Technician’s Tips: Aligners vs Retainers

We’re seeing multiple doctors write “Clear Aligner” on the RX form when they really want a retainer (or vice versa). While clear aligners and retainers look similar, an aligner is used to move teeth, while a retainer holds teeth in position after orthodontic treatment.


  • moves teeth
  • short-term durability
  • meant to be worn two weeks
  • Argen Clear Aligner through D&S



  • holds teeth in position
  • long-term durability
  • meant to be worn 6-12 months
  • Essie Clear Retainer


Please make sure you’re writing the correct product choice on the RX form.

Some other reminders:

  • Shade taking: Remember to take a shade at the beginning of an appointment before the tooth becomes dehydrated. Shades can appear up to 2 times lighter due to dehydration.
  • Crown Under Partials: For crown under partial dentures, be sure to take the impression before you prep the tooth and be sure to send a scan of the pre-op model. For crown under partial denture impression taking tips, go to


A library of Technician Tips can be found on our website under Resources > Technician’s Tips.