Tag Archives: Essix

How Long Should My Orthodontic Retainer Last?

This is a hard questions to answer. There is many factors that go in to determining how long the retainer will last.

Care for Retainer- Essix style retainers can yellow in time if they are not cleaned on a regular basis. To prevent your retainers we recommend using a quality cleaning product like fresh guard twice a week. A cleaner will remove all the bacteria and keep your retainers from yellowing and becoming brittle.

Properly taking the retainer off- The most common way for your retainers to break is when you are removing them. When removing the retainers you want to use two hands and put equal pressure on both sides of the retainer. If you only grab from one side of the retainers it will twist the retainer this can cause it to break. There is no way to repair an Essix retainer after it has cracked, they will need to be replaced.

Material used to make retainer- There is a few different brand for clear retainers. At SportingSmiles we use only genuine Essix material. Essix retainers can be made from standard Essix material or from there Essix Plus material. The Essix Plus is a stronger material and will hold up better than the standard material.

Tooth Structure- Everyone’s tooth structure is different. If there is a gap between the teeth this can be weak point for the retainers. You want to be extra careful when removing the retainer if you have a gap between your teeth.

Teeth Grinding- Retainers are not designed to take the stress from teeth grinding or clenching. Teeth grinding can shorten the life span of the retainer significantly. If you are a teeth grinding you might want to upgrade to the Essix Plus material, It will handle the force that teeth grinding puts on the retainer better than the standard Essix material.

Essix Plus Clear retainer

We have had many customers who have had their Essix retainers for 5+ years. Taking good care of the retainers will extend their life span. It is also a good idea to have a backup set in case, they crack. Visit our site at SportingSmiles.com for more information on replacement retainers.

How to get a retainer from your own Molds.

Do you have your own molds from your dentist and want to get a replacement retainer made, but can’t find a company to make them? At SportingSmiles.com we can use your existing molds, but there is some stipulations on using outside dental molds.

  1. No Warranty- We can’t warranty outside molds because we don’t know how old they are. The new retainers maybe made perfect, but your teeth may have shifted since the impression was taken.
  2. Damaged Impression- There is a chance your teeth mold can be damaged when the new retainer is being made. We will try our best for this not to happen, but there is a chance this could happen. Dental impressions can dry out in time and there are different qualities in dental stone. Also there is a chance they may get damaged in the mail.
  3. Same Cost- There is no discount on using your existing impression. There is often more work to correct your current impression than there is in making a new one.

Advantages of using our Impression Kit.

  1. Full Warranty- We will warranty the retainers fully to make sure that it fits correctly.
  2. Reorder- SportingSmiles keeps all impression for 1 year. Reorders are at a discounted price.
  3. Easy Impression Process- SportingSmiles have a patented dental impression tray that makes it extremely easy to take an impression. Video instructions are also available.

We recommend using our self-impression kit, but we can use your existing molds to make a retainers. Our different styles of retainers can be seen here:


Why do dogs eat retainers?

We hear at least 4-5x a week that “my dog ate my retainer!”

Dogs love to eat dental retainers
Dogs love to eat dental retainers

Dogs are attracted to the saliva, the smell, as well as the material that the retainers are made from.

The clear Essix style retainers are made from EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate). This is often the same type of vinyl found in a dogs chew toys.  It doesn’t take long for a dog of any size to destroy a retainer.

We recommend that you store your retainers in a case, in a cool dry place such as drawer, or a high location out of reach from your pet.

If your pet is prone to chewing up your retainers it is always a good idea to have a back-up pair to avoid any down time without your retainer.

Upper + Lower Dental Retainers
Upper + Lower Dental Retainers


At SportingSmiles.com the re-order process is easy and efficient. Whether you need just the upper retainer, just the lower retainer, or both. We keep your impressions on file for at least 1 year to make re-ordering a snap!

How Long will my Clear Essix Retainers Last?

There is no good answer to this question. It’s different per person.  With care you can see 2-6 years with your clear essix retainers.  There is a few things you can do to extend the life of your retainers.

  1. Use two hands to remove them from your teeth. The twisting motion of pulling on one side of the retainers will put stress on them and can cause them to crack.
  2. When cleaning your retainers you want to support them in either your hand or place them on top of a towel on the countertop. This again prevents the twisting motion that can crack the retainers.
  3. Regular cleaning will help prevent the retainers from yellowing and getting brittle. We recommend using freshguard cleaner twice a week and brushing them after each use. Cleaning instructions can be found Here.
  4. Storing them in a case way from pets will also help. Pets love to chew on the plastic that the retainer and created from.
Upper + Lower Dental Retainers
Upper + Lower Dental Retainers

If your retainers are cracking regularly you may want to upgrade to the essix plus material. It’s more durable material and will extend the life of the retainers. If you have questions about getting a replacement set of retainers please visit SportingSmiles.com or email us at Info@SportingSmiles.com

How to Clean my Clear Essix Retainers.

If you clean and take care of your retainers they can last many years. Here are the steps to make sure your retainers is clean and fresh.

Upper + Lower Dental Retainers
Upper + Lower Dental Retainers
  1. You want to clean your retainers with a soft bristle tooth brush and non-abrasive (non tarter control, or grit-less) tooth paste after ever use. If tooth paste isn’t available rinse the retainers in water before storing. Avoid cleaning or rinsing your retainer with any store bought mouth wash.
  2. We recommend using Freshguard to clean your retainers. Freshguard is available at most drug stores, or online. If freshguard isn’t available denture cleaning tablets can also be used.
  3. To use Freshguard follow the instruction on the box. Freshguard should be used at least twice a week.

This is the same process for cleaning your invisalign or other orthodontic appliance.


The Do’s and Do Nots’ of cleaning your Clear Essix Retainer:

Do use a soft bristle tooth brush to clean your retainer.

Don’t use abrasive or tartar control tooth paste. This will scratch and damage the retainers.

Do use Freshguard to rinse your retainer.

Don’t use mouthguard rinse to soak the retainer. The alcohol in the mouthguard will make the retainer brittle.

Do cup the retainer in your hand while brushing, or place it on a towel on the counter.

Don’t twist the retainer while brushing. The twisting motion will flex the retainer causing it to crack.


If you clean your retainer from the beginning it will prevent any buildup and or discoloration. After retainers start to discolor it can be difficult to get them back to being clear. If you have questions about cleaning your retainer contact SportingSmiles at Info@SportingSmiles.com

Essix Retainer Frequently Asked Questions

Retainer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. What’s the difference between Hawley wire retainers and Essix retainers?
A. The Hawley retainers are made from acrylic and use orthodontic wire to maintain the position of the teeth. Essix style retainers are clear and clip on to the teeth to prevent them from shifting. Essix retainers material is similar to the material used with Invisalign.

Q. How do I clean my retainer?
A. After removing the retainers you want to rinse them under water. They can be cleaned using a soft bristle tooth brush with non abrasive tooth paste. For a deep clean we recommend using Fresh Guard.

Q. If my retainer cracks can it be repaired?
A. Yes and no. If you have an acrylic Hawley retainer it can be repaired. If you have a clear Essix retainer it will have to be replaced.

Q. Will retainers straighten my teeth?
A. Retainers will not straighten your teeth. They will prevent them from shifting any further.

Q. I have a permanent fixed retainer can I still get an Essix retainer?
A. Yes, an Essix retainer can still be made if you have a permanent retainer bonded on your teeth. The Impression process is exactly the same. During creation dental lab technicians will block out the area where the wire is bonded.

Q. How do I remove my retainers?
A. You want to use two hands when removing the retainers and don’t want to twist them. Retainers are most likely to be broken while being removed.

Q. My Essix retainers are getting yellow. What can be done?
A. Some of our customers report having good luck removing the yellowing by user Retainer Brite.

Q. What is the cost of a  Essix Retainer?
A. The price of retainers vary depending on dentist and area of the country. We have seen prices from $300 – $650 for upper and lower retainers. We current sell upper and lower for $95 with shipping included.

Q. If my retainer cracks or is lost can I get a replacement?
A. Most dentist do not keep the impressions on file. They will make you go through the whole impression process again and charge standard pricing. With SportingSmiles retainers, we keep your impressions on file for 1 year after the reorder date.

The Difference Between Essix and Hawley Retainers

The Difference between Essix and Hawley Retainers

Dental professionals prescribe the use of  orthodontic retainers to protect the alignment of your teeth. Currently there are two main types on the market. Known as the Hawley and the Essix retainers, they are designed to prevent  shifting of the teeth. You would typically wear a retainer after undergoing dental orthodontic treatment or to prevent the teeth from shifting further. TExample of Hawley Retainerhe Hawley Model The Hawley retainer was invented by Dr. Charles Hawley in 1908. It is an older model that relies on wires attached to the anterior teeth for proper placement. If you have one of these appliances, you will notice that the wires are anchored into an acrylic base. For proper wear, you need to push the base against the palate. Unfortunately, doing so can make it difficult for some wearers to talk when wearing the retainer. On the upside, an orthodontist can adjust the wires of a Hawley retainer as needed. The Essix Model

Essix Retainers
Single Essix Clear Retainer

An Essix retainer is the newer style of retainers. It is made from a clear 1-mm EVA (vinyl) sheet material that is formed over a dental stone positive impression of your teeth. These retainers are not as costly as the Hawley retainer and are much more comfortable to wear on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, their popularity has eclipsed the older Hawley style retainers. The majority of today’s modern labs vacuum-form the retainers they produce.  At SportingSmiles, we thermo-form them to provide you with superior tautness and the most accurate retainer based on your dental needs. The retainers are made from the same material as Invisalign even though they are not designed to actually move your teeth. We custom-tailor them to keep your teeth in their current position as indicated by your orthodontist. Among the advantages of the Essix retainer are they are clear, less expensive, less noticeable, more comfortable and make it a lot easier to speak when you are wearing them. Contact us today to order your retainer. SportingSmiles invites you to like us on Facebook, add us to your circles on Google+ and follow us on Twitter!