Ortho Retainers

Written By Dr. Kyle Griffith

Once a patient has completed orthodontics (braces), retainers are worn to keep the teeth in their healthy, aesthetic, final position. Make no mistake: If retention of some form is not worn, the teeth will move back to their original position.

There are two main types of retainers that are currently used. It seems that use by orthodontists is split 50/50 between the two types. This blog will cover these two types of retainers and the basic positives and negatives between the two.

Fixed retainers are usually composed of a small wire that is attached to the backs of the front teeth to keep them from moving.


  • You will not lose this type of retainer
  • The teeth will be retained at all times
  • There is no interference with eating
  • Easy to fabricate and place


  • In rare instances, these retainers will break/dislodge and the teeth will move slightly before the patient or dentist is aware that something is wrong
  • It makes flossing between the teeth difficult and time consuming
  • It allows for easier bacterial accumulation

Removable retainers come in two types. There are clear retainers which cover the entire tooth surface and there are retainers that have both acrylic and wire components. There are some subtle differences between these retainers but for this blog we will consider them to be equal.


  • These retainers are removable, making oral hygiene easy
  • If, in the rare instance, the retainer is broken, it is easily identified


  • Easily lost
  • Teeth are only retained during wear
  • Slightly difficult to fabricate and place. Adjustments may be necessary
  • Cannot be worn during eating

It is not that one form of retention is best. There are positives and negatives with both. If you could distill it down to its most simple components, it's a choice between easy oral hygiene versus uninterrupted retention. If you forced me to choose, I'd choose easy oral hygiene.

If you have questions about orthodontics or would like to be evaluated to see if Invisalign® (clear braces) is an option for you, please do not hesitate to contact the team at 58 Dental.

Kyle Griffith DMD
7090 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO. 80224

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Tony F
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