La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – The day the braces are removed is an exciting day, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of orthodontic treatment. To ensure the smile stays straight, patients will need to wear a retainer to “retain” the teeth in their new positions. For some patients a bonded or semi-permanent retainer may be the best option. But how does this type of retainer differ from others?
“A bonded retainer is essentially a metal wire that is bonded to the back of the teeth,” says Dr. Robert Gire. “We typically use these types of retainers on the lower teeth, occasionally on the upper teeth, or in patients who may not comply with wearing removable retainers.”
This type of retainer is also known as a bonded or fixed retainer. These retainers work to ensure the hard work that was put in while wearing braces doesn’t go to waste. Teeth will have a tendency to relapse or move back to where we started especially in the first few weeks and months after the braces are removed so it is important to wear a retainer to hold teeth in their new locations.
What are the benefits of bonded or semi-permanent retainers?
- Because they are placed only on the back of front teeth, they are more esthetically pleasing than other retainer options.
- You don’t have to worry about forgetting them – Dr. Gire will place it and then you don’t have to worry about having to keep placing it in your mouth and keeping it safe when it isn’t in your mouth.
- Because they are bonded directly to your teeth we often see better long-term results in patients who wear bonded or semi-permanent retainers. They can’t forget to wear them because they are always there.
But like anything, there are also downsides to bonded or semi-permanent retainers.
- Semi-permanent retainers may make it more difficult to properly clean behind the teeth they’re placed on. The wire can trap food and bacteria so it is important to take plenty of time to adequately clean and floss or you will increase your risk of decay.
- Just like anything in the mouth like fillings and crowns, nothing is forever. Over time semi-permanent retainers can become damaged or worn down so it may be necessary to replace it at some point. The average length span of a bonded retainer is around five years but we’ve seen them last over 20 years!
- Wearing a semi-permanent or bonded retainer doesn’t mean you don’t have to wear any other retainers. Remember, the bonded retainer only covers the backside of the front teeth and not the back teeth. Gire Orthodontics provides all of their patients a set of clear, Invisalign type retainers at the end of active treatment as well. Patients will still need to wear them at night when they’re sleeping.
“Semi-permanent retainers aren’t for everyone but for those who are ideal candidates, they can be an excellent tool to keep that smile as straight as the day the braces were removed,” says Dr. Gire. Call us at Gire Orthdontics if you have any other questions regarding this type of retention: La Habra (562-690-1199) or Chino Hills (909-393-9911).