Once you are done with your braces, your orthodontist may place a permanent retainer in your mouth. When you finally get your braces off, you’ll likely choose between wearing removable retainers regularly at night and having a permanent or lingual retainer bonded to the back of your teeth.
Teeth can move back over time once the influence of braces goes away; wearing a fixed dental retainer after orthodontic treatment prevents your teeth from moving back into their old, incorrect positions. This article discusses permanent retainers, including the advantages and disadvantages, costs, and removal procedure.
What is a Permanent Retainer?
A permanent retainer, also known as a bonded or fixed retainer, involves a metal bar or wire that holds your teeth where they are, preventing them from moving after orthodontic treatment. This is typically used after a braces removal when your teeth are nicely aligned. A retainer helps prevent issues such as gapping or crowding.
Typically these retainers are bonded to the inside of the lower front teeth because the lower front teeth have the shortest, smallest roots, which means that they’re more likely to shift over time due to their smaller foundations. Dentists and orthodontists alike have patients who had previous orthodontics and were not the most diligent about wearing retainers; their lower front teeth started to shift back.
Fixed retainers are different from Vivera retainer, Essix retainer, or Hawley retainer, which are all removable. Once a permanent retainer is fixed to your teeth, it’s not coming out unless something goes wrong.
Who should get a permanent retainer?
The permanent retainer is a perfect fit for someone who does not want to go through the hassle of remembering to wear and fix the retainer every day. It is placed on the inner side so it is not visible to everyone, and it stays in one place and can be taken care of through normal hygiene and 60 seconds of floss.
Permanent Retainers: How Long Will You Need To Wear?
The need for bonded retainers occurs after the braces are removed. The teeth have the tendency to move places slowly even after the braces have straightened them out. The retainers are to keep that effect in place. The requirement to keep them on teeth depends on the patient’s age, but on average, they can comfortably stay for five years.
What should you do if your Permanent retainer has broken?
Your permanent retainer broke? You should visit your dentist to get it fixed as soon as you can. You will probably have the option to remove and replace it, or you can choose to get a removable one so your permanent one doesn’t break again. If you find your retainer broken somehow, you should immediately inspect the damage. If part of the wire has got loose or a wire is poking out and causing pain and discomfort, you should visit your dental specialist to get it fixed.
Avoid hard, sticky, or gummy foods because a permanent retainer is a lot like having braces. You would never want your bonded retainer to break off any more than it already has. If the retainer cuts your tongue or the inside of your cheek, prevent infection and help cuts heal by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.
How to floss with a permanent retainer?
Flossing is necessary to keep your teeth clean with a permanent retainer. Floss is a thin filament in the form of a chord. Take a chord around 18 to 20 inches long for all spaces and work with about 2 inches for each space. Slide the tip of it between the space of your teeth, and now move it in and out gently between your teeth. Make sure not to slide against the gum, as the force can damage them. Make sure to remove all food pieces between the teeth and move on to the next space. It takes around 60 seconds of your day once you are in practice.
What should you do if your retainer gets bent or moves?
If you feel that your retainer might have bent or is moving, look for someone you trust and ask them to examine it for you. If it does, then book to see your orthodontist right away, so there is no harm caused. Just in case this occurs at night, buy a mouthguard so that you can sleep peacefully without letting the retainer hurt you.
Permanent vs. Removable retainers
The permanent retainers stay wired to your teeth constantly, while the removable retainers can, of course, be removed. You will need to floss regularly for 60 seconds if you have permanent ones. As for removable ones, it is not necessary. With permanent retainers, you are able to eat more variety of food which you could not when you had braces, but still with care. Permanent retainers have a higher success rate than removable retainers.
How are permanent retainers attached?
Permanent retainers are attached to the inside of the teeth. They are made of a metal wire that is bonded to the teeth with dental cement or glue.
Pros of permanent retainers
- You don’t have to take it on and off, which makes it easier to keep your teeth in place after your braces come off.
- No one else knows it’s there except you because it’s bonded behind your teeth.
- It has little to no effect on how you speak, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious about wearing it in public.
- You can’t lose it because it’s securely attached to your teeth with dental glue.
- It’s difficult to damage from everyday use of your mouth.
- It keeps your teeth in place to help keep them aligned since the retainer is always in place.
Drawbacks of permanent retainers
Here are some considerations and potential drawbacks of permanent retainers:
- The procedure for attaching a permanent retainer may be long and uncomfortable. It can sometimes take up to an hour to bond a retainer to your teeth. All you have to do for a removable retainer is get a quick impression made that your orthodontist can use to fashion one that fits your mouth.
- Brushing and flossing around a permanent retainer require extra effort. Your risk of cavities and gum disease can increase if you don’t take the time to properly clean around your permanent retainer.
- Having a metal object in your mouth all the time can be uncomfortable. Your tongue can rub against the wire. If the bond comes off or the wire breaks, your tongue may get irritated or scratched.
- Eating some foods might change how effective it is. Biting into hard or tough foods, like a whole apple or a tough steak, can bend the wire out of shape. Foods high in artificial sugars or similar additives, such as soda, can also wear away at the bonding material, potentially loosening the retainer’s bond to the teeth.
- The wire may break off or debond, requiring repair or replacement. You may have to pay a replacement fee to have a new one made.
How Much Does Permanent Retainer Cost?
For some patients, the cost of a permanent retainer might seem a bit higher, and they can say it’s quite pricey but remember that it’s meant to keep your teeth straight for decades and help you maintain the beautiful smile you have got after a long period of wearing braces.
A permanent retainer can cost up to $500 for one and $1,000 if you get a retainer on both your lower and upper teeth.