The second main step to complete your journey to straight teeth is to find a retainer that will help keep your teeth straight and finish the orthodontic treatment process that your braces already started. While your orthodontist or dentist will help you make this decision and find out which retainer is the best for you, it’s always helpful to go into this appointment with some knowledge about the different type of retainers there are.
Though there are many different types of orthodontic retainers available, such as fixed retainers, clear retainers, bonded retainers, and Essix retainers, there are two main categories of retainers you can choose from: permanent and removable. As the names suggest, permanent retainers are retainers that you cannot remove without a dentist’s assistance while removable retainers are those that you can remove yourself at any given time, such as when you eat. While both orthodontic treatment options are great and help to make sure your teeth stay straight after your braces have been removed, both have their own advantages and disadvantages for different people. And that’s why we’re here to set it straight.
First, let’s talk about what each retainer entails, starting with permanent retainers.Naturally, as the name suggests, permanent retainers cannot be removed once it is installed in your mouth. It is there permanently until your dentist decides it is time for it to be removed.
Permanent retainers are excellent because they offer fantastic long-term results for overall straight teeth, compared to removable ones (for reasons we’ll discuss below). Because you are wearing these orthodontic retainers all day 24/7 for your given timeframe or schedule your orthodontist has given you, there is never a time where the retainer is not doing its job. This constant retainer presence results in a better long-term result, with your teeth remaining straight for a longer time than those who use removable retainers. These types of retainers are alsogreat for those who would rather not worry about having to deal with a removable retainer. If you would like to just forget about your retainer, check out permanent ones. You don’t have to do any of the extra work that removable retainers demand!
However, just like removable retainers, permanent retainers do have some negatives attached to them. One of the most significant negatives, or drawbacks, has to do with flossing. Oh, that dreadful flossing! There are a lot of people who have found it much more difficult to floss when they have a permanent retainer, which is no fun because flossing daily and habitually is a must.Obviously, this isn’t a horrible negative, but it can be quite annoying.
The fact that you can’t remove these retainers whenever you might want to is also a disadvantage. Of course, we would all like to have a retainer that we take out for any given moment—but that’s something that permanent ones don’t allow, which isn’t a lot of fun, though the disadvantages could be worse.
Removable retainers, as we talked about above, are removable. While retainer schedules are different depending on the patient and their recommended schedule, there is probably going to be a time where you are not wearing your retainer, which is the most significant difference between this type and permanent ones. A lot of patients are told to just use their retainer at night and take it out when they wake up in the morning while some may wear it during the day as well and take it out when they eat. Everyone is different!
One of the most significant disadvantages of removable retainers deals with forgetfulness. It’s very easy to forget to put in your retainer before you fall asleep; therefore, limiting the advantages that you should be gaining from those hours. This has been done so many times before by so many patients that it’s worth mentioning. If you’re looking for a removable retainer, you have to make sure that you use your retainer at all times when you’re supposed to, otherwise, your straight teeth won’t stay as straight as they should!
As we mentioned, permanent retainers offer a better long-term solution to straight teeth than removable retainers do. When you have permanent retainers, you can’t take them out,and they stay on your teeth all day. With removable retainers, you don’t get that added benefit of long-term straight teeth because you won’t be wearing your retainer 24/7 like those who wear permanent retainers do.
However, permanent retainers offer so many advantages as well. You can take these retainers out with ease at any given moment, making brushing your teeth and flossing very simple. Also, it’s quite nice to have the ability to remove the retainer whenever you need to for whatever reason, something you just can’t do with permanent ones.
Which Is the best?
While one retainer might look better to you than the other, after talking to your dentist or orthodontist, you might be recommended to use both or a combination of the two. It’s not rare to find a patient that uses a removable retainer on the top half of their teeth and then a lower retainer on the lower half of their teeth. While all teeth tend to shift and move with time and age, lower teeth shift more than your upper half of teeth will. Therefore, you might be recommended to have a permanent retainer on the lower half of your teeth to make sure they stay as straight as possible, which is totally normal.
While both permanent and removable types of retainers have their disadvantages and advantages, the best way to find out which retainer is best for you is by talking to your orthodontist to make sure every tooth is aligned perfectly. It’s always vital that you follow your dentist’s directions and guidelines to make sure that your teeth stay as straight as possiblein the long run.
No retainer is better than the other. Every patient and their mouth is different, depending on their needs and history, so it’s difficult to directly determine which one is the absolute perfect match for you. Just make sure you follow your own orthodontist’s recommendation and advice and you’ll be on your way to a straight smile free of both braces and retainers in no time!