Dr. Sidney M. Craft

Orthodontist located in Houston, TX & The Woodlands, TX

Retainers are one of the most effective ways to make sure that your teeth stay in proper alignment after treatment with braces or Invisalign®. In order to help their patients maintain their dream smiles, the team of orthodontic experts at Sidney M. Craft, Jr., DDS, offers both traditional and Invisalign retainers at their offices in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas. To get started on your retainer, schedule an appointment today by calling the office or booking a visit online.

Retainers Q & A

What is a retainer?

A retainer is an orthodontic appliance you wear after treatment with braces or Invisalign in order to maintain the new alignment of your smile and bite.

It can take four to six months for your teeth to settle into their new position after realignment, during which time they’ll try to shift back out of alignment in a process called relapse.

Even after your teeth have permanently settled, they can still relapse from the effects of chewing, growth, and every day wear and tear.

Wearing a retainer every night, or as instructed by your orthodontist at the office of Dr. Sidney M. Craft, helps to keep your smile in proper alignment, ensuring that you get to enjoy all of the benefits of your braces or Invisalign treatment.

What are the different types of retainers?

There are a few different types of retainers available today. Each type caters to different needs and preferences, and your practitioner will help you to choose a retainer type that’s best suited to your particular smile and lifestyle.

Removable retainers

There are two main types of removable retainers: Traditional retainers and Invisalign retainers.

Traditional retainers are composed of plastic or acrylic that is custom-molded from an impression of your mouth to fit seamlessly along the roof of your mouth or along the inside of your lower teeth.

The plastic or acrylic is attached to a thin metal wire that runs across the outside of your teeth and maintains the alignment of your smile.

Invisalign retainers are made of clear plastic that’s custom-molded to fit snugly around your teeth, just like the aligners Invisalign treatment uses.

The only difference is that Invisalign aligners exert a small amount of pressure on your teeth to move them into alignment, while Invisalign retainers are molded to perfectly model your current bite and prevent your teeth from shifting out of alignment.

Permanent retainers

A permanent retainer is a solid or braided wire that’s curved to fit along the inside of your front teeth, where it’s permanently cemented into place by your practitioner.

They’re most typically used on the lower teeth when there is a high likelihood of relapse or if your practitioner suspects that the patient won’t follow the instructions for wearing a removable retainer (as in the case of a young child).

What are the pros and cons of each different retainer?

Each retainer type has different pros or cons, such as:

Traditional retainer


  • Can easily be adjusted if you need to change the fit
  • More durable than Invisalign retainers
  • Upper and lower teeth touch naturally when wearing this type


  • More noticeable while wearing it
  • Affects your speech more than other types
  • The wire may initially irritate your cheeks or lip

Invisalign retainer


  • Virtually invisible, so you’re likely to wear it more
  • More comfortable than a traditional retainer
  • Affects your speech less than a traditional retainer


  • Can’t be adjusted or repaired, only replaced
  • Top and bottom teeth don’t touch naturally when wearing this type
  • Can affect your speech more than a permanent retainer

Permanent retainer


  • Not visible to others
  • You don’t have to think about when and how long to wear it
  • Is not easily damaged


  • Harder to maintain oral hygiene, especially flossing
  • The metal wire might irritate your tongue
  • It’s permanently attached, which some people don’t like

Whatever your unique needs and desires are, Dr. Sidney M. Craft can help you find a retainer that fits. Don’t wait to maintain your dream smile; schedule an appointment today to get your retainer. You can call the office nearest you or book your visit online.