What is Essix Retainer?

October 25, 2019

What is Essix Retainer?
What dental Essix retainer looks like
Essix retainer replacing front two upper incisors
Essix retainer is an invisible suckdown splint replacing one or more missing teeth
Essix retainer on a cast mold made by the dental technician
Transparent Essix retainer can quickly restore a gap in your dentition
Invisible retainer with a fake tooth to fill up the gap and restore the missing tooth in the arch

To put it simply, a retainer is something you wear after you have braces, in order to keep your teeth from moving back to their original positions. Some retainers are removable, so you can take them out to eat, and after a while, you may only have to wear them at night. Other retainers are permanent, and look like a metal wire, fixed along the backs of your teeth. These in theory, should stay attached for the rest of your life.


What is an Essix retainer?


An Essix retainer is a transparent plastic retainer that fits perfectly over and around your teeth so they stay straight after braces. It is a removable retainer, and is made completely out of clear plastic, so it is less visible when you wear it than the traditional wire retainers are. These retainers are made from molds of your teeth, so they are completely personalized, and they fit over the entire arch of your teeth.


Essix retainers work by applying pressure to your teeth in order to keep them aligned. It’s extremely important to wear your retainer after orthodontic work as instructed by your dentist. That’s because, your teeth can move right back to where they began before treatment. An Essix retainer may even be able to make small corrections to any misalignment problems that remain after orthodontic treatment. In most cases, you’ll need to wear your Essix retainer for the rest of your life.


Are Essix retainers better than other type of retainers?


Essix retainers are different than the other common type of removable retainer—Hawley retainers. Hawley retainers consist of a metal wire that goes in front of your teeth, making them quite visible. Hawley retainers are also a bit more ungainly than Essix retainers and may be more uncomfortable to wear. Both retainers cost about the same, except that in certain circumstances, the Essix can be more expensive.


On the other hand, Essix retainers aren’t as sturdy as Hawley retainers, so if you’re prone to breaking things, maybe it’s not the best option for you. They also can warp when exposed to high temperatures.


Here’s a summary of the pros of Essix retainers:

• Transparent, virtually invisible
• Easy to clean
• Removable


Cons of Essix retainers:

• Can cause a lisp
• Less durable than traditional wire retainers
• Non-adjustable


How do you clean an Essix retainer?


It’s crucial to keep your Essix retainer properly cleaned, as not doing so can lead to bad smells that will be unpleasant for you and those around you. Not to mention it’s not very hygienic for your teeth.


First of all, you need to clean your retainer as soon as you take it out, before it has a chance to dry. You should then brush your retainer and your teeth. Once every few days, you’ll want to scrub away any plaque that’s managed to build up with a solution of warm water and gentle dish soap. Use a cotton swab to get into smaller grooves.


Finally, once a week it is recommended that you use a retainer/denture cleaning solution, usually involving soaking. Your orthodontist will also give you instructions on how to care for your Essix retainer.


Do Essix retainers hurt?


Essix retainers apply pressure to your teeth to either keep them in the right position or make slight alignment adjustments. Just like braces, this may feel a bit uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt. If you forget to wear your Essix retainer, that’s when you might experience a bit of soreness, so make sure to wear them as instructed.


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