Permanent Retainer

Most orthodontic treatments span for about a few months and go for as long as a few years, depending on the case. Some treatments follow a two-phase procedure, beginning with the use of removable appliances, before the braces are attached; some treatment procedures go a single phase — either way, treatments end with the removal of the brackets and the wearing of a permanent retainer.

Permanent Retainer - BracesOrInvisalign.comWhen the teeth are moved around the jaw, this happens through bone breaking and bone building. So that teeth maybe moved, enough force is directed to teeth so break bone. The new position of the teeth is held by the successful healing of the bone around it. Bone building takes some time. When the braces are removed, although the teeth seem to be stable in their new place they are not. By wearing the retainers, you hold the place of the teeth, up to the time the bone is strong enough to maintain the teeth in its new position.

Orthodontic retainers may be removable or permanent. Orthodontic patients are required to wear their retainers for a minimum of three years, but they may be worn for longer. If it is not easy for you to make a commitment to wear the appliance, you can opt for permanent retainers.

Pros and Cons of Permanent Retainers

When one is looking for a permanent means to retain the new position of the teeth, he can get permanent retainers. Permanent retainers are usually made of a thick round wire, often the same type of wire that is used for traditional retainers and other dental appliances. With the help of dental cast or mold, the technician shapes the wire, either as one straight or coiled wire passing through the arch, or with an intricate scalloping arrangement to follow the shape of the lingual surfaces of the teeth. The length of the wire is usually from the molar on one side to the molar on the other, so that it a ring may be placed around these molars, or it is merely held by adhesive, around the area of posterior teeth on each side. The use of permanent retainers can be both good and bad, depending on how you look at it.


  • It is placed on the lingual or back side of the teeth so it is not seen on patient?s smile.

  • It is fixed on the teeth so there is no problem with losing or forgetting to wear it.

  • There is no palatal coverage so it does not disrupt speech and it does not pose any hindrance during meals, as well.


  • It?s placement, right by the side of the tongue can be a problem because it can be quite annoying to have it where you tongue can touch it always

  • The placement of the wires makes them most susceptible to collect plaque and tartar. On a normal patient, the lingual surface of the teeth are already the most popular areas where plaque and tartar accumulates, and with a wire at the back of the teeth the collection can be expected the more.

  • Especially when they are merely adhered by a bonding material, they can get dislodged easily.

If you are thinking of going for permanent retainers, understand that there is nothing wrong with going this route, just as long as you know what you are coming up against. If you do, and you believe that this is a good choice for you, then you can go ahead and talk to your dentist about some permanent retainers after your braces.