Permanent retainers: what they are & how to care for them

There are several types of retainer, most of which are removable. There is one type of retainer that isn’t removable. Hodges Orthodontics offers these permanent or bonded lingual retainers. These retainers, also called lingual retainers, are bonded to the back of the teeth to keep them in place once your orthodontic treatment is complete. The best part is that the costs of permanent retainers are built right into your treatment plan.

What is a bonded (or permanent) retainer?

Bonded retainers are essentially a metal wire behind teeth after braces. It is most common for bonded retainers to be placed behind the front bottom teeth; however, on occasion, these permanent retainers are placed behind the front upper teeth as well. They’re considered “permanent” bonded retainers because they can’t be removed, which means you never have to worry about losing them. However, they can be damaged, which is why it’s important to care for them throughout your lifetime.

What can I eat with my bonded (or permanent) retainers?

You can eat anything you want, but you should avoid hard or sticky foods that apply heavy pressure on the bonded retainers. Do not chew sticky or hard foods that apply direct pressure on the retainer. This can break your fixed retainer wire. You don’t want to keep having to fix your permanent retainer.

How do I clean my bonded (or permanent) retainer?

Good oral hygiene should be practiced with special attention in the areas around the bonded retainer. The retainer should be brushed thoroughly as you brush your teeth. Floss threaders should be used to floss between the teeth bonded to the retainer.

This is the same practice used with your braces. Particles and plaque can build around the retainer, and lead to gum disease which is why it’s so important to keep it clean. If you’re having any trouble with it, talk to us!

Why do I have a bonded (or permanent) retainer?

Bonded retainers are used for two reasons. First, they focus on the areas where your teeth are most likely to change once your braces are removed. Teeth that once had large spaces or severe crowding may require a bonded retainer to prevent teeth from moving in the future.

The lower front teeth have been shown to be the most likely to move after braces. That’s why this is the most common area for lingual retainers.

Secondly, bonded retainers don’t require you to keep up with them constantly. They cannot be thrown away in a napkin or forgotten somewhere! They can’t be damaged by children or pets, and you can’t forget to put them in every night or after every meal.

Will my bonded retainer ever be removed?

Bonded retainers are designed to stay in your mouth for the rest of your life. Recent studies prove that your teeth continue to move throughout your life. That’s why we recommend that retainers be worn long term to keep your teeth from shifting.

We will recommend removing the retainers if frequent breakages occur or you are not cleaning adequately around the retainer. In that case, we might recommend removable retainers instead.

What if my permanent retainer is loose?

You should try not to bite on hard foods or with excessive force where the retainers are located, or it could loosen or break the wire. The fixed bonded retainer can also become loose if you pull up on the retainer wire too hard while flossing, so floss gently! If your fixed lingual retainer is loose, contact our office to have it repaired.

Until then, wear the clear fitted retainer that was made to fit over your bonded retainer so that no tooth movement occurs. If the retainer comes completely loose or if your retainer breaks, bring it to the office for your appointment so that we can repair it. This can reduce the cost of the repair.

Why does my bonded (or permanent) retainer feel strange?

Just like with your braces, it is not unusual for the bonded retainer to feel strange at first. However, you will get used to the feel of it within the first week to 10 days. The retainer may feel bumpy or “new”, but should not feel sharp or rough.

If this is the case, please contact us. We’ll take care of it!

Braces treatment in Tupelo, MS

Schedule a free consultation if you’re in the Tupelo, MS, area to find out more about braces treatment with Hodges Orthodontics. Not only will we give you exceptional, friendly treatment, but we’ll guide you along the way.

We’ll show you the best ways to brush and floss with braces. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about your new bracesclear braces, or Invisalign® treatment. Hodges Orthodontics is here for you!