You will wear your retainers full time for the first year after your braces are removed, then at nighttime after that. Long-term retainer wear is essential to keeping your teeth straight.
The Hawley retainer is the most common type of removable retainer used. The acrylic covers the roof of the mouth and a wire is visible wrapping around the front teeth. It is the most durable type of retainer and will last the longest.
The Essix retainer is made of a clear plastic that is essentially invisible. It is not as durable as the Hawley retainer, and will need to be replaced more often, but it is less expensive to replace. Its biggest advantage is that it is removable and esthetic.
The bonded retainer is permanently glued to the back of the teeth. This retainer is less bulky and requires no effort to remember to wear it. We most often recommend placing permanent retainers on the upper and lower teeth. However, sometimes it is not possible to place a permanent retainer on the upper teeth due to inadequate clearance with the lower teeth when biting down. Since the front teeth are the most prone to relapse, this type of retainer is the most effective way to keep the teeth in line. One disadvantage is that bonded retainers require more effort to clean and floss around them. On occasion they will come loose and require rebonding, but in most cases will last for years without needing to be replaced.