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Retainers are often the step that follows braces. Their purpose is to realign your teeth to give you a beautiful smile! Sometimes, you can skip braces entirely, it just depends on what your orthodontist deems is best for you. There are three primary types of retainers: clear aligners, invisible brackets, and traditional wire retainers. Let’s talk about the different types of retainers and how to take care of them!

What are Retainers?

A retainer is a device that is worn over the teeth to hold their position or to keep them from moving. The most common type of retainer is a wire, plastic or acrylic mouth guard. A dental retainer may also be called an orthodontic retainer. They are designed to help align your teeth to fix gaps, crooked teeth, and bite misalignments!

What are the Types of Retainers?

A retainer is a device that fits over your teeth and helps keep them in the right position. There are three types of retainers. Let’s talk about each one!

Clear Aligners: Clear aligners are removable aligners that are made with clear plastic. They are heavy and generally used for patients who want to wear their retainers for a short period of time, like the night before work or a family function.

Invisible Retainers/Fixed Aligners: Fixed aligners are long-term retainers that your dentist places on your teeth to maintain a certain alignment. These aren’t removable, so they need to be removed by the dentist every six months or so when they need to be readjusted. They sit behind your teeth so nobody can see them!

Traditional Wire Retainers: These are what you probably visualize when you think of retainers. They are removeable by the person wearing them and sit at the roof of your mouth. There is a wire piece that sits over the front of your top teeth, keeping them in place.

How to Clean Your Retainer Properly

The way you clean your retainers depends on the type of retainer that you have. Removeable retainers like clear aligners and traditional retainers require a daily cleaning. This is usually done at night by using your tooth brush to clean in and around the retainer.

Fixed bracket retainers though are a bit different. These you clean when you brush your teeth, just as you would your teeth themselves. Every six months or so your orthodontist will remove them and adjust them appropriately.


Retainers are valuable pieces of orthodontic equipment that help align your teeth and fix any misalignments with them. They are not very fragile, but do require precise care. The type of care will vary based on the type of retainer that you have! Make sure you get proper care instructions from you orthodontist to ensure you don’t damage them and can achieve your winning smile!

Looking for more information? Give Adventure Orthodontics a call today!

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