Removable or Permanent Retainer?

types of retainers

Once your braces come off, the work continues. When it comes to what happens after braces, the proper maintenance routine will ensure your smile stays spectacular. There are two types of retainers recommended after treatment: removable and permanent. The recommendation of which type is best will be made by your orthodontist, but ultimately it is your decision. So, should you get a removable or permanent retainer?

About Removable Retainers

A removable retainer can be made a few different ways. One is called a Hawley retainer and typically consists of a wire, which runs along the front of the teeth, held in place by an acrylic base. The base has hooks, so it can attach to the backs of the teeth to keep the retainer in place. Your orthodontist will require you to wear your retainer at least 8 hours a day. Your orthodontist may recommend 24-hour wear for the first 6 months depending on your specific needs. Retainers should be worn for the rest of your life to prevent shifting.

Benefits of Removable Retainers

The obvious benefit of this type of retainer is the fact that it is removable, making it much easier to keep up with a proper oral hygiene routine. Other benefits of removable retainers include:

  • Easy to clean
  • Fits into everyday life
  • Comfortable way to ensure your teeth maintain their positions

If you opt for a removable retainer, orthodontists urge patients to have a dedicated place to put it when it’s not in your mouth, so you can avoid the risk of it becoming misplaced. Your orthodontist will give you a case when you receive your removable retainer. It’s best to carry this case with you so you have a safe place to store it at all times.

About Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are just that – they are permanently placed in the mouth and are unable to be removed on a daily basis. This type of retainer is normally made up of a small wire, which runs along the back of the teeth. It is held onto the teeth with a cement compound, which is similar to what was used to attach your brackets to your teeth if you had braces.

Benefits of Permanent Retainers

This is a very effective way to ensure your teeth stay in their proper places once braces are removed. You can rest easy knowing your retainer is working at all times, lowering the risk of your teeth shifting back into their old positions. If you opt for this type of retainer, be sure to properly floss, so you’re reaching all areas between the teeth, as this can be slightly challenging with permanent retainers. In some cases, your orthodontist may recommend you have both permanent and removable retainers.

The Right Choice for You

In the end, it all depends on what works for you, and what your orthodontist recommends. If a removable retainer is recommended, you must be sure you will be responsible storing it and wearing it properly. If a permanent option is recommended and you feel it may work better for you, cleaning it and taking care of it will be key. You’ve worked hard to get that smile, so be sure to maintain it properly!

At Charleston Orthodontic Specialists, we’re ready to help you get a winning smile! Call (843) 4-BRACES to get started with our team!