Orthodontic retainers are devices used to prevent the teeth from shifting. They are commonly used after a dental treatment of moving or straightening the teeth has been completed. Teeth have an elastic memory and will want to move back to their original position, and dental retainers will prevent them from moving.
There is 2 different types of retainer material:
Hawley Retainer: Hawley retainers are made using orthodontic wire and acyclic to create the base. The downside of a Hawley retainer is that it is easily noticeable, difficult to speak with, and costly to be created. The advantage is that if the acrylic is broken or the wire is bent, it can be repaired.
Essix Retainers: Essix is a brand name of the retainer material. Essix retainers are made from a clear sheet of polypropylene that is vacuum or thermoformed over a dental model of your teeth. Essix retainers can be made from Essix ACE or Essix Plus material. The advantage of Essix retainers over Hawley retainers is that the retainers can be almost invisible, minimal effect on speaking, and relatively inexpensive compared to Hawley retainers. This disadvantage is that they can’t be repaired if they crack.
Both types of retainers will prevent the teeth from shifting. When getting an Essix retainers confirm that genuine Essix material is used and request the Essix plus material if you have cracked your retainers in the past or grind your teeth at night.
Invisalign is designed to move and straighten the teeth in small stages. With Invisalign you typically will have sets of clear aligners that you wear for two weeks at a time then go on to the next set of aligners. This process slowly puts pressure on the teeth moving them to there new position. The amount of aligners depends on how much movement is needed to straighten the teeth. Invisalign uses 1mm clear essix material to create these aligners. After the teeth are straighten, a set of retainers are required to prevent the teeth from going back to their original location.
Clear Essix retainers and designed just to prevent the teeth from shifting. Retainers will not move or straighten you teeth, they will prevent them from shifting further. Retainers are made using 1mm clear essix material the same as Invisalign.
Both Essix retainers and invisalign are made from the same material and are cleaned and taken care for the same. Retainers can last for many years while the invislign aligners are designed to only be used for a short period of time.
One of the downsides of Essix retainers are they are fragile and can easily break if not properly cared for. The most common reason retainers break is improper removal. The second most common time retainers are broken is when they are being cleaned.
5 Ways to prevent Dental Retainers from breaking.
Get Essix Plus Retainers– They are two times stronger than standard essix retainers and the same thickness.
Remove Correctly– You want to use one finger on each side when removing the retainers to prevent flexing and twisting the retainers.
Support During Cleaning- When brushing the retainers you don’t want to hold on to one side and brush the other side. You want to support the retainers in your hand or on a towel when brushing the retainers.
Clean Correctly– You do not want to use alcohol based mouthwash with retainers. The alcohol in retainers will dry out and damage the retainers. We recommend using freshguard when cleaning your retainers. We have a video on youtube showing how this is done.
Storage– You want to store your retainers in a case when not in use. You also what to keep away from pets. Dogs are known to eat retainers.
If you properly take care of your retainers they can last for many years. If you retainers have broken please visit SportingSmiles.com for a replacement.
Did you know that you can use your FSA (Flexible Spending Account) to get a backup or replacement dental clear retainers! Most FSA accounts will accept an invoice from SportingSmiles.com for replacement retainers. Please verify with your FSA account before purchasing. If you need a detailed invoice please ask and we can send you one that you can forward to your FSA provider.
Why use your FSA account?
Save Money– FSA accounts are pre-taxed. You don’t have to count the money in your FSA account as income on your taxes.
Use or Lose– Some FSA you need to use the money or you lose it. Why not get a spare retainer before the money goes away?
Easy to Use– When checking out from SportingSmiles.com just use you FSA debit card when purchasing.
At SportingSmiles we have 2 different types of retainers that you can purchase using your FSA account. We have the standard Essix clear retainers and the newer more durable Essix Plus retainers. Both retainers can be seen here.
If you have question about using your FSA account or purchasing dental retainers please contact us at Info@SportingSmiles.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
Full Warranty- We will warranty the retainers fully to make sure that it fits correctly.
Reorder- SportingSmiles keeps all impression for 1 year. Reorders are at a discounted price.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Retainers are fragile: A downside of essix retainers is that they are fragile and can crack. Instead of having to be in a rush to get a new set. It’s nice to have a second available.
Cheap insurance: You may have paid thousands of dollars to have your teeth straighten. During the time when you’re looking for your old retainers or getting a replacement your teeth can shift.
Dogs: Dogs love to eat retainers. We get 5-6 calls every week saying the dog ate their retainers. It would be nice to have a spare pair in case this happens to you.
Clear: Having clear retainers is great for making them virtually invisible while on your teeth, but this feature makes them easily accidently thrown out.
Cost: If you are in a rush to get replacement retainers and have to go to a dentist it can cost $300 – $600. For less than $100 you can get a replacement set from SportingSmiles.com
Having your teeth straightened is an expensive and painful process. You want to make sure that your teeth stay as straight as possible and a set of backup retainers is a cheap way to insure your teeth don’t shift back to their old location if anything happens to your retainers.
These instruction are designed for clear Essix retainers, but can also be used for Invisalign clear retainers.
You want to rinse the retainer in luke-warm water. Using a soft bristle tooth brush and a non-abrasive tooth paste brush the guard softly. While brushing the guard you want to be careful not to crack the retainer. It works well to cup the retainer in your other hand while cleaning. This type of cleaning should be done regularly with your retainer.
For a deep clean we recommend using Fresh Guard soak. It’s made by Efferdent and can be found at most drug stores and large department stores. Its normally less than 10$ for 24 packets and always seems to be printable coupons online. After you brush your retainers. You want to pour one of the fresh guard packets in a cup of warm water. Then place your retainers in the solution for about 5 minutes. You will know the cleaning process is over by the Fresh Guard will change from a blue color to clear. When the solution turns clear you want to remove the retainers right away. Don’t leave the retainers in the solution longer than ten minutes. After removing rinse thoroughly and you retainer should be clear and clean.
How not to clean your retainers.
Don’t soak in mouthwash. Mouthwash contains alcohol. The alcohol will dry out the retainer and damage it.
Don’t use diluted bleach water. We have heard people using this method and it’s also not good for the retainers and can permanently give them a bleach taste.
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.