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When Do You Need a Permanent Retainer?

When Do You Need a Permanent Retainer?

Once your braces are removed or your aligner treatment is done, you might think that’s the end of your orthodontic treatment. But there’s another phase of care — the retainer phase — that’s designed to lock in your results and help your teeth maintain their new positions.

While many people wear a removable retainer for several months or more after treatment, a permanent retainer is a better option for others. Sometimes called bonded retainers, permanent retainers are affixed to the back of your teeth using a strong dental adhesive. You may wear the retainer for months or even years, depending on your treatment plan.

At Freedom Orthodontics in Cedar Park, Texas, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, offers both removable and permanent retainers to ensure each patient receives optimal care. Here’s why he might recommend a permanent retainer for you.

When the retainer routine is cumbersome

Removable retainers have a specific care routine and rules for wear that need to be followed to get the best results. Many patients find following these guidelines too time-consuming, or they may forget to care for their retainers or to put them back in after meals. 

Since permanent retainers are bonded to your teeth, there’s no need to worry about forgetting to put them back in, and they can be cared for with regular brushing and flossing.

When your teeth are prone to shifting

After orthodontic treatment, the last thing you want is for your teeth to move out of their new positions. Some people have a jaw structure or other issues, like chronic tooth grinding, that make movement more likely. In these instances, Dr. Smith may recommend a permanent retainer to provide constant stability for your teeth.

When traditional retainers are uncomfortable

Traditional retainers include a wire affixed to a base that rests on your upper palate or your lower gum and jaw. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, you may find this uncomfortable. Permanent retainers just use a wire attached to the back of your teeth, so you don’t need to worry about gagging or discomfort.

When you want a more discreet option

Traditional retainers use a wire that rests on the front of your teeth, making this option very visible. Since permanent retainers are attached to the back of your teeth, they’re completely hidden and invisible to others.

When you have orthodontic surgery

Sometimes, a permanent retainer is adhered to your teeth after a surgical procedure to address more severe bite or alignment issues. In these instances, the retainer helps maintain your results and prevent instability that could cause future bite-related problems.

When you’re likely to get better long-term results

Dr. Smith has extensive experience using both permanent and removable retainers. If he feels permanent retainers will provide you with better results, he may recommend that option. Sometimes, he recommends a permanent retainer followed by a removable retainer, depending on each patient’s unique needs.

Learn more about your retainer options

Wearing a retainer is part of every orthodontic treatment plan. Dr. Smith recommends the best option to help you maintain your results, so you can enjoy a lifetime of beautiful smiles. To learn more about retainer options, call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.

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