The Battle of Clears: Aligners vs. Retainers

Clear teeth alignersMore people are starting to have their teeth straightened regardless of their age. Gone are the days when only adolescent teens are with metal appliances on their mouths in hopes of getting a great set of teeth as they reach adulthood.

Thanks to the continuing advancement in the field of cosmetic dentistry, adults can now enjoy having that picture perfect smile minus the socially awkward metallic parts all because of clear aligners. Clear aligners such as Invisalign are slowly taking the orthodontic market by storm.

But people often mistake it with clear retainers. Yes, those two things have similarities and differences. Knowing your dental appliance can help you better understand your treatment.


Both clear aligner and retainers are similar in their appearance. You can both wear them without people noticing it. Aside from their similarities in appearance, another notable commonality between the two is their material. They make both clear retainers and aligners with Essix Plastic.

Because they are from the same material, maintenance and caring instructions for both clear aligners and clear retainers are similar. This means thoroughly cleaning it with the right tools, avoiding certain types of beverages, and avoiding hard and crunchy food, among others.


The primary difference between the two is with their functions. They might look similar, but they designed clear aligners to move the teeth while clear retainers are to “retain” teeth in their proper position.

Clear aligners function in a way that it pushes the teeth to the right places and thus are replaced or adjusted after every two weeks, or depending on your dentist’s recommendation. Clear retainers, on the other hand, last longer as its function is to prevent your “fixed” set of teeth from moving.

Knowing your dental terms can help make it easier for you to understand what your dentist is discussing should you decide to have your teeth aligned.