Are Permanent Retainers Worth It?

Permanent retainer

After spending time and money straightening your teeth with braces or Invisalign, keeping them in their new position is critical. Following your orthodontic treatment, your dentist may recommend wearing a retainer. Learn about permanent retainers and whether they are worth it for oral health.

What are Permanent Retainers?

A permanent retainer is a metal wire attached to the teeth that is adjusted to your bite to keep the teeth in their correct place. Permanent retainers are typically used for the lower teeth, while removable retainers are recommended for the upper teeth. They are often used if a patient forgets or prefers not to use a removable retainer.

How Does a Permanent Retainer Work?

Permanent retainers are used after orthodontic treatment to retain tooth alignment. The benefits of braces and other orthodontic treatments may not last without a retainer.

When your dentist applies a permanent retainer, they use a single metal wire or multi-strand braided wire bonded to the lingual (rear) surface of your teeth with dental adhesive. The wire connects the front incisors to the canines on either side of the dental arch, preventing lateral movement or rotation.

Benefits of a Permanent Retainer

There are many benefits to wearing a permanent retainer. Since the retainer cannot be removed, it is much more likely to help keep the teeth in their desired position. This is especially useful for people who have difficulty following the directions necessary to succeed with a removable retainer. Permanent retainers are also much more helpful in more severe cases of misalignment.

Another benefit of permanent retainers is cost. While removable retainers may be less expensive upfront, they can be misplaced or damaged. Permanent retainers can last upwards of 20 years, meaning you likely will never have to replace it. This can save you hundreds of dollars in equipment and service costs in the long run.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a permanent retainer is that you can essentially forget about it outside of routine maintenance. With a removable retainer, you must insert and remove the retainer every morning and night and clean it daily. Once a permanent retainer is installed, all that is necessary is regular maintenance, such as brushing your teeth and the retainer.

Cons of Permanent Retainers

Although permanent retainers offer many advantages over removable or temporary retainers, there are some disadvantages to be aware of. You may need to slightly modify your diet or be more careful when you eat. Hard foods like raw vegetables, whole fruits such as apples, and tough steak can break or damage the wire. High-sugar foods can also cause plaque buildup around the wires and wear away the dental cement.

Unlike a removable retainer, which only requires a dental visit to make an impression, a permanent retainer requires a more lengthy procedure to bond the wires in place.

Get a Permanent Retainer at Valley Dental Care

Valley Dental Care offers top-of-the-line permanent retainers at a cost-effective price. If you are considering a retainer for your teeth, want a permanent option, or need a dental cleaning, schedule a consultation with Valley Dental Care by calling our offices in Aurora (630) 892-2193 or Oswego (630) 551-7000.