After having braces removed, you will be faced with the choice between wearing removable retainers regularly at night or having a permanent retainer bonded to the back of your teeth. Teeth tend to drift over time once the influence of braces is removed, and wearing a retainer after treatment will prevent your teeth from reverting to their previous positions.
What Classifies as a Permanent Retainer?
Permanent retainers are a type of retainer that is permanently placed in the mouth and is unable to be removed on a daily basis. This type of retainer is typically made up of a smile wire, which runs along the back of the teeth. A cement compound keeps the wire in place, and the bonding technique is similar to what was used to attach your brackets to your teeth while wearing metal braces.
Permanent Retainer Benefits
The main benefit to permanent retainers is that they are a very effective way to ensure your teeth stay in their proper position once braces are removed. You can rest easy knowing that your retainer is working at all times, lowering the risk of your teeth shifting back into their crooked positions. A permanent retainer doesn’t require any special care, and it is designed to keep your teeth straight for decades. If you opt for this style of a retainer, be sure to floss every day properly. It can be slightly more challenging to reach all areas between the teeth with permanent retainers.
While permanent retainers come with many mentionable benefits, you may need to consider permanent retainer removal in the future for any one of these reasons.
Sign #1: There’s Visible Damage
Like all dental appliances, a permanently bonded retainer is susceptible to damage. Visible damage can happen from eating hard foods, a mouth injury, or if the bonding failed and your retainer unattached from your teeth. It’s essential to have regular dental checkups so your dentist can monitor the current state of your retainer.
Sign #2: There Is Calculus Buildup On Your Teeth
Permanent retainers are attached to the teeth with dental cement. The fixed retainer often allows for calculus to build up in the areas that the retainer is located. A combination of plaque and bacteria buildup can harden and cause harm to your teeth and gums.
Sign #3: You’re Experiencing Pain and Discomfort
If you have started to experience pain or sensitivity around the area the retainer is located, that may mean that your teeth have shifted. In the cause of pain, you should contact your dentist or orthodontist so your teeth and retainer can be examined.
Sign #4: It’s Been Many Years Since It Was Placed
There is no set amount of time that a permanent retainer will last. While some patients have successfully worn their retainers for up to 20 years, others may need to have them removed or replaced sooner. In most cases, there are no long-term effects to wearing a permanent retainer so long as you are watching for the indications of it needing to be removed and replaced.
Having Your Permanent Retainer Removed
If you are experiencing any of these signs or other issues, it’s recommended to schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment may lead to other dental problems that shouldn’t go undetected.
Because permanent retainers are cemented into place, they should only be removed by a dental professional. Attempting to remove a permanent retainer yourself could lead to serious injury and damage to your teeth. If you have concerns over your permanent retainer and believe that it might be time to have your retainer removed, contact Thomas Orthodontics today.