Removable Retainers

Removable retainers

Removable retainers are generally designed to be worn after Invisalign treatment for up to 16 hours per day for the first 6 months after treatment and at night time thereafter. Our team will review your retention phase every 4 months after your treatment has been completed and then twice a year there after. Retention is a lifetime responsibility and relapse (your teeth will move again!) will occur if you fail to wear your retainer.

Sometimes, we use a combination of fixed retention (wires) when your teeth have been heavily crowded or twisted (rotated) with removable retainers.  Each case needs different retention protocols.

Vacuum-formed (Essix) retainer

The most common retainer is the vacuum formed retainer (VFR). This is a polypropylene or polyvinylchloride (PVC) material, typically .020" or .030" thick. Essix is the brand name that we use in our practice. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of your teeth and is produced from a mould (impression). It is similar in appearance to Invisalign trays. VFRs are less expensive, less conspicuous, and easier to wear than fixed retainers. However, for patients with disorders such as Bruxism, VFRs are prone to rapid breakage and deterioration, especially if the material is PVC, a short chain molecule. This breaks down swiftly as compared to polypropylene, a long chain molecule. Essix retainers need to be examined regularly by our team.

Vivera retainers

Vivera is a clear thermoplastic retainer designed to be used after completing Invisalign orthodontic and aesthetic treatment. Because it can be made from your original impression, it is very easy to manufacture. Vivera retainers are manufactured using the advanced fabrication technology behind Invisalign system aligners, resulting in a precise, smooth, and comfortable fit. Lab tests show that many leading clear thermoplastic materials from which retainers are made begin to deform in as little as two months of simulated wear. This is why Align Technology introduced Vivera retainers which last far longer than regular plastic retainers. We prefer our patients to wear Vivera to Essix retainers where possible. The life of Vivera retainers is about 6 months before needing to be replaced.

Removable Metal Retainers

The newest generation of removable retainers is the AAA cast metal removable retainer ( made exclusively by Southern Cross Dental Laboratories, Sydney, Australia )which looks set to become the “gold” standard in this category. Especially designed when your arches and smile have been expanded, this retainer (if worn consistently) will minimise relapse due to it’s rigid nature. The appliance can be made from chrome-cobalt  or titanium and will last indefinitely.

Most removable retainers are supplied with a retainer case for protection. During the first few days of retainer use, many people experience extra saliva in their mouth. This is natural and is due to the presence of a new object inside the mouth and consequent stimulation of the salivary glands. It may be difficult to speak for a while after getting a retainer, but this speech difficulty should go away over time as one gets used to wearing it.