If you’ve heard of braces, you’ve probably heard of retainers. But did you know there are two main types of retainers you can wear after treatment? We’ll cover both types today at Ollins Orthodontics; we want to discuss why you should choose a fixed retainer. Let’s get started!
What’s A Retainer?
This is a good place to begin! A retainer is an orthodontic appliance used to maintain the alignment of teeth after a treatment like braces or clear aligners. They prevent teeth from shifting back into their original positions, allowing the results of treatment to last for a long time.
Fixed Vs. Removable
There are two varieties of retainers: fixed and removal. Each version has its advantages, but we’ll give you a general comparison. Remember, the choice is up to you and Dr. Bruce or Dr. Gabriel to determine the best option for your specific situation.
- Fixed (Permanent) Retainers:
- A fixed retainer consists of a thin wire or a set of wires that are bonded to the back surface of the teeth.
- Usually, it’s used for the lower front teeth, but can also be placed on the upper front teeth.
- Fixed retainers are designed to stay in place 24/7, providing continuous support to keep your teeth aligned.
- Removable Retainer:
- A removable retainer is a custom-made, clear plastic appliance that fits over the teeth in their corrected positions. It looks a lot like Invisalign treatment.
- These can be used on both the upper and lower teeth and are designed to be taken in and out by the patient at will.
- Adjustments can be made by the orthodontist as the patient wears the removable appliance.
- Removable retainers are usually worn as instructed by your orthodontist, typically during the night but sometimes during the day.
Why You Should Choose A Fixed Retainer
Here at Ollins, we are a huge supporter of fixed retainers, as opposed to just the traditional removable version, which is all that is offered at some offices. Certain cases will necessitate removable retainers, but here are some of the main properties and benefits of a fixed retainer:
- Stability: These are highly effective at maintaining the position of a treated smile because they don’t go anywhere! Being fixed in place means you likely won’t experience relapse, especially in situations where there’s a high risk of teeth shifting again.
- No Forgetting: This is a huge point of popularity for a lot of patients—you don’t have to keep up with them! Meaning there’s zero risk of leaving them behind someplace and needing a replacement.
- Durability: Removable retainers might be damaged or broken if you don’t keep track of them, whereas that isn’t an issue with the fixed version.
- Long-Term Solution: You might be wondering how long these appliances last. Well, they’re designed to last a long time. If the circumstances are right for a patient, they can stay in place for many years or even for life.
- Invisibility: Sometimes, even the subtlety of clear aligners is still too visible for some individuals. We get it! Fixed retainers stay bonded to the back of your teeth, which means they’re undetectable when you smile or laugh the vast majority of the time.
- Custom Fit: We take precise measurements of the patient’s teeth and mouth to ensure a seamless fit. The wire we use varies based on the patient’s condition and comes in different thicknesses and materials. If extra stability is needed, we might use a thicker wire, while a thinner one might be chosen for comfort.
- Protection From Teeth-Grinding: In some cases, this type of retainer can provide some protection against the effects of bruxism (teeth grinding). They stabilize the bite and minimize the risk of damage.
- Unaffected Speech: Removable aligners can cause mild speech impediments, like lisps or difficulty pronouncing certain words and sounds. Fixed retainers don’t have this disadvantage.
- Lower Maintenance: The appliance itself doesn’t require any additional attention from the patient apart from avoiding outright superficial damage. You can continue with usual oral hygiene routines, like brushing and flossing. If you feel like food is stuck in the wire, simply spend a bit more time cleaning that area.
Ollins Orthodontics Can Fix Your Smile!
Now you know all about fixed retainers! They sound convenient because they are. We’re so pleased to offer this option, in addition to alignment treatments like traditional braces and Invisalign, to make sure all of your hard work stays effective for years to come. If you’re interested in switching to a fixed retainer or other orthodontic treatment options, call our Nutley office at 973.667.0771!