Permanent vs. Removable Retainers: Pros and Cons

by | Aug 18, 2021 | Orthodontic Treatments, Retainers | 0 comments

6 min reading time

Dental health is a journey without a clear end, whether we like it or not. Constant brushing and flossing, plus the added orthodontic treatment when needed, are the price we pay for a perfect, natural, dazzling smile. We have to face it – we have nothing else to do but buckle down and learn how to keep our teeth healthy as efficiently and as straightforward as possible.

If you are now finishing your orthodontic treatment with braces, it is more than clear that your orthodontist has already discussed the future dental care steps with you. What? Is there more to it than braces? Truth be told, braces only play the part of bringing your dental goals to life. Now, it is your job to preserve those stunning results for years to come, and what better way there is to keep your perfect teeth alignment intact than through dental retainers?

Yes, dental retainers are the preservers of your dental goals, the ones who will keep your smile splendid for years to come. However, is that all our patients need to know about dental retainers? Absolutely not; from permanent to removable retainers and Invisalign, the dental retainer pallet is quite inclusive, and our Loudoun Orthodontics patients must know what lies in the future after braces removal. “Should I go with permanent or removable retainers?” “What about Invisalign and its revolutionary technology?” These are the questions we’re ready to answer for you today, with high hopes that, by the end of this blog, you will have chosen the perfect retainer for your beautiful smile. Let’s dive into the world of dental retainers together!

Learning about Permanent Retainers

Whether you call them “bonded retainers,” “fixed retainers,” or “lingual wire,” permanent retainers have a clear purpose – stay on your teeth permanently and impede them from moving towards their natural positions (the tooth’s remarkable long-term memory pushes it back from whence it came). In general, permanent retainers are more suitable for the lower teeth since they can be attached to teeth such as the lower canines more easily.

To be more explicit, the permanent retainer consists of a wire that the orthodontist glues or bonds to the interior surface of the teeth. Although the name suggests otherwise, the orthodontist can remove a permanent retainer, especially if it causes concerning levels of plaque and tartar buildup on the surrounding teeth.


What about Removable Retainers?

Yes, now we reach the blog part that might please those who are done with the ever presence of braces – removable retainers! The way its name suggests, removable retainers are not fixed in any way to the tooth surfaces, allowing you to remove them at certain moments, e.g., during meals, brushing, flossing, etc. 

All you have to do is wear them as instructed by your orthodontist, and your dazzling smile is as good as preserved! However, as easy it is to remove these retainers at any point in time, it is easier to forget about wearing the removable retainer. As such, you have to pay closer attention to how you manage your retainer in order to use it regularly. Here you can find some tips on how to remember about your removable retainer constantly


Now that we know the basics surrounding permanent and removable retainers, let’s compare their pros and cons!


Pros of Permanent Retainers

The reasons why permanent retainers can be a fantastic choice for you are the following:

  • You don’t have to remove them at certain moments
  • They stay fixed on your teeth, nullifying the chances of ever losing your retainer
  • Permanent retainers stay hidden behind your teeth, away from plain sight
  • They are sturdy enough to resist damage from everyday use
  • Permanent retainers continuously preserve your orthodontic treatment results

Pros of Removable Retainers

Conversely, other patients prefer removable retainers’ attractive benefits:

  • The mouth impression process takes only one minute
  • Removable retainers can be removed at any given point
  • You can easily clean them with specialized cleaning solutions
  • Tooth brushing and flossing become easier once you remove the retainer 

Drawbacks of Permanent Retainers

While attractive for their sturdiness and constant pressure upon the teeth, permanent retainers do have specific drawbacks that might tilt the balance towards removable retainers:

  • The permanent retainer attachment procedure can take upward to an hour and prove quite uncomfortable for the patient, whereas removable retainers only require a brief, one-minute mouth impression
  • You will have to approach tooth brushing and flossing with extra care and effort
  • Your oral health might suffer from unexpected accidents such as wire breaks
  • Hard foods can bend or affect the wire’s sturdiness
  • Foods rich in specific additives such as artificial sugars can gradually subject the bonding material to corrosion
  • Any accidents will necessitate you to visit the orthodontist  

Schedule your COMPLIMENTARY Consultation!

Choosing a Removable Retainer for Your Orthodontic Goals

Potential oral health issues, pain, discomfort, and additional trips to the orthodontist – such are the risks to which patients who choose permanent retainers subject themselves. Instead of a hazardous approach to orthodontic treatment results retention, our Loudoun Orthodontics team would like you to discover the fantastic world of Invisalign, the invisible braces that bring “comfort” and “effectiveness” together into the world of orthodontic treatment. 

After a comfortable iTero scan, our head orthodontist, Dr. Richard J. Lee, DMD, MS, MPH, CAGS, will design your personal Invisalign braces and watch how your teeth will maintain or even improve their alignment over time with no discomfort whatsoever! Furthermore, Dr. Lee has been trained by Align Technology to provide Invisalign treatment of the highest standard, certifying your stunning future results.

Have we convinced you that Invisalign is the natural next step in your orthodontic treatment journey? Please contact us, and we will schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lee right away! Meanwhile, make sure to check out our blog for more information on orthodontic treatments.