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Removable Retainer vs Permanent Retainer

Getting your braces off is unfortunately not the end. Now you have to decide what retainer is going to be best for you. This can be somewhat confusing because you are faced with choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent, removable, or a combination of the two? Obviously knowing more about the different types of retainer beforehand can be helpful in deciding as well as the opinion of your orthodontist.

Removable Retainers

clear aligner

Removable retainers, such as the essix or hawley, offer the greatest advantage of user friendliness. They are generally put in at night and taken out in the morning. With a removable retainer you can take it out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which presents more of a challenge with a permanent retainer. The removable retainer will also allow you to enjoy some retainer free time. However, one thing to keep in mind is that a removable retainer can easily be forgotten at times, which means you won’t be taking full advantage of teeth retention. Although removable retainers can be very effective, if not used as directed don’t tend to be as effective as permanent retainers.

Permanent Retainers


Not to sound like a late night infomercial, but permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to get it and forget it. Once your orthodontist places the permanent retainer in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about anything else regarding your retainer. Due to the fact that teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainer typically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening than a removable one. Unlike a removable retainer, you can’t forget to put it in because it’s already there! Now every pro has its con, flossing with a permanent retainer can be a little more difficult, however, your orthodontist can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.

Depending on your teeth, some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two retainers. This is different from case to case. A removable retainer may benefit more for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower ones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more. Essentially, the most important thing to remember about the retainer is that to reap the full benefit you must wear your retainer as directed.
For more information from Dr. B about Retainers.


Kim Bui born and raised in Kansas City, graduated from high school at St. Teresa’s Academy and college at Rockhurst University. Now Kim is pursuing her masters in Business. With her charisma, Kim welcomes every patient with a smile and willingness to make their experience something to rave about.

Kansas City's Award-Winning Orthodontist...
“The service at Burleson Orthodontics is amazing! I love it there and recommend them to everyone.“Lori Stuteville5 star
“We had several friends recommend them to us and we are extremely glad that they did. They do a great job!“Jennifer Bedard5 star
“We’ve had a great experience with Dr. Burleson and his staff! Both my kids’ teeth look great!“Julie Bonacorso5 star
“I could not be more pleased with the staff and the care and attention I have been given.“Pat Clyma5 star
“Thanks Dr. B for giving me a great smile in time for my wedding.”Christy5 star
“Now I am proud of my smile, which I wear all the time.“Dr. Emily D.5 star
Thank you for everything. I know it’s me when I look in the mirror, but I never thought I would look this good!Juan M.5 star
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*The reviews listed are from actual patients of Burleson Orthodontics. Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.
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