Essix Retainers are removable orthodontic retainers that are made out of transparent plastic. They cover all surfaces of the teeth, including the occlusal (biting) surfaces. Because they are transparent, they are less noticeable than Hawley Retainers, and are virtually invisible on the teeth. They are vacuum-formed in either a dental lab, or right in your orthodontist’s office.
If worn 24 hours per day, Essix Retainers do not allow the upper and lower teeth to touch because the plastic covers the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Some orthodontists feel that it is important for the chewing surfaces to meet; therefore, not all orthodontists will prescribe an Essix retainer after your braces come off.
You need to properly clean your retainer every day, or it will begin to smell and look dirty. To clean Essix Retainers, it is important not to use a toothbrush or toothpaste, because they can put microscopic scratches into the plastic, turning it cloudy and making it easier for bacteria to attach to it. You also should not use denture cleaner, because over time, it will turn your Essix Retainers yellow. Instead, you should use a retainer-cleaning product which was specifically developed for this purpose. Some examples of the proper products are: RetainerBrite, Dentibrite, Steraligner, Cleanse Freshen Go Wipes, and OAP Foaming Cleaner. You can find these products at DentaKit.com.
With proper care and storage, your Essix Retainer should last 2 to 3 years or longer.