Orthodontics Blog

Are Permanent Retainers Safe?
After orthodontic treatment with either traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners, a retainer must be worn while sleeping to retain the smile structure created by the orthodontic process. In this blog, Dr. Ryan Caudill and Dr. Angela McNeight will introduce the idea of permanent retainers, and will discuss the pros and cons, as well as answer the question “Are permanent retainers safe?”

Teeth are more than likely to move back to their original positions after orthodontic treatment if retainers are not worn as directed. Retention starts when you get your retainers and lasts until you don’t want your teeth to be straight anymore. 

There are many different types of retainers. Our doctors will talk to you about which type is best for your bite when you near the end of orthodontic treatment. In some cases, a fixed (also called permanent) retainer is a good solution. The retainer consists of a thin wire bonded to the back of the front top and/or bottom teeth. 

The Pros
The positive thing about these fixed retainers is that the teeth that are attached to it will not move when your removable retainer is out of your mouth. With every permanent retainer we place, we usually also provide a clear essix (Invisalign style) retainer to wear over the bonded retainer. Thus, if the permanent retainer comes debonded from one of the teeth, your teeth will not move if you are wearing the retainer over it nightly. With a guarantee that your retainer is in place, there is a better chance of your smile retaining its post-braces result.

The Cons
You will be able to feel the wire with your tongue, but most patients get used to this right away and then do not mind it. It is more difficult to floss the teeth that have the bonded retainer. So good hygiene is one of our requirements if you want a permanent retainer bonded to your teeth. If the retainer comes loose from one or more of the teeth, it will need to be repaired. 

Dr. Ryan Caudill summarizes, “There are no dangers to having a permanent retainer if it is cleaned well. The metal and bonding material are safe. Patients can also choose to have it removed at any time if they decide that a removable retainer is more their style or if they are not cleaning it properly.”