Finding the best way to help straighten your smile is hard. Nowadays, there are so many different types of ways to go about this. While in the past, there was only one way to get retainers (and only one kind), now there are many options in different forms to help you get that straight smile you’ve been looking for.
Retainers now come in many different types and forms, such as permanent retainers, bonded retainers, clear plastic retainers, wire retainers, fixed retainers, removable retainers, and Essix retainers, but the two most common are metal and clear. In this article, we’re going to break down just what “metal” and “clear” retainers are, as well as which retainers are better for individual patients.
First, let’s break down just what metal retainers are. For the most part, when someone talks about metal retainers, they’re actually talking about traditional retainers. When most people think of retainers, they see a picture of these type of conventional retainers in their head. These kinds of retainers are the most common type around, as many people have this type.
These retainers are very common, mainly because they work so well. While it might not be ideal to have these retainers —as they are very noticeable—they really do get the job done the best. Retainers are great at both straightening your teeth, as well as fixing any type of alignment problem that your teeth or mouth might be facing. They really do have it all.
Metal, or traditional retainers, are best for everyone. These retainers are the most basic but they get the job done better than anyone else. If you have some jaw issues or are prone to have teeth problem, traditional metal retainers are your best bet. While they aren’t the best option for those who don’t want their retainers to be as noticeable, there really aren’t any flaws to these types of retainers. With new technology and advancements in the design, they are also quite comfortable and provide an overall solid experience that will result in a straight, confident smile.
When people talk about clear retainers, they could be talking about two different types: ceramic or Invisalign. While ceramic retainers are very, very similar to metal (traditional) retainers, Invisalign differs significantly. To make things clear, we’ve broken up these two topics so you can see which ones might be best for you and your hope to have straight teeth.
As we mentioned above, ceramic braces are incredibly similar to traditional metal retainers. Basically, ceramic retainers have the same setup and technique as traditional retainers, except they’re not made from metal. They’re a transparent, clear ceramic, which makes them a lot less noticeable than the type. Some ceramic retainers even color-match the exact shade of your tooth; while not clear, it should blend entirely with your teeth so that it is still less noticeable than metal ones.
Ceramic retainers, while quite similar to metal retainers, are a better option if you have a sensitive mouth. Sometimes, metal retainers can be a bit harsh to those that are quite sensitive, so a ceramic option might be better suited for you.
However, that doesn’t mean that ceramic retainers don’t have their own faults. While they might be less noticeable than metal retainers (which was really metal braces’ only fault), they do have the disadvantage of easily chipping or cracking if not taken care of. They also have been known to discolor and sometimes even look to be stained from use overtimes, which is not ideal. No one wants to walk around with stained ceramic retainers!
Ceramic retainers offer that significant long-term straight smile you’re looking for, though, much like metal retainers. They provide stability and are best for those who are looking for a steady and stable way to get a straight smile with retainers that are less noticeable and more easily transparent than the average metal retainers.
Another type of retainers that may be mentioned when discussing “clear” retainers is Invisalign. Differing from metal and ceramic retainers, Invisalign is a clear, transparent aligner that looks like a mouthguard, which you can remove easily. You cannot remove both metal and ceramic retainerseasily and can only be tightened or replaced by your orthodontist.
By using Invisalign, you are using a series of different aligners throughout your quest for a straighter smile, with each new aligner helping move your teeth in the directions that they need to be. Because these aligners are removable, it makes it much easier to eat, talk, and brush your teeth. Plus, because they look like a mouthguard, it is hard to see—the complete opposite of metal retainers.
One of the most significant advantages of Invisalign is their transparency. However, in some instances, these retainers can also help straighten teeth quicker. Obviously, the ability to remove these retainers whenever you need to is a huge advantage.
Invisalign does have its disadvantages, as well. For one, these retainers tend to be much more expensive than the average metal, or even ceramic, retainers. Also, Invisalign isn’t recommended for all types of patients, and only a particular type of patient can benefit from using this process. If you have teeth that are more crooked than average or crowded together, this process may not be recommended for you to work.
Therefore, these retainers are best for those who are looking for a transparent way to straighten their teeth, regardless of cost, beneficially, and efficiently. If you’re looking for a way to straighten your teeth in a way that isn’t as noticeable as metal braces, Invisalign is a great option.
As you can see, both traditional metal retainers and clear retainers (whether that’s ceramic or Invisalign) have some fantastic advantages. While it’s always great to know more about the different types of retainers and understand which one you would ideally like to have, you should still talk to your orthodontist or dentist and listen to their recommendation. They’re always going to pick the best type of retainers for you to make sure that you get that straight smile you so desire as soon as possible!