People with bright and straight teeth tend to smile more and look more presentable and approachable. On the other hand, misaligned or disordered teeth can adversely affect people’s smiles and lead to various oral issues.

Usually, the food particles or plaque accumulate in the hard-to-clean spaces in your teeth and become a reason for gum disease and tooth decay. That’s why it is necessary to eliminate dental problems like misaligned teeth in the beginning in order to prevent various severe consequences.

One of the most effective ways to treat such dental problems is by placing braces and retainers on the misaligned or dislocated teeth. Both of these dental treatments have the same output, that is, straightening the misaligned teeth, but they have different approaches. The braces exert consistent pressure on the gums and teeth to change their position and alter the smile.

On the other hand, retainers keep the aligned teeth in place and prevent their unwanted dislocation. In addition to fixing the misalignment of teeth, braces and retainers have multiple other benefits, including:

  • They can fix your bite
  • Prevent dental injuries
  • Improve your speech
  • Help with digestion
  • Prevent bone erosion


Braces are fixed dental devices placed by orthodontists on the misaligned teeth to straighten them and to move teeth toward better and desired alignment. Braces also correct jaw or bite problems.

Not only do braces help straighten your smile, but they can also treat serious conditions such as underdeveloped or misaligned jaws and support good oral health. The treatment process after getting braces is usually completed between 16 to 24 months.

During this period, the patients should visit their dentists in Toronto regularly in order to assess the improvement in teeth alignment or to get their braces readjusted if required. Braces are of multiple types, including metal braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces, etc.


Retainers are placed on teeth after they have aligned to prevent their dislocation and to keep them in the desired position. These oral devices are manufactured or fabricated from metal or plastic materials.

They can be removable or can also be fixed on your teeth. The retainers are a final step in the treatment of misaligned teeth through braces. There are different types of retainers, including removable clear plastic retainers, bonded permanent retainers, and removable wire retainers.

Both of these dental treatment approaches have multiple differences. The braces and retainers are not an alternative to each other but have significant roles in correcting dental issues and providing you with a perfect and straight smile.



The retainers are a follow-up treatment to braces and are much more affordable than them. A set of retainers can cost you around $250 to $600, whereas the costs of braces usually range between $5000 to $6000. The retainers prove to be much more economical than braces but can only treat mild alignment issues.

People with severely misaligned teeth cannot benefit from retainers and need a set of braces. However, when the braces are removed after the teeth are shifted to the desired positions, dentists place retainers over the aligned teeth to prevent the dislocation of teeth and keep them in a specific position.


The braces are manufactured with materials like metal, titanium, stainless steel, chrome, or gold. They contain brackets, molar bands, arch wires, and intermaxillary elastics. The braces are generally fabricated with durable and sturdy materials that exert pressure on the teeth and shift them to the desired positions.

On the other hand, the retainers are manufactured from materials like polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They contain acrylic wires with flexible polyester. However, this composition varies in different types of retainers.

Retainers do not comprise sturdy materials, and that’s why they are unable to align the severely dislocated teeth. Moreover, the braces are only manufactured from wires and metal, while retainers also come in plastic, metal, and acrylic variants.


Both retainers and braces correct the alignment issues of teeth, but they work differently. Braces can easily correct oral issues like overbite, underbite, and uneven or crowded teeth, but retainers are unable to treat these issues. They slightly shift or push the teeth but cannot correct severe misalignment issues and are usually worn after the completion of alignment processes.


The braces are usually worn between 16 to 24 months to achieve the desired results. However, the duration of treatment processes varies from patient to patient and on the extent of their dental complications. Some patients get their teeth aligned in less than 12 months.

On the other hand, people having serious dental irregularities are supposed to wear braces for more than 24 months in order to get visible results. The retainers are removable or fixed and are placed over your teeth after the braces shift the teeth to the required positions. Generally, dentists advise patients to wear retainers for at least 4 to 12 months to prevent dislocation of recently aligned teeth.


With recent advancements in dentistry, people of any age can get their teeth straightened with the help of braces or clear aligners, but the best age to get braces is between the ages of 9 to 15. 

During this period, dental complications are in their initial stages, and if they get immediate treatment, they can be resolved in the beginning, and people can prevent severe consequences in the future. 

Moreover, the oral complications in this period can be eliminated with little effort. Otherwise, they become complex to treat when they settle down and require serious treatments.

In the beginning, it is generally normal for a retainer to be slightly uncomfortable, tight, or a bit painful for the first few days after wearing it. But these effects subside on their own, and people get used to retainers in the first week. However, if you experience pain or discomfort while wearing retainers for more than a week, you should consult your orthodontist.