Monday, October 13, 2014

Comparison: Clear vs. Metal Retainers

Also known as "invisalign retainer", which it's not the same company, or the official name is Essix.
For this one, people usually call it the"metal wire retainer" or the official name is Hawley.

Story
I have both kinds of retainers. My top retainer is Essix, and my bottom one is Hawley. I don't know why my orthodontist did that. My Hawley retainer is blue on the inside. :)
Here's mine, they're CLEAN, relax!

Hawley Retainers

  • Pro: You get to choose the color of the inside (most likely, nobody will see it when it's in your mouth). They have sparkly colors, rainbow, normal colors, and a boring pink that's suppposed to match your gums.
  • Pro: They don't smell as much (ewwww sorrry), because they don't catch as much plaque or whatever.
  • Pro: They're easier to clean. You can just brush it with your toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Pro: They're sturdier and harder to break.
  • Pro: They don't cover your teeth entirely, so if there's anything in your teeth, you have a chance of picking it out.
  • Con: There's more plastic on the roof/bottom of your mouth, which is
    • uncomfortable, annoying, and itchy
    • and can give you a lisp until (if ever) you get used to it and learn how to talk right.
  • Con: The plastic is REALLY THICK. If you have a small mouth like me, it takes up a lot of room!
  • Con: You can lift it up and even take it out with your tongue, and if you're constantly lifting it up, it's never on your teeth, therefore it's not helping and you might as well not wear it anyway. My orthodontist specifically said not to take it out with my tongue, so oops.
  • Con: There's a visible metal line across all your teeth.
  • Con: There's some room for relapse (tooth movement, such as overlapping or becoming crooked) because it doesn't keep each individual tooth in place.
Essix Retainers
  • Pro: There's no plastic on the roof/bottom of your mouth, so it's
    • more comfortable
    • less itchy
  • Pro: It's clear, so nobody can tell you're wearing it (unless they're up REALLY close or they have one too and know what it looks like. For example, I can tell if I really look at someone if they're wearing a clear retainer/Invisalign or not). After getting your braces off, you will want to look metal-free.
  • Pro: It keeps each individual tooth EXACTLY the way they were when your braces came off because the plastic is molded to fit each tooth perfectly. Which makes me feel more secure.
  • Pro: The plastic is pretty thick, so it's not AS easy to break as it could be.
  • Pro: I can't take it out with your tongue, so I'm not tempted to.
  • Con: It's not as sturdy, and someone I know put it in her pocket and it snapped in half.
  • Con: The plastic is pretty thick, so it takes up a decent amount of space in your mouth.
  • Con: They smell more, because it catches more plaque/whatever because the plastic is more porous (I read that online).
  • Con: It's harder to clean. There's so many "don'ts" about how to clean a clean retainer. They say "don't brush it with your toothbrush and toothpaste, don't soak it in mouthwash, don't wash it with hot water", so how ARE you supposed to clean it?! They say to clean it with denture cleaner or DIP it in mouthwash. Like COME ON, there's actual GROSS PLAQUE on it and you think dipping it in mouthwash is going to magically make it come off? Yeah no. I brush it with my toothbrush anyway.
    • They say not to brush it with your toothbrush because it makes little scratches in it and over time, supposedly that will make it turn cloudy clear. I just use a softer-bristled toothbrush.

So which do I like better?  The clear retainer! It's far more comfortable and less itchy and I'm not tempted to take it out all the time with my tongue because I can't. I'm actually trying to get the clear one for the bottom if I can.

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