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.
- Can last several years but usually wont last as long as Hawley retainers
The are many different types of proprietary thermoforming plastics than 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.