Are permanent retainers bad for the overall dental health? What are the benefits of using them? What are other types of dental retainers? Find out!
From classic options to imperceptible models, it is important to acquire a good retainer to care for your teeth and prevent teeth from shifting over time.
At the end of an orthodontic treatment it is essential that patients take care of the work done with the help of dental retainers. These devices play a crucial role, since they prevent the teeth from returning to their original position over time.
The so-called “retention period” is the last part of any orthodontic process and taking it seriously is key so that the teeth do not crook naturally again. Fortunately, today you can find various types of retainers, which are imperceptible and allow us to preserve healthy teeth and bite.
What is the function of dental retainers?
The main function of this device is to maintain the correct position of the teeth after treatment with brackets or invisible aligners. Acquiring quality dental retainers is vital, since they must be used in a mandatory manner for as long as each dentist requires. This in order to also prevent dental loss and improve malocclusion problems.
According to research led by the Department of Interdisciplinary Dentistry of the Medical University of Pomerania, Poland, the stability of the position of the teeth after finishing orthodontics depends on multiple factors; from personal habits to a correct adherence. Therefore, no retainer can guarantee perfect dental alignment stability.
However, the use of these pieces is mandatory if you want to preserve the orthodontic results for a longer time. This is why most dentists recommend using it for the first year after treatment. After that period it is advisable to continue using them, but less frequently.
What types of dental retainers are there?
Today, dentists offer their patients two types of retainers depending on their preferences and lifestyle: removable retainers and fixed retainers. Each option provides significant benefits, and consistent use helps prevent teeth from shifting, and if they do, it is a minimal, imperceptible change. These are its characteristics.
Removable retainers can be put on and taken off.
It is a small device that adapts perfectly to the teeth of patients and thanks to its unique shape allows the teeth to stay in place. It is usually the most classic option to take care of orthodontics, since it is very easy to put on or take off depending on the needs (eating, speaking, brushing teeth, flossing, etc.).
Within this category we find two types of retainers. The first is the Hawley-type retainer, which is made up of a metal wire attached to an acrylic arch that hugs the teeth and is visibly noticeable when you smile. According to some studies, its failure rates are usually very low, but it is a device that can cause aesthetic embarrassment and discomfort when speaking.
For their part, patients can also resort to the vacuum-formed retainer, also popularly called Essix. It is a wraparound PVC dental splint that covers the denture and does not affect appearance as much as the Hawley. However, despite being a cheap option, they can break and scratch more easily.
Fixed or permanent retainers
Fixed retainers are more discreet and remain hidden when you smile.
Unlike the removable ones that can be removed and put on at the convenience of the patients, the fixed retainers are immovable and are attached to the teeth through brackets and adhesives. It is a custom-made metal retainer, imperceptible when talking/laughing and with which you can eat without any problem.
In addition, it is a piece that requires minimal maintenance if it is installed in a certified dental center. You just need to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss after every meal. Therefore, since it is a device that is worn for several years in a row, oral hygiene is essential to avoid the accumulation of tartar.
Are permanent retainers bad or do they offer benefits?
To maintain the correct position of the teeth, the use of retainers is essential. And it is that its constant use is the only way to guarantee an aligned denture and without any deviation. For this reason, if you do not have the responsibility to put on and take off a removable retainer every day, it is better to opt for a fixed one and avoid the teeth returning to their original place.
These are the main advantages of using fixed dental retainers:
- They preserve dental harmony. Without a doubt, the greatest benefit of retainers is being able to maintain over time the effort invested during orthodontics and enjoy teeth in order.
- They have a good quality/price. Although it is true that removable retainers can be cheaper, they are also of lower quality and you need to replace them regularly. Acquiring a fixed retainer is an investment in the future.
- They are comfortable devices. Speaking of imperceptibility and comfort, fixed retainers won’t irritate the gums, cheeks, or palate. After two days of use you will only feel them by touch with your tongue.
- They allow you to smile without fear. Fixed retainers are perfect for adults and teens who want to laugh without fear and enjoy the freedom of showing off their teeth. This thanks to the fact that, dentists make them to measure, they are very discreet and invisible.
- You can easily clean them. In order to prevent the accumulation of tartar and plaque, it is essential to follow a daily dental hygiene routine to ensure the durability of the retainers. In addition, you should visit the dentist for general reviews.
After orthodontics, dental retainers are the best allies
Now that you know what dental retainers are, what types exist and what their main benefits are, it is time for you to start thinking about which one you would like to use when you finish your orthodontics. Remember that, regardless of the model you choose, it is best to go to a professional center where they take care of your health and you can have the smile you always dreamed of.
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