Permanent Retainers: Benefits & Drawbacks

What are Permanent Retainers?

Permanent retainers are the metal wires or bars that hold the teeth and keep them from shifting. These are the fixed retainers glued to the teeth and adjusted to the bite to keep the teeth from shifting or becoming crooked.

Permanent retainers are recommended after braces to prevent the teeth from moving back to their original place(1)

It is also recommended to those who have difficulty in adhering with the guidelines for removable retainers. You require a certain tooth surface area for the bonding material to hold the retainer in place.

Permanent retainers are becoming increasingly popular and sometimes the combination of both removable and permanent retainers are used for long term results(2)

Permanent retainers are also known as bonded retainers, lingual wire, or fixed retainers. They are commonly used on the teeth of the lower jaw, unlike removable retainers which are mostly used for upper teeth.

Benefits of Permanent Retainers

Benefits of Permanent Retainers

  • Permanent retainers need not be removed which makes it easier to keep the teeth in place after the braces come off. Removable retainers, on the other hand, can be taken off while eating or cleaning the teeth. There is no need to adjust or replace them. Most of the people having them even forget that they have one.
  • No one can recognize that you have permanent retainers as they are glued to behind the teeth. Nobody can see them unless you open your mouth and show it.
  • Permanent retainers do not affect the way you speak, making a person less conscious about wearing them in public.
  • As they are securely attached to the dental glue there is no chance of losing them.
  • It helps keep the teeth in place since a permanent retainer is always in place.

Drawbacks of Permanent Retainers

  • There are certain potential drawbacks of permanent retainers.
  • The procedure for attaching a permanent retainer might be long and uncomfortable. It might take up to an hour for the retainer to bond with the teeth.
  • Brushing and flossing with permanent retainers might need an extra effort. This might increase the risk of cavities and gum diseases.
  • Having a metal object all the time in the mouth can be uncomfortable. They can rub against the tongue which can be annoying for some. If the bond breaks and the wire comes off there are chances of tongue getting irritated or scratched.
  • Eating hard food might bend the wire out of shape. Also, foods with high sugar and additives might wear away the bonding material resulting in loosening of the retainers bond to the teeth.
  • If the retainer wire breaks or the bond gets weak, it might require a repair. A replacement fee has to be paid to get a new one made.

How to Clean A Permanent Retainer and Teeth?

  • To maintain the retainer and to protect the teeth around the area, it needs to be cleaned every day.
  • Brush your teeth normally taking care of the bristles and also being sure that the whole of the area is cleaned.
  • Flossing can be a challenge with permanent retainers. Here are a few tips you need to follow to floss easily.
  • When the floss is placed in between the teeth, gently raise and lower the floss along the sides of the teeth, from the top to where they meet the gums. It is important to be careful so that you might not injure the gums in this process.
  • When done with one set of teeth, slide it to the next set of teeth.
  • Clean the next set of teeth similarly.
  • Repeat the steps to clean each and every tooth secured by a permanent recliner.
  • Permanent retainers can be a good alternative to the removable ones. A dentist can be the best person to suggest what can be the best option.
  • The permanent retainer needs to be removed if it gets damaged, in case of calculus build-up and if in case there is pain and discomfort due to it. But again you need to speak to your dentist for the same. Never try to remove it on your own as it can be dangerous.

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