The drawn-out process of wearing braces has finally come to an end. You no longer have to deal with those embarrassing picture moments or an awkward speech impediment anymore.
Instead, you can finally show off those pearly whites with a great big smile.
Well, not quite yet, at least.
You still have another battle to confront in the form of a permanent retainer.
The sudden realization that this operation isn’t quite over yet may seem to aggravate you at first, but you will soon learn how necessary this process is for your teeth.
Learn everything you need to know about permanent retainers below; you will be thankful that you took action in the long run!
What is a Retainer?
After getting rid of your braces, your orthodontist may recommend you use a retainer. There are two types of retainers for you to consider, first is a removable retainer. This retainer includes the Hawley and a clear plastic retainer. The second type is the permanent retainer.
Each retainer is made with the intention of bonding one’s teeth together after the braces phase. They all have their uniqueness, like their design, benefits, and drawbacks. The differences can sway you in determining which is most suitable for your lifestyle.
The removable Hawley retainer is the most original of the bunch. Its’ bendable wire and acrylic plate is well-known for optimum comfort. You would wear this retainer at night for the remainder of your life. This retainer is also adjustable and comes in different colors and styles to your liking.
The next removable retainer is the clear plastic retainer, specially molded to fit your teeth perfectly. These are also quite comfortable, not easily noticeable, and don’t affect your speech. However, due to the plastic wearing out over time, this retainer isn’t reliable in terms of longevity. This downside can get costly without the proper care.
Lastly is the permanent retainer, which is also called a fixed retainer and bonded retainer. This retainer is a single metal wire commonly applied to the back teeth of your lower jaw. A permanent retainer will work tremendously if you have severe teeth issues such as an overbite, crowding, or spaced-out teeth.
Your teeth could slowly shift back to their original structure without these necessary appliances. Relapsing would make wearing braces for so long pointless at the end of the day. With the lack of influence no longer present from braces, your teeth will not stay aligned. This is why the permanent retainer might be helpful for you in keeping your perfect smile.
The Importance of Permanent Retainers
Permanent retainers are so essential for obvious reasons, such as preventing your teeth from moving back to their original structure, making the whole braces ordeal pointless. However, this single metal wire does much more for the user than you initially believe. Whether you need an accelerated alignment at a young age or need a more stable bite, this is the way to get it done without worrying about appearance.
Retainers are especially crucial for children still developing into themselves. Braces are prevalent during this stage of life, and when it comes time for a retainer, the wisdom teeth will soon develop. Wisdom teeth need space for development, and after continuing to wear a retainer, there will be this needed space to ensure growth.
In addition, if you wore braces because of severe rotation, gaps in your teeth, crowding, or an excessive overbite, then you desperately need a follow-up. A retainer of any kind will help your jaw bone and gums adapt to the changes in your teeth at a quicker rate. Before you know it, you will have the perfect smile.
There are many benefits to having a permanent retainer, which can prove to be better than other retainers in some cases. For instance, if you are a forgetful person, or things tend to slip your mind from time to time, this would be great for you. This also comes in handy if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of removing your retainer every given moment. Removing your retainer before and after every meal or before going to bed can be bothersome at times.
Much like a clear removable retainer, the permanent retainer is not noticeable. This retainer hides behind the back teeth of your lower jaw. So, you won’t have to constantly worry about them affecting your pictures or when you’re having an all-around good time. You also won’t have to deal with losing or easily damaging your retainer.
A permanent retainer is exactly what the name states. You will have longer-lasting results when you opt-in for this retainer. You also don’t have to constantly be conscious of the way you speak because it won’t affect your speech, as previously mentioned. As you can see, this retainer is quite convenient and will definitely do its job and align your teeth, but it has its downside.
Permanent retainers are great most of the time, but it has a few drawbacks. By now, you know that this retainer keeps the front teeth of your lower jaw from drifting back to their original structure. But, the other teeth are susceptible to relapsing. Unlike the permanent retainer, other retainers ensure that every tooth remains in place,
Also, permanent retainers are known for not being easily damageable, but depending on the foods you eat, you will find yourself in a predicament. That feeling of having food stuck in between your teeth is the worst, and a retainer doesn’t exactly help with this situation, to say the least. So, if you enjoy crunchy, gummy, and sticky foods, you might have to dial down their consumption to keep your retainer in good condition. You also need to constantly care for your retainer and teeth.
When it comes to retainers, you have to take special care of your dental hygiene. Removable retainers require the wearer to place the retainer in lukewarm water after consumption. Permanent retainers, specifically, are the most demanding of the bunch, however, and need constant care, being that it is always in your mouth.
This retainer requires a stricter oral routine than others. Hygiene is never a downside; it is for the betterment of yourself and is quite relieving. This is why you must attentively show care towards your permanent retainer and teeth. If you neglect to do so, things could go sideways.
Without the proper care, you will deal with bacteria rearing its ugly head in those hard-to-reach spaces. You will also face a build-up of plaque on your teeth. You should receive dental cleanings every so often to ensure this doesn’t occur. You can also avoid this by flossing frequently.
As mentioned before, you must avoid foods that easily get stuck between your teeth. You should also precisely floss your teeth to ensure every nook and cranny of your mouth is properly clean. Be as gentle as you can while doing so, applying too much pressure when flossing can result in your retainer sustaining damage. This just so happens to be one of the many topics people have questions about when in a predicament.
There are many questions when it comes to permanent retainers. One must take many precautions when dealing with dental hygiene and much more. So, here are a few answers to the questions you may have, hopefully solving your dilemma.
How long is the procedure?
This procedure uses a special bonding agent to “permanently” bind a metal wire to your teeth. This procedure can take up to an hour and the process can be quite uncomfortable.
How long do permanent retainers typically last?
It can take at least four to six months to permanently establish your teeth’s new positioning. However, they can last up to twenty years long; you won’t need to keep them in for that long, though. This is not a truly permanent alternative to other retainers, it is only called this because it is more challenging to remove than the others.
How to deal with a bent or moved retainer?
If you are dealing with a bend or moved retainer there is nothing you should do to personally fix the issue. You should instead seek an orthodontist so that they can repair or readjust your retainer. This shouldn’t bother you much, so proceed to make an appointment and you’ll be as good as new.
How to handle the breaking of a permanent retainer?
Dealing with a broken permanent retainer is a more pressing issue than the former. You should notice this issue rather quickly and immediately call an orthodontist. You wouldn’t want to suffer from any damage to your mouth otherwise.
Permanent retainers are a great alternative that offers many great benefits. It comes with its fair share of drawbacks, but this may be the option for you if you can handle it. Be sure to keep up with your dental hygiene and call an orthodontist if you run into problems.
Dr. Sarah Clarkson is an accomplished and dedicated orthodontist with over 15 years of experience in the dental field. She specializes in corrective orthodontics for both children and adults, with a particular focus on early intervention in pediatric patients. Her exceptional skills in applying braces, aligners, and other dental devices have provided countless patients with the confidence to smile freely.
Dr. Clarkson completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, one of the top dental schools in the nation. Afterward, she pursued her orthodontic specialty at the same institution, where she was awarded the prestigious Dr. Robert Ricketts Sunflower Orthodontics Fellowship for her exemplary work.
Always passionate about patient education, Dr. Clarkson takes the time to explain every treatment thoroughly, ensuring her patients understand the process and benefits of their orthodontic care. She strongly believes in a holistic approach to oral health and emphasizes the importance of regular dental care and a healthy lifestyle.
With a commitment to staying on top of the latest advancements in orthodontics, Dr. Clarkson regularly participates in continuing education and professional development activities. She is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and the American Dental Association (ADA).
In her free time, Dr. Clarkson enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, and painting.