How often do I need to wear retainers?

If you have a bonded retainer it stays attached to the teeth so your teeth will not move. If you have an essix retainer it is vital that you wear it every night for the first year after orthodontics. As time goes on you can lessen how much you wear them but it is important to still wear them every few nights.

How long do retainers last?

If you have a bonded retainer it can last a few years. They can sometimes break which means they may need to be rebounded or you may need a new impression taken. Essix retainers can last about a year or two depending on how you care for them. The fact that they are removable means it can be easy to lose them or break them. They also wear down if the patient grinds their teeth which may lead to the need for a new retainer.

Can bonded retainers break?

Bonded retainers are usually attached to the front 6 teeth in the mouth. In some cases, the wire can become unbonded or snap. If this happens it can sometimes be rebounded to the tooth. If the wire is broken it may mean you need to get fitted for a new bonded retainer.

Can retainers harm the teeth?

Essix retainers will not damage the teeth as long as they are cleaned and taken care of properly. Bonded retainers usually will not damage the teeth, but they can make it more difficult to floss. We recommend using tepe brushes or super floss and coming for your regular check up and cleanings twice a year.

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    Smilehub Dental Clinic, Bayside Medical Centre, Bayside Shopping Centre, Sutton,
    Dublin 13