Retainers – Which Should I Choose?

There are a number of retainers for after Invisalign on the market. But which should you choose? Making the right choice can be a bit of a minefield, due to the number of options that are now available. 

For those of you wondering what a retainer is, it’s an aligner which helps keep teeth from drifting out of place after Invisalign or a similar teeth straightening treatment. 

Let’s start with some of the options, and the differences between them.

Vivera – this is Invisalign’s brand of retainer, for after treatment. It is made of thermoplastic, and is a clear 3D removable retainer. This is a popular retainer due to its strength, and 3D retention that it provides.


Essix – this is similar to the Vivera retainer, albeit a slightly weaker option. Typically these last anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years. 


Direct retainer 

– this is a wire brace, fitted to the backs of your teeth to hold them in place. This is a popular option, due to the

minimisation of user error that we sometimes see with removable retainers. 


Optimally, you would have both a direct retainer and a removable retainer. This means that you have the stability a direct retainer provides if you are someone who forgets to put their retainer in, and then the 3D retention that the removable retainer provides.


However, if you can only 

choose one then we would always recommend the removable retainers. Here’s why:


  • Direct retainers are NOT capable of 3D retention, they allow some movement at the axis of your teeth which means there is potential for your teeth to re-rotate.
  • It can be quite hard to tell with a direct retainer whether it has de-bonded. This means a part of it has come off a tooth, which means you have a tooth/teeth which are no longer secured in position.
  • Direct retainers on the lower teeth make it very hard to clean properly, meaning more money spent on the tools for cleaning. The wire prevents you from being able to use tape floss, TePe’s are essential as it becomes a food trap. Not cleaning the area correctly will mean your wire will break more often, along with a one track road to decay.


To summarize, the best option for you is likely to be a 3D removable retainer. The only time we would suggest otherwise, is if we know a patient  will not wear their retainer. 

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