What Is The Essix Retainer?

Dr. Sims Dentistry offers some of the newest and most modern technologies available in dentistry today. One of them is the Essix retainers. An Essix retainer is a clear, almost invisible style of retainer that is similar in appearance to Invisalign. The Essix retainer is a name most modern dental offices are familiar with, but it’s really a brand of vacuum-formed retainers. Essix retainers are one brand of plastic retainers. When your braces are off and your teeth look straight and beautiful, but how do you make sure they stay that way? Retainers are an important part of orthodontic treatment. No matter what type of braces you had, you will need to wear a retainer. The retention phase of orthodontic treatment lasts a lifetime. The only way to prevent teeth from shifting and becoming crooked again is to wear the retainer your orthodontist has prescribed. Vacuum-formed, or Essix retainers, are both removable and less visible than Hawley retainers. Like the other types of retainers, they offer both advantages and disadvantages.

    • Vacuum-formed retainers are totally clear. They cover all sides of the teeth including the cheek side, tongue side and chewing surface. There are no wires, and the appliances can be removed, so they don’t interfere with eating or oral hygiene.
    • Some patients find the clear appearance more appealing, although another advantage of the Essix retainer is that it may also only need to be worn full time for a short period of time. These retainers are also less expensive than the other types of retainers.
    • The fact that Essix retainers are removable means their effectiveness is reliant on patient compliance. In order for the appliance to do its job, patients have to be willing to wear them as prescribed by their orthodontist.

Caring For Your Retainer

Some patients complain the plastic appliances are difficult to keep clean. Special cleaning tablets are available from the DENTSPLY Company that makes the Essix retainer, but many dentists recommend simply brushing the appliance daily with a toothbrush and soap. Using toothpaste on your retainer is not advised, since the abrasives in the toothpaste can damage the appliance.

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