Permanent or Removable Retainers: Which is Right for You?
October 11th, 2012
When the time to remove your braces finally arrives, it is very exciting.Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are facedwith choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent,removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow yourdentist’s recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainerbeforehand can be helpful.
Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generallyput a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning.Regardless of your retainer schedule, you’ll be able to enjoy some timewith no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgottenat times, and this means you won’t be taking full advantage of teethretention.
Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can takeit out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challengewith a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective,they don’t tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especiallyif they are not used as directed.
Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “getit and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth,you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanentlyaffixed to your teeth.
Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainertypically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening thana removable one. You can’t forget to put it in — it’s already there!Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often failto get used as often as they should be.
One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find itmore difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show youeffective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.
Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example,a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lowerones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing yourretainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow ourorthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer,regardless of its type.
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