Dental Retainers for Teeth: Pros and Cons

Dental retainers are one of the most common options to make your teeth look healthy and attractive. There are two types of dental retainers for teeth – fixed retainers (or permanent retainers) and removable retainers. Permanent retainers are made of metal yarn and attached to your teeth with the help of glue. As a rule, such metal wire is even and solid or featured with a braided or braced texture. This fixture is fastened to your teeth and adjusted to your dental occlusion to prevent your grinders from shifting or becoming crooked.

Usually, fixed retainers go after braces, barring your teeth from turning back to the place they used to take. Sometimes, orthodontists recommend having them in case you have trouble complying with their instructions as far as removable retainers are concerned. However, it requires a decent volume of tooth surface area for the bonding fabric to set the retainer right where it has to be.

There are cases when orthodontists prefer to combine fixed and removable retainers for better long-term outcomes. Nevertheless, recent observations proved that fixed retainers are becoming more and more popular.

Keep in mind that removable retainers are usually set to the upper teeth, and permanent retainers — to the bottom teeth.

Further, in this review, we will recite all the advantages and disadvantages of dental retainers.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers can be referred to as bonded retainers, lingual wire, or permanent retainers, and as a rule, they are used on the bottom teeth of the lower jaw. The synonym “lingual wire” proceeds from the concept of gluing it to the back surface of the teeth. For effective and sustained use, it is better to fasten the bonding fabric to the bottom teeth known as canine teeth.

The notion of “fixed retainer” literally explains what the attachment performs: fixes your teeth in a permanent position not allowing them to move. It may happen that you will need to have a fixed retainer attached to your teeth to the end of your life.

An orthodontist may consider the removal of your fixed retainer if it irritates your teeth or gums or if it brings about too much tartar or plaque formation around them.

The Choice Between Fixed and Removable Retainers

Benefits of Fixed Retainers

  • Your teeth will be kept in the right place all the time since you do not have to take them off and on.
  • Since your retainer is fixed behind the teeth, nobody else except you would know about it.
  • You will never feel self-conscious among people since your fixed retainer does not affect the way you pronounce words.
  • You will never lose it since it is reliably glued to your teeth.
  • Your permanent retainer is almost invincible in your mouth.
  • It helps your teeth to be aligned in a proper arrangement all the time.

Benefits of Removable Retainers

  • When you eat, clean your teeth, or just when you feel like it, you can always take them out.
  • The process of taking a mold of your mouth requires only a minute, and a removable retainer made on it will be with you for many years.
  • You may use any appropriate cleaning solution to clean your removable retainer and avoid the danger of having bacteria swarming on it.
  • You may always take your retainer out and easily floss your teeth.
  • It would be good to set a removable retainer for upper teeth. The reason is that the bottom teeth may bite your upper teeth retainer and may damage it or make it less secure.

A fixed retainer can be a perfect option for those who have trouble while taking it off and on or due to some cosmetic reasons. Nevertheless, both retainers have their strong and weak points.

Disadvantages of Fixed Retainers

Further, you may look through several shortcomings of fixed retainers:

  • The process of attachment of a fixed retainer may seem to be long and a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes, it takes up to one hour to fasten a fixed retainer to the teeth, whereas a removable alternative requires only a quick procedure of taking a mold to make your future removable retainer fit your mouth.
  • Permanent retainers demand extra effort when it comes to flossing and brushing your teeth. In this case, any negligent attitude to the process of cleaning may cause gum disease unless you do it diligently and properly.
  • A constant metal object inside your mouth may bring about uncomfortable feelings. Your tongue may rub against the lingual wire, which, in turn, may lead to some scratches or irritation.
  • Some types of food can become challenging to eat. When you bite something hard, like an apple or a well-done beefsteak, it may change the shape of the wire. In addition, any food containing artificial sugar or soda can wear down the fixed retainer, and it may become loose.
  • Despite any efforts and careful attitude, your permanent retainer may have a chance to break off, which will require additional expenses to replace it.

Your Next Steps in Case Your Retainer Lost Its Shape or Moved

The main rule is do not try to repair your retainer by yourself. If you press too much in the wrong place trying to fix the retainer, it may snap and hurt your teeth. If the shape of your retainer is changed, it will not be holding your teeth in a preset position anymore. If it happens, you have to do the following:

  • Visit your orthodontist. If your retainer does not cause too much inconvenience injuring your mouth, make an appointment with the doctor as quickly as possible to repair it.
  • Contact your orthodontist or dentist urgently. If your retainer is broken and hurts your mouth, visit your doctor right away to diminish any further consequences to the teeth and mouth.
  • Make sure you have your orthodontist’s emergency contact. Most orthodontists and dentists provide their clients with a hotline so that you may be able to get in contact with them in case of an emergency. Do not forget to request one to feel safe in the future for any such issues.