Essix Retainer Guide: Pros and Cons, Cost & Cleaning Tips

Creative Commons

Essix is another one of those clear plastic retainers that you wear after getting braces off. So what makes this one different? Why should you choose this one over others?

What Is An Essix Retainer?

Essix retainers are a type of clear aligner that are meant to align your top and bottom teeth. Your teeth and actually move into new positions over time, so many people opt to get something like an Essix retainer to keep their smile the way they want it.

Typically, people use the Essix retainer after orthodontic treatment, both to keep their teeth straight and to slightly re-align their teeth.

These custom-made clear aligners fit over your teeth by snapping into place or sometimes sliding into place (unlike a bonded retainer).

An Essix retainer is a clear plastic device that fits snugly over your teeth in order to keep them aligned and straight.

Pros & Cons Of Essix Retainer

Even the best products have disadvantages, and Essix is not an exception. Let’s take a look at both the good and the could-be-improved things about Essix.

Pros

  • They’re removable, making it easy to eat, drink, and clean
  • Super easy to clean
  • Clear and virtually unnoticeable, which means you can have a beautiful smile without being so self-conscious

Cons

  • Can make it more difficult to speak at first
  • Plastic and get warped under high heat or crack
Although Essix has some disadvantages, it has even more benefits, like their invisibility and removability.

Essix Retainer Cost

Each Essix retainer can cost anywhere between $50 and $200 per set. That might sound like a lot, but each retainer can last between 3 and 5 years.

However, if you don’t take good care of your retainer or if you grind your teeth, it can start to build up bacteria and saliva and become unusable. And then you’d have to spend another chunk of money on a new retainer.

That’s why it’s super important to clean your retainers immediately after you remove them from your mouth.

Essix retainers can cost between $50 and $200 per set and will typically last 3-5 years.

How To Clean Essix Retainers?

So how should you clean and take care of your Essix retainer(s)? The success of your retainer hinges on knowing the answer to this question.

First, let’s cover how to keep your retainer clean.

You’ll need to follow the cleaning instructions your orthodontist gives you. It usually involves brushing the retainer immediately after you remove it from your mouth and right before you put them back in. You may also want to soak them in a gentle denture cleaner.

Whenever you’re not wearing the retainer, it needs to go directly into its protective case. This lowers the risk of the plastic cracking or getting warped under high heat.

Also, it’s not a good idea to simply toss the retainer into your pocket, purse, or a napkin — it could easily be ruined or thrown away. If you have pets or children, keep your retainers away from them at all times.

Your orthodontist may tell you to avoid drinking anything except for water while wearing the retainer. Liquids can sneak into the retainer and sit between it and your teeth. If this happens, the liquid — whether it’s soda, coffee, or some sugary or acidic drink — could begin to stain and rot your teeth.

If you do run into any issues with your retainer, contact your orthodontist right away.

Cleaning an Essix retainer usually involves gently brushing right after removing it or right before putting it back into your mouth. Your orthodontist will give you detailed instructions.

Hawley Retainer vs Essix

Hawley retainers are probably closer to your picture of a typical retainer. It’s a device made of wire and an acrylic mold that snaps into place on the upper or lower jaw.

So right of the bat, they’re different than the clear plastic Essix retainers. Hawley retainers are clearly visible, which many people find unsightly. The benefit of Essix is that people won’t notice them unless they’re up close to you. With Hawley retainers, there’s a piece of wire going horizontally across your teeth.

Cost-wise Hawley is about the same as Essix, except they have the potential to be a bit pricier — they’re usually between $150 and $300. Not to mention, Hawley retainers are usually bulkier and most intrusive then clear retainers.

So when comparing to Hawley retainers, Essix seems like the better option for most people.

Hawley retainers are more noticeable, bulkier, and sometimes more expensive than Essix retainers.

Bottom Line

  • An Essix retainer is a clear plastic device that fits snugly over your teeth in order to keep them aligned and straight.
  • Although Essix has some disadvantages, it has even more benefits, like their invisibility and removability.
  • Essix retainers can cost between $50 and $200 per set and will typically last 3-5 years.
  • Cleaning an Essix retainer usually involves gently brushing right after removing it or right before putting it back into your mouth. Your orthodontist will give you detailed instructions.
  • Hawley retainers are more noticeable, bulkier, and sometimes more expensive than Essix retainers.

Leave a Comment