A permanent retainer or fixed retainer is an oral instrument made up of metal wire and glued to your teeth. Usually, they are used after the removal of braces to prevent your teeth from moving back to their original place and from crooking. The orthodontist would attach the permanent retainer to your teeth and will adjust to your bite to keep your teeth in shape and prevent their unwanted movements.
Sometimes you may be suggested a permanent retainer if you have difficulty in handling or following the guidelines for removable retainers. But retainers need a certain tooth surface for the attaching material to secure the retainer in place.
However, in many cases, orthodontists use both removable and permanent retainers for long-lasting results. But fresh surveys show that permanent retainers are becoming more popular.
Typically removable retainers are used for the top teeth and permanent teeth for the lower teeth, however, retainers depend on what suits your teeth best.
Let’s move to how retainers work and how they pile up against other retainers. Also, the care you should take while having permanent retainers.
Permanent retainers are also known as a bonded retainer, lingual retainer, and fixed retainer. Mostly they are used on the lower jaw teeth.
Also read: 6 best home remedies for swollen gums
The name is lingual because it is glued and bonded to the back surface of your teeth. It’s easy to firmly attach the bonding material to lower teeth like cuspids or canine teeth for effective use. A permanent retainer indicates that it will be fixed on your teeth permanently.
Though, it somehow increases the chances of plaque build-up and irritation around gums or teeth around it. In that case, your dentist might remove them.
Why Do You Need Permanent Retainers?
Have you done your braces treatment or Invisalign? Here is the next step after getting the perfect smile you wanted. Retainers are the best thing to keep the teeth aligned and prevent its moving.
As our teeth may go onto their original position even after taking treatments. Hence, it is known medically as dental relapse. This is where you need to have retainers to make your treatment worthwhile. The key function of retainers is to prevent dental relapse by saving your time, money, and your bright smile.
Moreover, the use of retainers becomes extremely important particularly when you have gone through some orthodontic treatment to prevent misalignment. Not only in the case of brace removal, but in various other treatments as well.
When it comes to retainers there are three types of retainers to be used such as removable retainers, clear retainers, and permanent or fixed retainers. So, why go for permanent retainers?
So one of the big reasons is that there is no way of forgetting to wear them as they get fixed permanently to your teeth and also are least visible. As they are attached to the back of your teeth, they won’t be visible like braces. Your dentist will bond bottom and upper metal wires with each other.
Benefits of Using Permanent Retainers
Not visible:– as they are attached to the back of your teeth, are not visible. You don’t need to worry about displeasing metal wires hiding or blocking your smile.
You cannot forget them:- it happens that sometimes you may forget to wear them. But with permanent retainers, there is no chance of it.
Easy to clean:- you can clean them just like you do for your teeth like brushing or flossing. So, it makes these retainers a low-maintenance option.
Permanent Retainer Cost
Cost doesn’t matter when you get the right thing. However, it will be a little expensive but is worth it. You can get a good set on the average price between $500-$1000.
Permanent Retainer Problems
Everything has some pros and cons, so the permanent retainer does. Here are the potential drawbacks of a permanent retainer:-
Uncomfortable procedure:- the procedure for attaching the permanent retainer to your teeth may be long and displeasing. It can sometimes take about an hour to bond the retainer to your teeth.
Difficult cleaning:- there is no need to clean them with special things, but still even brushing and flossing may be sometimes difficult. The overall risk of having cavities and gum disease increases. You have to give it extra time to properly clean your retainers.
The tongue can be affected:- wearing a metal object inside the mouth 24*7 is uncomfortable. Also, the tongue will rub against the wire. If the attachment comes off and the wire breaks, it can scratch or irritate your tongue badly.
Eating can be affected:- eating hard foods like an apple, or anything that needs the maximum effort of teeth could bend the wire and damage the shape. Foods that consist of artificial sugars or additives like soda, may also wear away the bonding material leading to potential loosening of the retainer’s alignment with the teeth.
The wire may break:- the wire of the bond may break, debond and require repair or replacement.
How to Floss With Permanent Retainer?
Flossing is a little hard and comes up with a real challenge. But with practice, a few times will make it easier for you to floss your teeth.
Here are some tips on how to floss with a permanent retainer:-
- Take a 6-inch piece of floss with a floss threader to wobble the floss between two of your front bottom teeth, keeping one end of the floss between your fingers and the other end in the threader.
- When you fix floss between the teeth, gently raise and lower the floss along the sides of the teeth from top to near the gum. Don’t be hard on your gums, gently keep the raise and low.
- When you’re done with one set of teeth, now move the floss back to the top of the teeth and gently slide the floss over the next set of teeth.
- Now repeat the process with the next set of teeth by gently pulling the floss down between teeth.
- Repeat the same until you cover all sets of teeth secured by your retainer.
A permanent retainer is the best oral material to use after braces treatment. Though, there are a variety of retainers available according to the condition and duration of wearing. It depends on the conditions and needs of the person. However, permanent retainer problems are also considered like it may be uncomfortable wearing all time and might create problems while eating, brushing, flossing, and talking. Your tongue may also get affected when the bond wire breaks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a permanent retainer for life?
Yes, it may be possible that you will be advised to use them your entire life. Although, your dentist will remove a permanent retainer if it irritates your teeth, tongue, or gums too much. Sometimes if proper care is not taken can cause plaque building and requires retainer replacement.
How long do permanent retainers last?
Well, how long will they last depends on how much care you give to them in your routine? For example how often you clean your teeth covered by retainers. On average, the lifespan of a permanent retainer can last for decades if you routinely clean them and prevent damage. Comparatively removable retainers usually last 5-10 years.
Are permanent retainers better?
Yes, permanent retainers are better as compared to removable ones. Although, the problem with these retainers is in flossing. But overall they provide you a secured teeth shape and prevent misalignment. The most notable thing is that they can’t be forgotten or lost by the user. Removable retainers are usually not used as they should be due to inconsistency.
Also, factually as we age our teeth are more likely to shift naturally. So a permanent retainer is the best choice for a long-term effect.
Can teeth still move with a permanent retainer?
Yes, you may notice a slight change in the movement of the teeth even if you are wearing retainers. This is a natural process of our body and there is no harm in it. An overall permanent retainer is good to use for preventing your teeth from shifting.
Are permanent retainers bad?
Not at all. Permanent retainers aren’t bad until they are used carefully and managed with a good routine following cleaning. Some patients who have had braces treatment might think this way whether permanent retainers are good for the long term or not. The answer is yes, permanent retainers are meant for long-term use and are not bad.
Can permanent retainers cause gum recession?
Yes in some cases if the retainers aren’t fit as they should they can cause gum recession. As the permanent retainers are worn for many years consistently might bring big damage if not worn properly. The material used in retainer can put excessive pressure over the gums causing them to recede.
Do permanent retainers make your breath stink?
Retainers or braces will make your breath stink just like normal teeth do. The main cause of the bad odor is halitosis- including bacteria.
How much does it cost to remove a permanent retainer?
A permanent retainer will cost you in the range between $500-$1000.
How do you clean under a permanent retainer?
You don’t need anything extra to clean them. All you need is a soft-bristled toothbrush and good fluoride toothpaste. Flossing is very important every day to remove the plaque building. Flossing will clean the areas which the brush couldn’t clean usually.
Why does my permanent retainer feel weird?
If you start experiencing something weird with your permanent retainer such as sensitivity and pain around them it may be possible that your teeth have shifted. If you feel sudden pain or unpleasantness, contact your dentist soon.