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.