rapid palatal expanders

Pros and Cons of a Permanent Retainer

Retainers have an important role in your orthodontic treatment. Naturally, teeth have this tendency to move after the treatment is complete, especially in the direction where they were initially placed. Having retainers serve as a support to prevent teeth from moving so that your time and money spent won’t be wasted. Usually, a retainer keeps your teeth in place after your braces come off. That’s why you need to wear your retainer exactly as your orthodontist recommends. If you suddenly stop wearing the retainers, chances are your teeth could shift and go back to the way it was, and gaps could possibly open up.

We all know how exciting it is to finally get your braces off after months or years of waiting. But before deciding on getting a permanent retainer, here are a few things you should know about.

What is a Permanent Retainer?

This type of retainer is essentially used on the lower part of the teeth and is composed of wire that is glued to the back of the teeth with dental composite. Once the orthodontic treatment is completed, and the space has been closed, a permanent retainer is used to help keep the area closed. Care must be given when putting the wire on the teeth to ensure that the patient does not bite on it and it won’t hurt. Sometimes orthodontists may recommend a bonded retainer first, then switch you to a different kind of retainer after six months to one year. In some cases, this may be the only prescribed treatment for you.

Placing a permanent retainer, whether it’s on the upper teeth or the lower teeth, can securely hold your teeth in place and avoid any relapse.


  • You don’t have to worry about remembering to wear it or packing it during trips, which are common concerns for patients with removable retainers.
  • There is a lesser chance of your teeth shifting back to its previous position because they are held in place 100% of the time.
  • One of the greatest advantages to having a permanent retainer is that people won’t realize you are wearing one during any social interactions.
  • It can also help prevent shifting of the front teeth, where relapse is likely to occur.
  • Having a permanent retainer can be helpful when a patient has a large space between the two upper front teeth.
  • A permanent retainer is small and rests behind the central lower teeth.
  • Permanent retainers usually last longer compared to other types of retainers.


  • Patients must be really careful about what they eat. Hard, sticky. crunchy or gummy foods may cause the retainer to break possibly.
  • Permanent retainers don’t provide any protection from relapse for the back teeth.
    As the name goes, nothing is really permanent, and the retainer will likely break and have to be replaced at some point.
  • A permanent retainer can break, and most patients don’t even realize it is broken until it’s too late.
  • The retainer may cut or disturb your tongue and may require dental wax to make it comfortable at times.
  • Permanent retainers can take too long to clean and effort for flossing between the teeth the retainer is attached to.
  • Because this type of retainer is fastened onto your teeth at all times, they are more susceptible to tartar build-up forming around them.

When getting a permanent retainer, it may feel a bit strange and uncomfortable in your mouth. Make sure to tell your orthodontist if any parts are sticking or bothering you, in order to make the necessary adjustments to your retainer and make it more comfortable. You may also find that you speak a little strangely when you first start wearing your retainer. Don’t you worry. Within a month or two, you will get used to the strange feeling and your mouth will definitely adjust making you speak comfortably again.

No matter what type of retainer your orthodontist suggests, remember always to keep it clean. And don’t forget to take good care of it as retainers will likely affect how your teeth will result in the future.