Orthodontic Retainers in San Ramon, CA


Bigman Orthodontics provides services for retainers in San Ramon, CA. Call 925-735-1515 to learn more and schedule your appointment.

The day you get your braces off or finish with your last set of Invisalign aligners is a momentous occasion, but it doesn’t mean your orthodontic treatment is complete. The next step is maintaining your results and that requires a retainer.

Retainers aren’t only for holding your teeth in their new positions; they can also be used to make small refinements to your smile when needed. We offer a few different retainer options depending on your needs, preferences, and lifestyle.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are bonded to the backs of your teeth. As the name suggests, they are permanent and can only be removed by your orthodontist or dentist. Many patients choose fixed retainers because they’re discreet, they don’t have to worry about forgetting to wear them, and they’re the most affordable type of retainer.

That said, a fixed retainer does have some downsides. They can make flossing difficult and you’ll have to spend some extra time brushing every morning and night to make sure plaque doesn’t build up around the wire. If the thought of spending extra time brushing and flossing doesn’t appeal to you, a removable retainer might be a better option.

Removable Retainers

There are two types of removable retainers: Hawley retainers and Essix retainers.

A Hawley retainer is what you might call a classic retainer—it’s probably what you picture in your head when you hear the word “retainer.” It’s made with an acrylic or plastic base and a wire to hold the teeth in place. Hawley retainers are durable and long-lasting, but more obvious than the other options.

For a more discreet removable retainer, choose an Essix retainer. These are very similar to clear plastic aligners in form, although they function differently—an Essix retainer holds your teeth in place rather than using gentle pressure to move them to different positions. Because clear plastic aligners are made to wear for a few weeks and then discard, the material used to make Essix retainers is a bit thicker to account for the fact that they’re meant to last for a few years.

When you’re nearing the end of your treatment with braces or Invisalign, we’ll begin to discuss retainers with you and work together to determine the best option for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Retainers


How long do you have to wear retainers?


If you have a fixed retainer, you’ll wear it indefinitely. With removable retainers, we usually recommend wearing them nightly for at least a year to maintain your beautiful new smile. After a year, you may be able to drop down to less frequent use. We’ll provide you with instructions when you come in to get your retainer.


What happens if you don’t wear your retainer?


It takes some time for your teeth to settle into their new positions. If you don’t wear your retainer, your periodontal ligaments will begin to pull your teeth back into their previous positions, causing orthodontic relapse. Many patients who don’t wear their retainers end up needing a second round of orthodontic treatment.


Why do retainers hurt?


It’s normal for a new retainer to feel a bit tight, but it shouldn’t hurt. If your retainer hurts when you put it in, it’s a sign that you haven’t been wearing it enough and your teeth are starting to shift.


Do retainers have BPA?


All of our retainers are BPA-free.