4 Innovative Alternatives to Traditional Retainers
Oral Health Blog

4 Innovative Alternatives to Traditional Retainers


Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment in achieving a beautifully aligned smile, but it doesn't end when the braces come off. To maintain your teeth's newfound alignment, retainers are essential. While metal retainers have been a go-to choice for many, there are alternative options available today. In this article, we'll delve into the alternatives to traditional metal retainers and help you choose the best option for your needs.

1. Clear Retainers (Essix or Vivera)

Clear retainers have gained immense popularity as an alternative to metal retainers. Made from transparent plastic, these retainers are custom-fitted to your teeth and are virtually invisible when worn. They offer several advantages:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Clear retainers are discreet and hardly noticeable, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer a more subtle appearance.
  • Comfort: They are generally comfortable to wear and less likely to irritate the cheeks and lips.
  • Removability: Like metal retainers, clear retainers are removable, allowing you to enjoy meals without restrictions.
  • Easy Maintenance: Cleaning clear retainers is straightforward; rinsing with lukewarm water and gentle brushing will suffice.

2. Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers, while incorporating a metal wire, are less conspicuous than traditional metal retainers. They have a plastic base that rests against the roof of your mouth and are secured by a metal wire in front of your teeth. Benefits of Hawley retainers include:

  • Adjustability: Hawley retainers are adjustable, allowing orthodontists to fine-tune them as your teeth settle into their new positions.
  • Durability: With proper care, Hawley retainers can last a long time.
  • Customization: The acrylic part of a Hawley retainer can be personalized with various colors and designs.

3. Fixed or Permanent Retainers

For those who want a retainer that requires minimal daily attention, fixed or permanent retainers are an option. These are thin wires bonded to the back of your teeth, typically the lower front teeth. They are non-removable and provide continuous support to keep your teeth aligned.

  • Low Maintenance: Since they are fixed in place, there's no need to remember to wear them each night.
  • Continuous Protection: They offer continuous protection against teeth shifting, even if you occasionally forget to wear removable retainers.
  • Less Visible: Being discreetly positioned behind your teeth, fixed retainers are hardly noticeable.

4. Removable Clear Aligners (e.g., Invisalign Vivera Retainers)

If you have undergone treatment with clear aligners like Invisalign, your orthodontist may recommend using a set of custom-made clear retainers post-treatment. These retainers are similar in appearance to Invisalign aligners but serve the purpose of maintaining your teeth's alignment.

  • Familiarity: If you're comfortable with the feel of clear aligners, these retainers will feel familiar.
  • Convenience: They are designed for easy removal and wear.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Like clear retainers, they are transparent and discreet.

Choosing the Right Alternative

The choice between metal and its alternatives depends on your personal preferences, orthodontic needs, and lifestyle. Consult with your orthodontist, who will evaluate your case and help you make an informed decision.


While metal retainers have been a reliable choice for maintaining orthodontic results, there are several alternatives available today that offer greater comfort, aesthetics, and convenience. Whether you opt for clear retainers, Hawley retainers, fixed retainers, or clear aligner-style retainers, the key is to follow your orthodontist's recommendations diligently. With proper care, any of these alternatives can help you preserve your beautiful, straight smile for years to come.

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE.


The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.