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Clear Retainers vs Wire Retainers

If you are finally ready to get rid of your braces and the many problems they brought along, you must know that the next step is dental retainers, which must be worn to keep your teeth in their new place. This is when most people start to weigh the advantages of clear retainers vs. wire retainers.

Clear Retainers vs Wire Retainers

Orthodontic treatment and dental retainers

Crooked teeth can sap your confidence and if you underwent orthodontic treatment to straighten them, you have probably dealt with years of unsightly braces and pain in your oral tissues. Just when you get excited about getting through with your orthodontic treatment and flashing your smile after removing those braces, your dentist prescribes retainers.

As the name suggests, dental retainers are used to retain the teeth in their new position after orthodontic treatment and you must be relieved to know that they are not half as uncomfortable as braces.

You can get an invisible retainer or the one that has a thin metal wire running across your teeth, based on your own preference and budget.

Although not as expensive as the braces, dental retainers can cost you hundreds of bucks over several dental appointments. However, you can now buy cheap retainers for teeth by ordering them online.

You can choose between (Clear Retainers vs Wire Retainers):

  • Hawley Retainers, also known as wire retainers—made of metal and acrylic
  • Invisible Retainers, also known as Clear retainers or Essix retainers—made of clear plastic
  • Permanent Bonded Retainers—a wire is permanently fixed by the dentist behind your teeth but this has several disadvantages the top being it is not removable unlike the other two devices and you have to visit the dentist every time you need help with it.

Besides, some people complain that their bonded retainer interferes with the tongue, and it also makes it difficult to floss.

Hygiene is also compromised because it cannot be removed and cleaned.

So if you are looking for more convenient, do-it-yourself retainers that can be ordered online, you have to select between clear retainers and Hawley retainers. Consider their advantages and potential problems below:

Clear Retainers vs Wire Retainers—Pros & cons

Retainers have to be worn for several months to maintain the teeth in their new places so it is advisable for any prospective client to clearly explore the options and carefully study their pros and cons:

1. Aesthetics

Clear retainers are invisible, which makes them an ideal option for people who are in the showbiz or those who are conscious about their smile and do not want any metal in their mouth after getting rid of braces.

Wire retainers have a stainless steel wire that runs across the anterior portion of your teeth, putting pressure on them that helps avoid their movement. Although, this wire is trifle in comparison with the metal braces that you wore for so long, but it does remain in plain sight.

2. Comfort

Clear retainers are more comfortable because they only cover your teeth and do not have any portion sitting on your other hard or soft oral tissues.

This allows complete space for your tongue and does not cause any speech problems.

Wire retainers have a thin acrylic plate (similar to dentures) that sits on your palate behind your anterior teeth.

Wearing a Hawley retainer causes some people to lisp, especially for the first couple of weeks when they are still trying to get used to it. This is because the acrylic plate covers the roof of your mouth and hampers natural speech. Not everyone faces this problem and even for those who do, lisping due to retainers gradually subsides.

3. Hygiene

Clear retainers are short and delicate and must be carefully cleaned (especially on the inner surfaces that contact your teeth) with toothpaste and running water after they day’s use. These have a tendency to stain over time, if you do not clean or care for them well.

Wire retainers are relatively easier to clean. You can simply rub the surface of the plate with your toothpaste and hold it under running water. Staining is not usually a big concern because the acrylic plate can be cleaned and the stainless steel wire never stains.

4. Maintenance

Clear retainers need more maintenance as these are made of a thin plastic-like material and may crack under pressure. You must not try to bend them yourself as they are custom made to tightly fit over your teeth and any deformation will render them useless.

Wire retainers these are sturdier and can be easily tweaked in case any little adjustment is required. These can last you the entire duration of the treatment if you keep them under good care.

5. Natural tooth contact

Clear retainers do not allow for your teeth to touch in a natural way and can cause a little discomfort because you are used to that.

Wire retainers do not interfere with your natural tooth contact and you will not feel any hindrance in your teeth from touching each other.

6. Cost

Clear retainers will be slightly heavier on your pocket as compared to the other option

Wire retainers are possibly the simplest, cheapest kind of retainers available today.

Whichever retainer feels right, you can save hundreds of dollars and even more worth of your time by ordering such simple teeth devices online.


Jul 13, 2020 • Posted by Ken

Hawley (wire) retainers are hands down better than Essix (Clear) retainers. The clear ones are not made of durable plastic and may need to be replaced every couple of years, and at $300 a pop that averages $150 a year just for a retainer. A Hawley retainer costs about the same, but lasts for years and years.

Nov 16, 2018 • Posted by Peter J.

Hello Katlyn,
Hawley retainer would be the best option after the braces to keep the teeth straight.

Nov 16, 2018 • Posted by Katlyn Lewis

What one will keep you’re teeth straight the best after braces?

Oct 16, 2018 • Posted by Eliza M.

Hi Kathi,
The price of $247.00, is that for a single ( upper or lower).
Currently there is 20% Off going on if you order. I ordered few days back and my retainers fit well. Same quality as dentist office. You can save around 40% off what your dentist would charge for same wire retainer.
You can order a Retainer with below link:

Oct 16, 2018 • Posted by Kathi Derrow

The price of $247.00, is that for upper or lower or both?

Jun 28, 2018 • Posted by Kayla

I am getting my braces off in a few weeks and I am trying to decide on what type of retainer to get. I like the wire retainer better (based on this article). What do you recommend?

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