What Are the Pros and Cons of Essix Retainers?

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You’ve just gone through the long and often grueling process of using braces to straighten your teeth. You’ve cleaned food from your braces, endured fears of being called metal-mouth, and made it to the other side. You now have the perfect and precise smile you’ve always wanted. 

The last thing you want to do is lose it! 

The most essential tool you’ll have in your oral health after braces is a good retainer. A retainer helps to keep your teeth in place and prevents movement in the years after braces. You’ll likely wear a retainer bed every night following braces if you want to keep your smile looking sharp. 

Not all retainers are created equal, however. There are multiple varieties you’ll need to choose from. Essix retainers are among the most popular variety, but how do they hold up against other options? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know. 

The Two Main Types of Retainers 

If you want to keep a perfect smile, you’ll need a good retainer. There’s no question about that. But what kind of retainer should you get? There are two major options you need to consider, with the Essix retainer being one of the two. 

The other option is known as a Hawley retainer. These retainers are a bit older in design, with the original Hawley retainer dating all the way back to 1908. This model relies on wires attached to the teeth to hold them into place. Despite the old age of this design, it is still quite efficient in holding teeth in the proper place. 

It was the only retainer design for much of the 20th century. If you’ve seen a retainer in a movie, you’ve probably seen a Hawley model.  

The Essix design, on the other hand, is a bit more modern. It forgoes the use of metal wires for a plastic mold that fits the exact shape of an individual’s teeth. This type of retainers resembles Invisalign and other such products. It’s see-through and can be hard to notice unless you’re looking very close to a person’s mouth. 

Advantages of Essix Retainers 

If you’re deciding between these two types of retainers, it’s essential that you understand the Essix retainer differences. There are many advantages to this new type of retainer over that of a traditional Hawley model. 

For one, Essix retainers are commonly considered more comfortable to wear than Hawley retainers. Hawley retainers require the base of the retainer to be pushed up against the palate of the mouth. This creates an uncomfortable feeling for many wearers and prevents the easy use of speech. 

Essix retainers, on the other hand, are much easier to wear and use. Since they fit perfectly to your teeth, there’s less chance of discomfort. And they interact with no other part of your mouth, so there’s less chance of them limiting your speech. 

That’s not the only advantage that Essix retainers can offer. They also present a less visible version of a retainer. This can be ideal for individuals who hope to discreetly wear their retainers in public. When you first get your braces off, your orthodontist might recommend that you wear your retainer for much of the day. 

Clear and easy Essix retainers allow you to do this without fear of being noticed. 

Essix retainers are also more affordable than most Hawley models. That means not only do you get increased comfort, but you get to keep a little more money in your pocket as well. It’s totally easy to see why these new Essix retainers are growing quickly in popularity among customers. 

Disadvantages of Essix Retainers

While Essix retainers offer a wide variety of benefits, there are a few disadvantages that potential buyers should be aware of. For example, Essix retainers are generally considered less durable than those of the Hawley variety. 

They have a much higher risk of being chipped, snapped, or ground through. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, they can create quite an uncomfortable sensation. In addition to this, some customers just flat out don’t prefer the fit and feel of Essix retainers. While most prefer their comfort to that of Hawley, some customers don’t like the bulky feeling that they might create. 

Essix retainers are also less adaptable than Hawley models. Let’s say, for example, that you were a little lax in your retainer use. You forgot to use it for a month, and now your teeth are in a different position. 

It’s easy for a Hawley retainer to adapt to this problem. An orthodontist can simply adjust the metal wiring to fit the new position of the teeth. Unfortunately, a fix for an Essix retainer is not quite as simple. Because the retainer is modeled directly on the teeth, any change in the position could render the retainer unusable. 

If a person’s teeth really did move significantly, that individual would need to order a brand new Essix retainer in order to continue treatment. As long as an individual ensures that they wear their retainer frequently, this shouldn’t be a problem they fall into. But no one is perfect, and it’s something potential customers will have to consider. 

The Pros and Cons of Essix Retainers 

If you’ve just gotten your braces off, you’re likely looking forward to only having to wear your retainer at night. But what retainer do you get? Essix retainers offer a number of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important you understand both before purchasing. 

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