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Permanent Retainer

Things You Should Know (But Don't) About Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainer is a type of retainer that is placed on the teeth after orthodontic treatment. Read on to know about its indications and limitations.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Almost all of us, as teens, have had orthodontic braces, because very few of us were born with perfectly aligned teeth. Once the orthodontist removes your braces, then the last thing that you need to keep in mind to complete your treatment is to wear retainers. The last phase of orthodontic treatment is retention, that is, you have to try to maintain the teeth in their new position.
If the teeth are not retained in their new position, then there may be a relapse of your treatment and eventually, you may even need re-orthodontic treatment. So, if you don't want it to come to that, you have to keep in mind that you need to wear retainers after orthodontic treatment. There are two kinds, which are removable and permanent retainers. Both of these are fitted by the orthodontist. Here, we will discuss the indications and limitations of the latter.
A permanent retainer is fixed to the teeth or is bonded to the teeth. It is in the form of a wire that is bonded to the front six teeth of the upper and lower dental arch, but on the lingual side of the teeth. It is bonded by the dentist and is not removable by the patient, which is why it is labeled as permanent.
Not all patients can get a fixed retainer on the completion of their orthodontic treatment. This one can be fitted in the case of certain patients. Firstly, patients who will probably be very lax with wearing their retainers after braces are good candidates. As mentioned earlier, if proper care is not taken and they are not worn, there are chances of a relapse. Hence, if an orthodontist feels that the patient is not motivated enough to wear removable ones after treatment, then he can fit a fixed one into the mouth of the patient.
The dental occlusion of the patient is also to be taken into account. Patients who do not have an adequate amount of overjet may not be able to get a permanent one after braces. Also, patients who have a tendency of tooth decay or that have very poor dental health should ideally not get a fixed retainer.
Despite the fact that this appliance is very comfortable and is quite convenient in ensuring that the teeth are maintained in their position, there are a few downsides of getting a fixed retainer. Firstly, since it is fixed in the mouth, you will have it in place while eating and sleeping, and in fact, at all times. Thus, you will also need to brush your teeth and take care of your oral health keeping this in mind. It may be a bit difficult to take dental care while you have these appliance on, because cleaning the interdental areas may not be very easy. Unlike in the case of removable ones, you can't just remove these and dip them in a cleaner - you need to take proper care.
Secondly, one of the other factors that come into play is the cost factor. Usually, the cost of the permanent one will not be included in the cost of orthodontics that will be quoted earlier on. So, you may have to pay separately for it. Also, if you come complaining of an instance where it breaks because you chewed on something hard, then the orthodontist may charge you separately for the repair.
As mentioned earlier, this is an appliance that is fitted by the dentist, and so, its removal can only be done by a dentist and cannot be done by the patient. Even if you do need to get it removed, please get it done by a dentist and do not attempt to remove it yourself. So, despite the many advantages of this fixed appliance, there are a few downsides of it too. You need to sit down with your orthodontist and decide on whether you are an eligible candidate for this treatment or not.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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