Invisalign Vivera vs. Essix Retainers: Which One Is Best?

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Our patients love treatment with Invisalign clear aligners because they’re nearly invisible. But what happens when it’s time for the Invisalign to come off and the retainers to go on? Most people think of retainers as those acrylic and wire contraptions. Some of today’s retainers are more advanced and have the same look and feel as Invisalign clear aligners! The Essix retainer is made in the style of clear aligners, but Invisalign has its own clear retainer — Vivera. 

Which one is better, Essix or Vivera? What do these clear retainers do, and why do you need them? Zombek Orthodontics is a Platinum Invisalign provider, so we have plenty of experience with Invisalign and its Vivera retainers. Are Invisalign’s retainers better than Essix retainers? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Invisalign in Hollywood FL

Why Do I Need a Retainer? 

When it comes down to Invisalign vs. retainers, you may be wondering why you even need a retainer. Why not just wear your last Invisalign tray? Invisalign aligners are designed to move and straighten your teeth. Vivera retainers are made to hold your teeth in place. 

You need retainers because your teeth have been made to move for months, and it takes a while for them to stop moving and stay in place. The retainers may look like your Invisalign trays, but where the Invisalign trays are made to move your teeth, retainers are made to keep them still and don’t apply pressure on your teeth.

By wearing your retainers properly, you can make that beautiful new smile of yours last for a lifetime! 

How Do Retainers Work?

Traditional retainers, often called Hawley retainers, are made of acrylic that’s molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth. Wires attached to the acrylic slide over your teeth and hold them in place. The wires are very visible, which is why many of our patients prefer the Vivera or Essix retainers. 

Vivera and Essix retainers are custom-molded to your teeth to fit them snugly and hold them in place. The removable retainers slide onto your teeth and hold them still while the bone in your jaw hardens around them. Once your jaw “sets,” your teeth won’t move as much, which is why we usually reduce the amount of time you wear your retainers from 22 hours a day to overnight after about 6-12 months.  

The advantage of Vivera and Essix retainers is that they are clear and molded to fit your teeth, so they’re nearly invisible. Our patients don’t feel as self-conscious wearing their Vivera retainers, and they can show off their new smile while preserving it.

Weston FL orthodontist

Vivera vs. Essix Retainers

Which is better, Vivera or Essix retainers? They look very similar, so what is the difference between Vivera and Essix retainers? Both are designed to keep your smile the same for the rest of your life, and both Vivera and Essix retainers are removable. However, there are a few differences. 

The biggest difference is the material. Vivera retainers are made from the same durable SmartTrack material as Invisalign clear aligners. That makes them just as strong as Invisalign. Essix retainers are made from a 30% thinner material. This means you have a better chance of Essix retainers bending, warping, or breaking. 

Essix retainers may be less expensive, but the thinner material often means patients have to replace them more often. That doesn’t save money in the long run. Also, Vivera offers two sets of retainers initially, not just one. That means you have a backup in case you lose your retainers. 

As an Invisalign Platinum Provider, Zombek Orthodontics is familiar with SmartTrack material, so you can expect Vivera retainers that fit you comfortably and that will last for years. 

We believe strongly that you’ll find Vivera retainers to be stronger, more comfortable, and longer lasting than other retainers. Schedule an appointment with us to see for yourself! 

Invisalign and retainers

Caring for Your Retainers

With proper care, your retainers can last for years. It will take some diligence on your part to keep them safe and clear. 

When you first get your retainers, you’ll need to wear them most of the time — at least 22 hours a day. You’ll remove them for eating, drinking dark liquids (clear water is OK), and brushing and flossing. Make sure you put them into a protective storage case when they are not in your mouth. Store your case somewhere safe. As with Invisalign, your retainers can be damaged by small children or pets, so keep them out of reach of both. Also, never wrap your retainers in a napkin. It’s far too easy to throw them away!

The key to making your retainers last is to clean them well. Rinse your retainers every time you remove and replace them. Clean your retainers by soaking them in lukewarm water with retainer cleaner tablets. We don’t recommend using toothpaste because abrasive material in the toothpaste can leave microabrasions on your retainers and give them a cloudy appearance. 

Make sure your retainers aren’t left in areas that are too hot, such as a hot car or in very hot water. Don’t put them in a dishwasher. Excessive heat can warp your retainers, damaging them. This is why we encourage you to use your storage case. 

Why is this so important? Because after several months without tooth movement, we usually allow you to reduce your wear time from 22 hours a day to 8 hours a day. Most patients sleep in their retainers, so they don’t have to wear them during the day. When the retainers aren’t in your mouth, they need to be stored safely so they last for years. Good storage habits early will carry you throughout your life and will carry your retainers, as well.

Invisalign Retainers in Hollywood, FL

Vivera retainers and Essix retainers are very similar, but Vivera retainers offer you thicker material, better comfort, and more durability thanks to the same SmartTrack material you find in Invisalign clear aligners. If you’re ready to see what Invisalign treatment and Vivera can do for you, start with a virtual consult if you’re in the Hollywood, FL, or Weston, FL, areas. We’ll bring you in for a full consultation and show you how Invisalign and Vivera can create the smile of your dreams!

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