After spending months or even years with braces or clear aligners, patients can finally say goodbye to their orthodontic treatment. However, after the braces are removed, patients are not completely done with their treatment. Most patients need to wear retainers to maintain the alignment of their teeth. Retainers can be removable or permanent, and each type has its pros and cons.
In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of permanent retainers.
What are Permanent Retainers?
A permanent retainer is a thin metal wire that is bonded to the back of the teeth. The wire is usually made of stainless steel or thin, flexible metal. Permanent retainers are placed on the back of the teeth so they are not visible when the patient smiles or speaks. They are typically used to maintain the alignment of the teeth after orthodontic treatment.
Pros of Permanent Retainers:
MAINTAINS TEETH ALIGNMENT
One of the biggest benefits of permanent retainers is that they help maintain the alignment of the teeth after orthodontic treatment. When braces or clear aligners are removed, teeth have a tendency to shift back to their original position. A permanent retainer keeps teeth in place and helps prevent them from shifting.
CAN BE LESS NOTICEABLE
For patients who are self-conscious about wearing a retainer, permanent retainers can be a great option. Since they are bonded to the back of the teeth, they are not visible when the patient smiles or speaks.
Another advantage of permanent retainers is that they are a long-lasting solution for maintaining orthodontic results. Unlike removable retainers, permanent retainers do not need to be replaced every few years. As long as the patient takes care of their permanent retainer, it can last for many years.
NO NEED TO REMEMBER
One of the challenges with removable retainers is that patients need to remember to wear them every day. This can be a problem for forgetful or busy patients. With a permanent retainer, there is no need to remember to wear it. It is always in place, doing its job to keep the teeth aligned.
Cons of Permanent Retainers:
CAN NOT BE REMOVED FOR CLEANING
One of the biggest disadvantages of permanent retainers is that they cannot be removed for cleaning or brushing like removable retainers. This can make it more challenging to maintain good oral hygiene. Patients with permanent retainers need to be diligent about brushing and flossing around the wires to prevent plaque buildup.
INCREASED RISK OF PLAQUE BUILDUP
Since permanent retainers cannot be removed, there is an increased risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay. Patients with permanent retainers need to be extra careful about cleaning their teeth to prevent these issues.
CAN CAUSE DISCOMFORT OR IRRITATION
Some patients may experience discomfort or irritation when they first get a permanent retainer. This can be due to the wire rubbing against the inside of the mouth. However, this discomfort usually goes away after a few weeks.
CAN RESULT IN SPEECH DIFFICULTIES
For some patients, a permanent retainer can result in speech difficulties, especially in the first few weeks after placement. This is because the wire can interfere with the tongue's movement, making it difficult to speak normally. However, most patients adjust to the retainer within a few weeks, and speech returns to normal.
MORE EXPENSIVE THAN REMOVABLE RETAINERS
Another disadvantage of permanent retainers is that they are more expensive than removable retainers. This is often because they require more time and expertise to install.
Tips for Maintaining Permanent Retainers
Despite the disadvantages of permanent retainers, they can be a great option for patients who want a long-lasting solution for maintaining the alignment of their teeth. Here are some tips for maintaining permanent retainers:
BRUSHING & FLOSSING TECHNIQUES
Patients with permanent retainers need to be diligent about brushing and flossing around the wires to prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. It is important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and to brush at least twice a day. Flossing can be challenging with a permanent retainer, but there are special flossing tools available that can make it easier.
VISITING THE DENTIST REGULARLY
Regular visits to the dentist are important for patients with permanent retainers. The dentist can check for any signs of decay or damage to the retainer and can provide guidance on proper oral hygiene techniques.
Patients with permanent retainers should avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage the wires or cause them to loosen. Foods such as apples, popcorn, and chewing gum should be avoided.
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION FOR YOU
Permanent retainers can be a great option for patients who want a long-lasting solution for maintaining the alignment of their teeth. They offer several advantages over removable retainers, including the ability to maintain alignment for many years and the fact that they are not visible when the patient smiles or speaks.
However, they do have some disadvantages, such as the increased risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay and the fact that they cannot be removed for cleaning. Patients with permanent retainers need to be diligent about maintaining good oral hygiene and should visit their dentist regularly to ensure that their retainer is in good condition.
If you are considering a permanent retainer, it is important to choose an orthodontic practice that has experience in installing and maintaining them. At Hillam Orthodontics, we have been helping patients in the Idaho Falls area achieve beautiful, healthy smiles for years. Our team of skilled orthodontists can help you determine if a permanent retainer is right for you and can provide guidance on how to maintain it properly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.
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If you’re looking to take the next step with your or your child’s orthodontic care, give Hillam Orthodontics a call today!