The time has come when your orthodontic treatment is complete and we have given you retainers to wear. Right on!

What do retainers do?

The reason you wear retainers after braces is (quite literally) to retain your beautiful new smile! Retainers are critical for solidifying your end results after treatment with braces or Invisalign.

Whether you undergo orthodontic treatment or not, your teeth are susceptible to shifting. It’s only natural! Once your teeth no longer have the support of your braces or clear aligners, they have a tendency to revert or “relapse” back to their original position, prior to treatment. Your retainer will hold your teeth in place until they solidify in their final position and aren’t at risk of relapsing anymore.

We will monitor your teeth, bite, and fit of your retainers for at least a year after you end your braces or Invisalign. There are different types of retainers for teeth that Dr. McNeight or Dr. Caudill will suggest depending on your unique bite and tooth position. We make clear Essix retainers, wire retainers with fun designs (also called Hawley retainers), and in some instances, “permanent” or bonded braces retainers that are glued to the inside of your teeth.



Essix Retainer


Hawley retainer

There are different types of retainers, including fixed retainers and removable retainers.

Fixed, or permanent, retainers are cemented behind the top teeth or the bottom teeth. These retainers typically remain in place for a lifetime to support your smile.

Removable retainers can be placed in your mouth and removed as needed. These ones come in a variety of different styles. The most popular removable retainers are Hawley acrylic retainers and Essix retainers.

How long do retainers last? Removable retainers can last up to 10 years with proper care. Permanent retainers can last decades to a lifetime!

Hawley Retainers

A Hawley retainer uses an acrylic plate and metal wires to hold your smile in place. The acrylic plate sits behind your upper, front teeth, in the roof of your mouth. The metal wires fasten around your front teeth and fit between your back teeth to anchor the retainer in place.

The Hawley retainer acrylic plate comes in a variety of different colors and patterns for you to choose from! You’ll get to choose your Hawley retainer design in our office.

Essix Retainers

Essix retainers are very similar to Invisalign® clear aligners. These removable retainers are clear and practically-invisible, made out of flexible, high-quality plastic. Like Invisalign, the Essix retainer covers your entire dental arch to hold your teeth in their position.

Many people choose the Essix retainer, because it’s practically invisible and similar to Invisalign clear aligners.


How much do retainers cost? Your retainer is a part of your orthodontic treatment! We don’t charge additional money for your retainer. This cost will be included in the affordable payment plan you choose.

In the event that you lose or break your retainer, there may be a cost to replace or fix it. To prevent this from happening, be sure to care for your retainer properly!

  • Place your retainer back in your retainer carrying case every time you remove it from your mouth.
  • Don’t place it in a napkin when you eat. (Napkin retainers are infamous for ending up in the trash.)
  • Don’t eat with your retainer in your mouth.
  • How to clean retainers: Clean your retainer regularly, and don’t use hot water! Hot water can warp or damage your retainer. Rinse your retainer out each time you take it out of your mouth. You can use Retainer Brite cleaning tablets to disinfect your retainers every few days too!

And the best news is, ooey gooey impressions are a thing of the past! We can use our 3D scanner to create a 3D printed model of your teeth which your retainer can be fabricated off of. Which is just plain awesome!

We are also happy to make new dental retainers for anyone who may need one. If your retainer breaks or your permanent retainer comes unglued from one of your teeth, we are here to help!

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