If you are about to finish up your treatment with braces, you may be interested in finding out more about retainers. Your orthodontist will likely recommend one style over another based on your needs and lifestyle.
Permanent retainer – Are retainers permanent?
Whether you are wearing a permanent retainer or a removable retainer, it is very important that you understand how to take care of it. If you visit your North Miami orthodontist for braces, your orthodontist will provide you with the necessary information about looking after your retainer well.
Looking after your retainer is important. It is also necessary to maintain good oral health after your orthodontic treatment with braces. You will need to follow any medical advice you receive such as cleaning your teeth well, making sure to clean the front, the back, and the sides of the teeth by brushing and flossing, and whatever other advice your orthodontist gives you to avoid damage to your teeth, especially when you have a permanent retainer. Your orthodontist may also recommend a floss threader to make flossing easier. In some cases, depending on how well it is maintained and the type of retainer you get, you may be able to use the retainer for up to 20 years.
Because of the long term use and depending on the type of retainer you get, and its position on your teeth, it may be more difficult to maintain good dental hygiene with a permanent retainer. However, it is important to ensure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions on maintaining good dental hygiene.
There are a few different types of retainers, such as removable retainers, Hawley retainers, fixed retainers, Essix retainers, or bonded retainers. If you’re unsure about what some of these are, ask your orthodontist.
However, regardless of whichever retainer you orthodontist prescribes, the function is still the same. Retainers function to help hold your teeth in the appropriate position after the treatment with braces ends. Sometimes you may only need a retainer for your lower front teeth, and sometimes you may need a retainer for all your teeth. Because you might need a retainer long-term, it is important to understand that maintaining your retainer can help preserve it, save you money, and minimize wear and tear.
However before we go on, let’s see what some of the experts have to say on the topic of retainers.
Orthodontists define retention as ensuring that teeth remain in the optimal aesthetic and functional position after orthodontic treatment (Kartal & Kaya, 2019).
The retention phase of orthodontic treatment is generally absolutely necessary to ensure tooth stability after treatment (Kartal & Kaya, 2019).
Additionally, there are other factors that can affect retention (Kartal & Kaya,2019), even when a retainer has been prescribed. An example of this is maintaining and caring for the retainer.
Where do you get a retainer and are permanent retainers different?
You typically will get a retainer from your orthodontist, or from the supplier that your orthodontist may recommend. It is important that you get your orthodontist’s recommendation before buying a retainer separately as the orthodontist will be able to guide you on the specific retainer for your specific needs. Your orthodontist may recommend permanent retainers or removable retainers.
Permanent retainers are just that, they are permanent in the sense that your orthodontist will affix it to your teeth using a special bonding agent, to ensure your teeth are kept in a fixed position. They are attached to the back sides of the teeth to anchor.
What are the pros and cons of a permanent bottom retainer? And what does a permanent retainer cost?
One of the main advantages of having a permanent retainer affixed your teeth is that you don’t have to worry about losing the retainer because it is always there. Another advantage is that you don’t have to remove the retainer and place it back on your teeth and you don’t have to worry about not wearing your retainer for the amount of time necessary. When you have a removable retainer, your orthodontist may advise you to ensure that you wear your retainer for 22 hours a day and this might be a challenge for some. However, with a permanent fixed retainer, you don’t have to worry about not being able to fulfill this need.
On the other hand, having a fixed retainer on your teeth might make brushing and flossing certain parts of your teeth a little more challenging. However, your orthodontist will discuss the pros and cons of a permanent retainer with you to ensure that you make the right decision in your choice.
Permanent retainers can also be more expensive initially than removable retainers. The cost of a permanent retainer generally depends on your specific orthodontic requirements. On average, a permanent retainer will be between $150 and $500 and if you require multiple retainers for your top and bottom teeth, you might end up spending $1,000-$1500 over time. However, if you properly maintain your retainers, they can last up to 20 years before needing to be replaced.
Why do orthodontists recommend permanent retainers? And what is a permanent lower retainer?
There are many reasons that your orthodontist may recommend a permanent retainer. They include having had treatment for severe rotation and crowding with the lower incisors, if you had a deep overbite, if your teeth have been extracted, if you had gaps between your front teeth, or if you’ve experienced a loss of teeth before treatment, among many other reasons.
Candidates for permanent retainers may have these retainers on the lower teeth because a permanent retainer holds your teeth without you having to think about it. If your orthodontist thinks your lower teeth will benefit from a permanent retainer, then they will recommend a permanent retainer which is generally a solid or braided wire that is curved to fit the shape of your newly straightened bottom teeth.
Why do some people need a wire retainer behind their teeth and what if your permanent retainer broke?
There are many reasons why some people need a wire retainer behind their teeth. One of the advantages of attaching the retainer to the back of the teeth is that it wouldn’t be visible when you smile. So if you are concerned about aesthetics, you may want the retainer behind your teeth. Another reason why bonded retainers are placed behind the teeth is to avoid a relapse or unnecessary teeth movement. These retainers are great if the patient had a huge gap or gaps in the front teeth before the treatment. They can also do their work quietly without damaging your teeth.
Unfortunately, sometimes your permanent retainer might break. One of the reasons for this could be because the bonding material that was used has become too thin as a result of actions like chewing and brushing. Your permanent retainer might also break if it becomes de-bonded from your teeth due to a large impact force or if you bite on something too hard or if there’s a fracture. Additionally, anything that causes the permanent retainer to lose its strength over time can cause it to break.
Fortunately, if your permanent retainer breaks, it does not always signify an emergency, but you should speak to you orthodontist to ensure that it is repaired in a timely fashion.
Kartal, Y., & Kaya, B. (2019). Fixed Orthodontic Retainers: A Review. Turkish journal of orthodontics, 32(2), 110–114. https://doi.org/10.5152/TurkJOrthod.2019.18080
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