Vivera Retainers vs. Essix: Which Is Better for Post-Orthodontic Care?

orthodontic retainer

Post-orthodontic care (after removal of braces or any other alignment method) plays an important role in maintaining the stunning smile achieved following an orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic retainers are a vital part of this journey that helps to ensure teeth maintain their corrected positions over time and improve oral health.

There are two widely recognized retainer options: Vivera and Essix retainers. The question is: which one is more suitable for you? This post will explore Vivera vs. Essix and know which option might be right for your post-orthodontic care.

What Are Vivera Retainers?

Vivera Retainers, developed by Align Technology, the same company behind Invisalign, uses state-of-the-art thermoplastic polymers in their construction. These orthodontic retainers are designed to maintain the attractive position of your teeth after treatment with braces, Invisalign, or any other teeth alignment method.

Vivera retainers secure the teeth in their new, correct positions. When you order Vivera retainers, you receive four sets of retainers, ensuring you have a wide range of options to pick from should you encounter a broken retainer.

The Advantages

  • Visibility. One of the main advantages of Vivera retainers is their near-invisibility. If you’re conscious about maintaining a clean appearance after your orthodontic treatment, Vivera is a great choice.
  • Customized. Professionals use state-of-the-art 3D imaging of your teeth to custom-make your Vivera retainers. This precise fit lends a sense of comfort and ease that’s sometimes lacking with other types of retainers.
  • Replacements. Unlike most other common brands of retainers, Vivera offers multiple sets of retainers. This feature means that in the event of a lost or cracked retainer, you have backups on hand.
  • Longevity. Although a removable appliance, Vivera retainers are known for their impressive longevity. They are developed using a durable material that’s 30% stronger than what you’ll find in most traditional retainers.
  • Wide Range. Another great benefit of Vivera retainers is their adaptability. Whether you’ve undergone treatment with traditional braces, metal braces, or even lingual braces, Vivera retainers are a suitable post-braces option.

The Disadvantages

  • Cost. When considering Essix retainer vs Vivera, the cost comes into play. Vivera retainers can be more pricey compared to some of the other retainer options. This could be a deciding factor if your dental insurance coverage does not account for post-orthodontic care.
  • Maintenance. Similar to other removable retainers, Vivera retainers require regular and proper care. Practicing good dental hygiene practices like diligently cleaning your plastic retainers with lukewarm water, avoiding hot water, and using a latex glove for handling can ensure they last longer.
  • Replacement. While the provision of additional sets of retainers by Vivera might seem like a great offer, replacement costs can be steep if you go through all the sets. Good care and compliance with instructions can help avoid this cost.
  • Not Fixed. Vivera retainers are removable appliances that maintain the alignment of your now straight teeth. This advantage can, however, be a disadvantage for those who may not remember to wear them regularly. Unlike fixed retainers or wire retainers, patient compliance is a significant factor in Vivera’s effectiveness.
  • Sensitivity. Although it’s rare, some patients may initially experience a slight sensitivity to the thermoplastic polymers from which Vivera retainers are made. In most cases, this sensitivity usually goes after a few days of regular wear.

What Are Essix Retainers?

Essix Retainers are another popular choice for individuals seeking post-brace retention. These vacuum-formed retainer options are made from transparent plastic, akin to Invisalign aligners. Essix retainers are available in various types, like the Essix ACE, Essix Plus, and the Essix Clear Retainer, offering an array of retainer options for individual patients.

Essix retainers, like Vivera, help secure teeth in their correct or original positions after orthodontic treatment, combating tooth movement. One reason for their popularity is their affordability, as they tend to be more budget-friendly than some other options. 

The Advantages

  • Comfort. Thanks to the use of thinner plastic materials, Essix retainers are naturally lightweight, making them comfortable for the wearer. They don’t put undue pressure on the gums and teeth, letting you maintain good oral hygiene practices.
  • Aesthetics. One of the standout features of the Essix retainer is its aesthetic appeal. The transparent plastic used for casting these customized orthodontic appliances blends seamlessly with your oral structure.
  • Easy to Use. The design of Essix retainers eliminates dietary restrictions. These removable devices can be removed during meals, reducing the risk of food restrictions or food particles getting lodged against the retainer.
  • Cost-Effective. When considering the initial cost of retainer purchase, these fall under the affordable retainers category. Apart from the lower cost, many dental insurance plans cover a significant part of the cost, making these retainers an attractive choice for efficient orthodontic retention.
  • Different Models. Essix offers a range of retainer models, such as the Essix Plus and Essix ACE. The Essix Plus provides added durability, while the Essix ACE maintains the aesthetic appeal with clearer, transparent plastic. This expands the array of retainer options for patients.

The Disadvantages

  • Durability. Compared to the more durable Vivera retainers or even some wire retainers, the thin plastic used in Essix retainers isn’t as robust. Therefore, they often require more frequent replacements, especially with constant use and perhaps improper care.
  • Speech. Occasional users of Essix retainers might notice slight changes in their speech initially. This phenomenon typically occurs due to the retainer’s coverage of the upper teeth and lower teeth, potentially causing a lisp.
  • Design. The Essix retainer design covers the entire tooth surface, including the biting surface. Such a design can alter saliva flow and influence taste, which some users might find uncomfortable.
  • Cleaning. The Essix retainer’s design can trap moisture between it and the teeth’ surface. If not cleaned properly, this could cause the retainers to have a cloudy appearance. It’s important to establish a diligent retainer wear and cleaning routine to maintain the retainer’s clarity.
  • Regular Replacements. Routine use of Essix retainers necessitates regular replacements. Depending on your individual use, Essix retainers might need to be replaced every 18 to 24 months.

Vivera vs Essix: How Different Are They?


Vivera retainers are a popular choice among patients who have completed Invisalign treatment. These retainers are specifically designed to maintain the correct alignment of teeth post-Invisalign. In contrast, Essix retainers are more commonly used after the removal of traditional orthodontic braces, including ceramic braces and metal braces. They help maintain the ideal position of teeth achieved through treatments like adult braces and childhood braces.


When comparing durability, Vivera retainers have a slight advantage over Essix retainers. Made from high-quality material, Vivera retainers are known for their long-term use and require fewer replacements. On the other hand, Essix retainers are crafted from co-polyester material. They are generally more affordable but may need to be replaced more frequently. This makes Vivera an affordable option for those needing durable retainers over an extended period.

Comfort and Fit

Both Vivera and Essix retainers are designed to offer a custom fit, providing a snug and comfortable feel. However, Vivera retainers tend to be more comfortable due to the custom manufacturing process that guarantees a perfect fit. The thicker plastic used in Vivera retainers contributes to enhanced comfort compared to Essix retainers, which are slightly thinner. The attention to detail contributes to customized and improved dental health.


The cost of retainers can vary between Vivera and Essix. Vivera retainers tend to be more expensive, but this higher cost includes multiple sets of retainers. They reduce the need for frequent replacements and provide comprehensive care over time. In contrast, Essix retainers are generally more affordable, but patients may experience more frequent costs due to the need for future replacements. Evaluating the cost per retainer from consumer retainer companies can help make an informed decision based on budget and long-term needs.

Cleaning Methods

Maintaining regular cleaning of retainers is important to oral hygiene. Vivera retainers are compatible with various cleaning methods, including the use of mild dish soap and floss threaders, making them easy to clean and maintain. Essix retainers also require diligent care to prevent plaque buildup and speed up the cleaning process. Regularly cleaning both types of retainers prevents the buildup of plaque and promotes overall oral health.

Essix vs Vivera Retainers: Which Type of Retainer Is Best for You?

Vivera retainers are a popular choice among patients who have completed Invisalign treatment. Meanwhile, Essix retainers are more commonly used after removing traditional braces, including ceramic and metal braces. When it comes to durability, Vivera retainers have a slight edge over Essix retainers, requiring fewer replacements.

Both retainers offer a snug fit in terms of comfort and fit. Vivera retainers provide slightly more comfort due to the custom-made, thicker plastic used. Cost-wise, the comparison between Vivera vs Essix shows that Vivera retainers tend to be more expensive, partly because they include more sets of retainers. In contrast, Essix retainers are more affordable but often require frequent replacements.

Schedule Your Consultation With Woodland Orthodontics for the Perfect Retainer Fit

In comparing Vivera vs Essix retainers, each retainer material has its own merits. Vivera retainers might be more durable and provide extra sets, but Essix retainers offer an affordable initial investment and are easy to use. At Woodlands Orthodontics, we understand that maintaining your new smile after braces or other orthodontic treatment options is vital. Investing in a high-quality retainer is the key to making that beautiful smile last.

Proper post-orthodontic care is essential in preventing orthodontic relapse. Whether you choose Essix vs Vivera, we stand ready to offer post-orthodontic care tailored to you and your beautiful smile. For more helpful advice or to schedule a consultation to discuss which dental retainer is best for you, feel free to contact us.

Let us at Woodlands Orthodontics guide you. Every smile speaks a brighter day—make yours count. Reach out to schedule a consultation with us today!