Clear Retainers

Essix® Clear or 'Invisible' Retainers 

Finally! A Way You can Eliminate a trip to the Dentist and Save yourself Hundreds of Dollars by dealing Directly with the Dental Lab!

Dental lab Direct announces that 'Invisible' or CLEAR RETAINERS are now available OVER THE INTERNET for $169 (Upper & Lower) or $109 for a single, for individuals with concern over their teeth crowding. 

Clear Retainers

Clear or Essix Retainers

These are used solely to retain current tooth position. They're not designed to move teeth, only the Invisible Aligners are designed to move teeth...and people that either clench or grind their teeth (night or day) are advised to use the ADL Customized Night-guard in lieu (sold only in singles).

Research shows that without long-term use of a dental retainer, teeth show a natural tendency to shift or drift away from their straightened position. If you're just wearing them at night, You may want the Wire Retainer simply because it's built to last (Stainless Steel and Denture Acrylic)

NeonBrite™ Review – Taking the Pain and Cost out of Dental Appliances | Splash Magazines | Los Angeles

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CLEAR RETAINERS AND THE WIRE RETAINERS? NOTHING, they both achieve the same purpose: Retain tooth position. The metal wire or Hawley Retainer may get more miles, with the aesthetic or clear type, you may sacrifice longevity, but with good care can last for years.  



A type of retainer that has become very popular through the years is the Clear Retainer (or clear overlay retainer).

This is formally known as the Vacuum-formed (Vacuform) or Essix (brand name) Retainer. Typically, this is of PVC (polyvinylchloride) or polypropylene material.

The clear or transparent retainer is a removable device that is custom-made by the dentist or orthodontist by making a mould of your teeth, which fits over the entire arch of teeth, and does not use any metal brackets, clasps and wires.

The clear retainers’ action is opposite to that with the Invisalign tray in that it holds your teeth stable and in place to prevent shifting, rotation and migration.

With this type of retainer, the upper and lower teeth are not allowed to touch because they cover the teeth’s chewing surfaces.

However, it may not be recommended if you have Bruxism, as the grinding might wear or break down the plastic more easily.

Clear retainers may be preferred by more and more patients because they are more comfortable to wear, they have improved aesthetics, and require no adjustment.

They are also relatively less expensive, less noticeable and easier to wear/use than the traditional metal (Hawley) retainer.

Can Clear Retainers substitute for Whitening Trays? ANSWER: MAYBE Retainers may hold teeth so tight, that the gel squeezes onto your gums, the Whitening Trays are designed with "WELLS" that allow the gel to rest on your tooth. Using gel with retainers may give you a spotty whitening job...whitening trays provide a more even whitening of the enamel.

We do this by providing you the putty to create your own teeth impressions, then you send them to our lab for manufacturing...IT'S EASY!  These "Invisible" retainers are made of a thin, clear, durable plastic that snaps into place over the teeth and prevents teeth rotation & migration.  

When using this transparent dental retainer, teeth and gums show through the plastic, unlike the “Hawley” retainer (metal wire & denture plastic).  When one smiles others are not able to see the dental retainer; mouth retainers with the wire across the front teeth are used mostly to keep teeth from shifting, but can also be used to move teeth. Dental night guards are worn at night to protect the teeth. Considerable time and financial investment are at risk if you don't have a retainer AND wear it as your doctor suggests.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:27 AM

Wanted to send out an email letting you know how pleased I was with the retainers you did for my son. I was so skeptical about everything and I searched the web about you the location and it left me not sure, but I could not afford a retainer through the Dentist office and I didn't want my son's teeth to move.

I did want you to know the way you do the notification of when it get's mailed is great because it gave me a sense of security. I hope you continue to do this because I know so many other people are in the same boat I was needing something that the Dentist office wants to overcharge for and most people these day are on a tight budget because of the economy.

Angela R., Fairfax, VA


 Our invisible retainers do not move teeth; they simply keep teeth in their current position & eliminate further crowding.  By wearing these for just 30 minutes per day, it will prevent teeth from rotation or migration.  These clear retainers are made of the same materials that dentists use and manufactured by the same lab as well.

Teeth Impression Kit


We can also provide just a single retainer:



How to Clean Retainers-

One of the biggest challenges to wearing retainers (and even Invisalign-type aligner trays) is keeping the retainers and aligners clean. Bacteria build up on the retainers and aligners the same way that they build up on teeth. If you don't keep your aligners clean, very quickly you will notice that they smell bad and have an ugly layer of white gunky film. If you don't clean your retainers or aligners properly, the film will harden and become almost impossible to remove. This is true for all types of retainers (plastic and wire Hawley retainers, clear Essix retainers, aligner trays, snoring and bruxism devices, etc).

How can you keep your retainers clean and odor free? There are several ways.

Always rinse your retainers in warm water after taking them out of your mouth. Before putting your retainer into a retainer case, give it a quick rinse. This will wash away some of the surface bacteria. Do not use an anti-bacterial hand wipe on your retainer. The chemicals in antibacterial hand wipes may be toxic if they are put into your mouth!

The easiest method for cleaning retainers is the good old-fashioned toothbrush. If you have a plastic and wire Hawley retainer, you can brush it with toothpaste on a soft toothbrush. However, this method is not recommended for Invisalign-type clear aligner trays or clear Essix retainers (which look like aligner trays). The toothpaste can scratch the clear plastic and over time, your retainers will not be "invisible" anymore. Use listerine instead.

Some people recommend soaking retainers in a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide diluted with water, or even an alcohol-based mouthwash. This helps to kill germs, but doesn't address the white gunky build-up. In addition, these harsh chemicals can damage the surface of the plastic over time, turning it yellow.
Some people use denture cleaning tablets to clean their retainers or aligners. This will seem to work at first, but over time the harsh chemicals in the denture tablets will turn your retainer yellow. This is because the denture tablets are strongly formulated to clean false teeth, not retainers.

Keeping Your Retainers Safe

"I lost my retainer!" These are dreadful words that you will hopefully never say. It can take 2 to 3 weeks to make a new retainer, and most orthodontists charge anywhere from $400 to $600 or more to make a new set of retainers. This is because most retainers are made by outside labs like ours, so the orthodontist must send the mold of your mouth to the lab to have a new set of custom retainers fabricated. Obviously you want to keep your retainers safe and accounted for at all times. The best way to do this is with a good retainer case.

The most common way that retainers are lost is by wrapping them in napkins. You can't see the retainer inside the napkin, you forget about it, and soon the napkin gets tossed in the garbage. Unless you want to spend hours digging through the trash, it's better to put your retainer into a proper case - never use a napkin.

Traditional or "Hawley" Type Retainer (UPPER displayed)

Hawley Retainer

When you've completed the moving part of your treatment, you're ready for the holding part! The next few months will be a critical part of your treatment! Your Invisible OR 'Hawley' Retainer is designed to hold your teeth in their corrected position until the bone surrounding the roots of the moved teeth "fill in" and make them "solid." If we do not retain (or hold) following orthodontic tooth movement, the teeth will move back to their old positions and all that time wearing braces would be wasted. 


If your retainer is going to do the job, here are the things you must do: 

Wear your retainer as instructed! 

Lifetime: As an insurance policy it is recommended to wear your retainer at night indefinitely (or more importantly as your doctor instructs). Simply use your retainer as a template and try it in. If it feels tight, wear it for the night. 

Remove your retainer from the back hook - not from the front. 

Take care of your retainers: Clean with soap, water and Q-Tips. Efferdent® works fine, too. Don't brush the appliance with toothpaste; it dulls the brilliance. Keep them away from pets - they love to chew on them. Don't use hot water or place near hot surfaces; this can distort the shape of your retainer. You may remove your retainer while swimming in a lake or ocean. 

No flipping: Avoid flipping the retainer with your tongue or chewing on your retainer. This can cause damage to your teeth and retainer. 

NEVER wrap the retainer in a napkin or tissue, as they may be thrown away. Always store the retainer in its case (not your pocket). 

Speech: You may notice a difference in your speech at first. However, in 2 or 3 days, your speech will become normal. The plastic taste of the new appliance will soon disappear. 
Return to your family dentist for an examination and cleaning. Keep your appointments: You will have fewer office visits but checking your retainer is still very important. Always remember to bring your retainer to every appointment. 

If you lose or break a retainer, please call us immediately. The teeth will move if the retainers are not worn as instructed. We will keep your models on file for some time.


Essix or Clear Retainer

Retainers After Braces

Purpose: The dental retainers are important to hold the teeth after braces are removed. New bone and supporting fibers of the teeth are being completed for the new tooth positions.

Time of Use: Mouth retainers are usually worn until eruption of the permanent teeth makes wearing a mouth retainer difficult. You will start with full time wear and phase slowly into night time wear as a dental night guard. Experiencing tightness when placing the retainers after leaving them out for a period of time is an indication of how often you need to wear the retainers.

Care: To keep your dental retainers fresh and clean, scrub them before putting them in their case. Use warm or cool water and soap. Hot water will warp the retainers. Limit the soaking time to 15 minutes if you choose to use Efferdent. We have found that over time Efferdent weakens the solder joints. Brushing with Listerine will decrease bacteria and give your retainer a fresh taste.

Adapting: Most people get used to mouth retainers within a day or two. At first there may be a new plastic taste and you may have extra saliva in your mouth. Reading aloud the first day will help your speech adapt. The habit of flipping a dental retainer in and out with your tongue will loosen the dental retainer and may break the wires and/or plastic.

Visits: Upon completion of early phase orthodontic treatment, you will be checked periodically with visits to the dentist. Bring the dental retainer to your visits. If the dental retainer does not fit or if there is any tissue soreness, call us for an appointment as soon as possible.

Breakage/Loss: The common habit of flipping the retainers in and out with your tongue will make it become loose and can introduce stresses in the plastic or wires which will result in breakage. 

Relapse: Failure to use dental retainers regularly may result in unfavorable tooth movement. If brought to your dentist's attention early it may be corrected with another retainer. If not caught early, retreatment with braces may be necessary.


Dental Braces Care Post-Treatment

After the braces have been removed, a retainer is used to keep the teeth in their new position. Some patients may need orthodontic surgery, such as a fiberotomy, to prepare their teeth for retainer use. A fiberotomy is designed to remove the gingival fibers around a tooth. This procedure usually reduces the tendency for relapse of the tooth.

Retainers are usually worn by patients once treatment with the braces is complete. Retainers maintain the teeth while the surrounding bone reforms around them. Retainers are generally worn full-time for a short period, perhaps 6 months to a year, and then worn periodically, typically nightly during sleep, for as long as the orthodontist recommends. If a patient does not wear the retainer as recommended, the teeth might move back to their original position.

While it is possible for the teeth to stay aligned without regular retainer wear, there are many reasons teeth will crowd as a person ages. For this reason, many orthodontists recommend periodic retainer wear for many years, or indefinitely, after orthodontic treatment. The three most popular retainers used in dental braces care are the Hawley retainer, the Essix retainer and a Fixed retainer.

Hawley Retainer - a Hawley retainer is made of metal hooks that surround the teeth and keeps them in place. It is anchored in a specially molded, sometimes brightly colored acrylic plate shaped to fit the patient's palate, or floor of the mouth. Top and bottom retainers are usually made as necessary.

Essix Retainer - an Essix retainer is similar in appearance to Invisalign trays. It is a clear plastic tray form-fitted over the entire arch of teeth and can be produced from a mold and stays in place by suction. Essix retainers, if worn 24 hours per day, do not allow the upper and lower teeth to touch because plastic covers the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Some orthodontists feel that it is important for the top and bottom chewing surfaces to meet to allow a "favorable settling" to occur. Essix retainers are less expensive, more aesthetic and easier to wear than Hawley retainers.

Most removable retainers come with a retainer case to protect them. During the first few days of retainer use, many people will have extra saliva in their mouth. This is natural and is due to the presence of a new object inside the mouth and consequent stimulation of the saliva glands. It may be difficult to speak for a while after getting a retainer, but this speech difficulty should go away over time as one gets used to wearing it.

An entirely different category of orthodontic retainers, by definition not removable, are bonded or Fixed Retainers.

A Fixed retainer consists of a wire permanently bonded to the tongue-side of the lower incisor teeth, although other teeth are occasionally treated in similar fashion. Some doctors prescribe fixed retainers regularly, especially when a significant change has occurred in the bite and there is a high risk for reversal.

When you receive your kit, take out a set of the YELLOW & BLUE impression material (putty).


Mix the two pieces of putty together for 45-65 seconds just to get one solid BLUE color (warmer areas may set faster)


When your putty is one solid color, roll it & shape it like a finger.  Pick up your tray.


Put the finger shaped putty into the tray, making sure to cover all parts of the tray.


Take the tray and place it over the center of your upper or lower teeth (REMEMBER: this putty will begin to harden in under TWO (2) minutes). Push the tray over your teeth. Hold for five minutes, then remove.


 Send your impressions back to our dental lab using the pre-paid envelope that came with your kit. We make your custom mouthpiece(s) & mail it back to you, EASY!

Today, with the advent of our Personal Impression Kit, it’s possible to take your own teeth impression usually taking less than five minutes for both the upper and lower teeth. Just drop the kit along with your impressions in the mail to our lab…the same lab dentists & orthodontists use, yet costing 60-90% less by “skipping the trip ”…eliminating the need for a D.D.S. to fit a pair of Professional Customized Tooth Whitening Trays, Invisible Retainers, Night Guards, or even Invisible Braces! All you have to provide us is your teeth impression...



Dental Mouthpiece