After putting all of the work into straightening your teeth, you are going to want to make sure that they stay that way. In order to prevent your teeth from moving back after years of treatment, we recommend to wear a retainer. Today we will go over the pros and cons of adding a fixed retainer to your retention plan after finishing your braces treatment.
What are the main differences between removable and fixed retainers?
There are different types of retainers including Essex, Hawley, and bonded lingual. But all retainers can be broken up into two main categories, fixed or removable. Removable retainers can use a metal wire or transparent plastic to hold your teeth in place. Essex retainers and Hawley retainers are both removable retainers. Fixed retainers also called permanent or bonded retainers, use a metal wire that is glued to the back of your teeth.
The main difference between these two options is removable retainers take up more room but allow you to take them out, while fixed retainers are more discreet but you can not take them off of your teeth. The process of receiving the retainer is a little different as well. Bonding a fixed retainer can take up to 30 minutes. Removable retainers require a scan that only takes a couple of minutes but you will need to make a follow-up appointment to make sure they are fitting properly.
There is usually a cost difference between fixed and removable retainers. At some orthodontic centers, they will include one set of removable retainers in the cost of your treatment. Fixed retainers might be an additional cost depending on the protection plan you decide on. You can even use fixed and removable retainers together.
What are the benefits of adding a fixed retainer to your retention plan?
The biggest benefit to fixed retainers is that you do not need to remember to take them on and off or store them. If you had difficulty with compliance when having braces, this could be an option for you. Not needing to take them out also prevents you from losing them. Because fixed retainers are behind your teeth, no one will know you are wearing them.
Another appearance benefit to fixed retainers is that they do not affect your speech. So you don’t need to worry about sounding different when talking. Fixed retainers are also more difficult to damage during everyday use and are more effective at keeping your teeth straight.
Are there any disadvantages to a fixed retainer?
The biggest con of fixed retainers is that they make cleaning your teeth more difficult. Removable retainers allow you to brush and floss normally because you can take them out. But fixed retainers require more work around the area where the retainer bonded to the teeth. On the other hand, you can clean removable retainers easily by using dish soap or denture cleaning tabs with warm water. Not only do removable retainers make it easier to clean, but there is also less chance for food to stuck in your retainer because you can take them out when eating.
Replacing fixed and removable retainers.
Because removable retainers can be taken out, you need to remember to put them back in. if you go too long without using your retainer, your teeth will shift and you will need to get a new one. This is not an issue with fixed retainers. But both types have a risk of becoming damaged. If your retainer breaks or you lost it, you may need to pay a replacement fee. If your retainer breaks make sure to call your orthodontist as soon as possible to make an appointment. The longer you wait, the higher the chance of your teeth moving and the retainer no longer fitting.
No matter what retainer you decide is best for you, it is best to talk with your orthodontist about your decision. They will be able to give you additional information about your specific treatment that could help your decision.
If you decide on a fixed retainer, here are some tips on cleaning with them.
It is important to floss the area where the fixed retainer glues. This can be more difficult than flossing teeth without a fixed retainer. To make it easier, use a floss threader to get the floss underneath the retainer wire. Then gently raise and lower the floss along the sides of the teeth. Repeat these steps for each tooth.
Let us know which retainer you pick in the comment section below.