Retainers are prescribed to protect the results of orthodontic treatment. Our practice offers several types of retainers, which are worn as the last phase of treatment. The type of retainer prescribed will depend on the type of braces you wore, your individual needs, and your lifestyle.

Why Retainers are Necessary

While it might seem like your orthodontic treatment is over when your braces come off, the truth is that using a retainer is very important to maintaining your newly-straightened smile. Retainers aren’t just important, they are necessary.

Braces straighten teeth by applying pressure to their crowns (visible tooth structure). Over time, this pressure moves the visible parts of teeth to healthier positions. The bones, muscles and gums have to respond to these changes, too, and this process takes time. Retainers are used to keep teeth in place during this adjustment period.

The first few months you wear a retainer is very important, as your teeth are most likely to move out of alignment right after your braces come off. All patients are advised to wear their retainers at night to maintain results.

Vivera Retainer | Orthodontics | Torrance | San Pedro

Everyone’s situation is unique. It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions properly. If you notice changes in the way your retainer fits, be sure to call our office to speak with a member of our team. If retainers feel too tight, it could mean that your teeth have shifted out of alignment.

Types of Retainers

Mascola Orthodontics offers different retainers to suit our patients’ diverse needs. Some of our most popular options are Essix, Vivera, and fixed retainers.

Essix Retainer | San Pedro | Torrance | Dr. Mascola

Essix are plastic, removable retainers that are clear. These retainers are discreet and comfortable. Each Essix retainer is custom made so that its molds perfectly to fit over an arch of teeth. When it comes to caring for them, Essix retainers are low maintenance. Patients will rinse them in cold water before and after use. They should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and lukewarm water. For a deeper clean, patients can soak them in a special cleansing solution periodically.


Vivera retainers are made by Invisalign. These retainers were designed with Invisalign patients in mind, but they might be recommended for patients who wore other types of braces, too. Vivera is made from transparent but durable plastic. Some patients might be instructed to wear Vivera full time, while other might only need to wear them at night.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are sometimes called “permanent retainers”. These retainers help keep teeth in place with a small, discreet band of metal placed along the backsides of teeth. Unlike other retainers, a fixed one is not removed for meals and oral hygiene. Fixed retainers might be worn in conjunction with removable retainers, too. These types of retainers are placed after braces come off. They are easy to care for but patients will have to learn to brush and floss carefully around them.

Wearing a retainer is an important aspect of orthodontic treatment. We provide comfortable, inconspicuous retainers so that our patients enjoy a straight smile for years to come. Call Mascola Orthodontics to ask questions or schedule an appointment.

Common Questions about Retainers
Do retainers keep your bite in place?

Wearing retainers is an integral part of maintaining the results of your orthodontic treatment. Retainers are necessary to ensure the teeth do not revert back to their former positions. There are different kinds of retainers and the amount of time you wear them will vary based on your situation. Mascola Orthodontics strongly encourages patients to wear their retainers as directed.

How long can you go without wearing a retainer?

You should wear your retainer exactly as recommended by your orthodontist. The first three months after your braces come off are when your teeth are at their most vulnerable for shifting out of position.

All patients need to wear their retainers on a nightly basis after treatment. While forgetting to wear it on occasion after the initial three-month period likely won’t cause many issues, consistently forgetting to wear it can reverse your results after wearing braces. Your orthodontic treatment is an investment in your oral health and quality of life. Not wearing your retainer as prescribed will cause your teeth to shift out of alignment.

How long do Vivera retainers last?

Vivera retainers are made from the same revolutionary materials as Invisalign. These retainers are custom made and discreet. The recommended wear time of these retainers varies and so does their lifespan.

How do you clean Essix retainers?

Essix retainers effectively keep teeth in place after orthodontic treatment when worn as directed. Caring for Essix retainers is relatively low maintenance. When you remove your retainer, you should always rinse it with cold water. As far as daily cleaning, a soft-bristled toothbrush and warm water will suffice. Be sure not to brush your retainer with toothpaste as the abrasive agents in its formula can scratch the appliance. Never place an Essix retainer in hot water – the heat can warp the retainer’s shape.