Is a Permanent Retainer Right for You?

Permanent RetainerThe retention phase of orthodontic treatment begins when your braces are removed and typically lasts for a minimum of 2 years. During this time, it’s essential that you wear your retainer as instructed to help prevent the teeth from shifting out of alignment.

Permanent retainers are made of a stainless steel flexible wire that is bonded to the backside of the lower middle six teeth. They can also be placed on the top teeth if there is a space that needs to stay closed and if the bite allows for one there.

A permanent retainer is ideal for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” If you’re likely to misplace, lose or forget to wear your retainer, a bonded or permanent retainer may be a good solution. For parents of young children, this may be a wise option to ensure compliance during the retention phase. Permanent retainers don’t need to be replaced when the mouth changes as primary teeth are lost and the remaining permanent teeth come in.

It’s important to note that bonded retainers are more difficult to keep clean. Because the wire runs on the backside of the front teeth, floss needs to be threaded below the wire to effectively clean between teeth. It is also common for the wire to come unglued from the teeth due to the cement being slowly worn away during normal chewing. There are also certain food restrictions associated with permanent retainers placed on the top teeth as biting into some hard foods can damage the retainer.

Our staff will provide you with full instructions on how to properly brush and floss your teeth while wearing one of these fixed retainers. We recommend that you routinely see your family dentist while wearing a permanent retainer for checkups and cleanings to ensure that you don’t develop any problems.­ If you have any questions or curious if permanent retainers are right for you, please feel free to contact us.