What Types of Retainers Are There?
There are two types of retainers generally used in orthodontic treatment: removable and permanent.
There are two types of removable retainers. The traditional Hawley retainer is probably the more familiar of the two. This type of retainer is made out of plaster or acrylic material with a metal wire. They can last up to 20 years when well-maintained. The Hawley retainer is adjustable and comes in a variety of colors to suit your style.
The other kind of removable retainer is the clear plastic retainer that is made of transparent polyurethane or plastic and usually lasts between six months and a year. These are easily removed and tend to be very comfortable.
Removable retainers have some advantages over permanent retainers. Specifically, many patients find the clear plastic retainers more comfortable than the Hawley variety. With either type of removable retainer, you have fewer dietary restrictions and cleaning and maintaining them is very easy.
Sometimes called lingual wire, fixed or bonded retainers, permanent retainers are made of nickel, copper, or titanium wire. These retainers are durable and cannot be lost, since they remain affixed to the teeth at all times.
Permanent retainers are extremely long-lasting and, if well-maintained, may never need to be replaced. The main challenges with them, however, is that they are harder to keep clean since they are permanently affixed to your smile.