Clear plastic retainers
These retainers are made from thin sheets of clear plastic that are thermally formed and molded over models of your teeth with pressurized air.
A clear plastic retainer has the following advantages:
- It can be made and delivered at the time you get your braces off.
- It’s virtually invisible, so you’re more likely to wear it. That means relapse is less likely.
- It’s less bulky and adapts around each tooth better than Hawley retainers. Most patients feel it is more comfortable than a Hawley retainer.
- They can be used to hold fluoride or tooth-whitening gels against the teeth.
- It’s less likely to affect your speech than a Hawley retainer.
- It is less costly to replace than other retainers.
Disadvantages of a clear retainer
- It has limited adjustability.
- If it cracks or breaks, it can’t be repaired.
- Top and bottom teeth don’t touch naturally because of the thin layers of plastic covering the upper and lower teeth. This can be a good thing for people who grind their teeth, because the teeth will be protected by the plastic.
- It can last several years but usually wont last as long as Hawley retainers.
The are many different types of proprietary thermo-forming plastics that can be used to maximize comfort and or durability. Clear plastic retainers have become the standard since the advent of Invisalign®, and are used more often than any other retainer.