The three main types of retainers are the Hawley, the clear plastic and the fixed retainer, according to Dr. Boese. Retainers ensure teeth stay in position after orthodontic treatment, giving the periodontal ligaments time to adjust.
The Hawley retainer is the most common type, states Dr. Boese. It consists of a thin piece of acrylic shaped to fit the upper mouth with a wire that goes in front of the teeth to hold them in place. The clear plastic retainer is custom-made from transparent plastic for an exact fit that keeps teeth in place without the use of a wire. The fixed retainer is a wire that is bonded to the inside surface of the teeth. It isn’t visible from the front, and it is the only one of the three retainer types that is not removable.