Cook Orthodontics

22032 El Paseo
Suite 210
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Phone: 949-589-7820
Fax: 949-589-2301


How Do Permanent Retainers Work and How Long Will You Wear One?

Sep 27

Written by: By: Cook Orthodontics
9/27/2013 1:37 PM  RssIcon

It's always an exciting time when our patients finally get their braces removed! However, once your braces come off, a retainer must be worn routinely in order to hold your teeth in place while your gums, ligaments and bones adapt to their new positions.

Patients often ask our Rancho Santa Margarita, CA orthodontist Dr. Debra Cook about permanent retainers, so we thought we'd dedicate this blog post to the topic.

What is a Permanent Retainer?

permanent retainerIn order to fully understand what a permanent retainer is, we'll first tell you what a removable retainer is. A removable retainer is very patient-friendly. This type of retainer is designed to be put in at night and taken out in the morning. When you're wearing a removable retainer, you can take it out to brush and floss your teeth with ease. While a removable retainer is very effective, if it's not used as directed, it doesn't tend to be as effective as a permanent retainer.

A permanent retainer is ideal for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” Once your orthodontist places a permanent retainer in your mouth, you won't need to worry about losing it or not wearing it as often as you should. Because teeth naturally shift as we age, a permanent retainer typically provides a better long-term result for teeth straightening than a removable retainer.

Here are some facts about permanent retainers you should know:

  • Dr. Cook places permanent retainers on the backside of the lower middle six teeth.
  • Permanent retainers are made of a stainless steel flexible wire that is bonded to each tooth.
  • Dr. Cook puts a permanent retainer on the top teeth if there is a space that needs to stay closed and if the bite allows for one there.
  • There are certain food restrictions associated with permanent retainers placed on the top teeth as biting into some hard foods can damage the retainer.
  • The permanent retainer stays in indefinitely until at some time your general dentist feels it should be removed for overall gingival health.
  • The patient will never be without the retainer and if it does get taken out, they will have a removable retainer given to them.

The retention phase of orthodontic treatment begins when your braces are removed and typically lasts for a minimum of 2 years. It can be more challenging to maintain good oral hygiene while wearing a permanent retainer. However, the staff at Cook Orthodontics will provide you with full instructions on how to properly brush and floss your teeth while wearing one of these fixed retainers. We recommend that you routinely see your family dentist while wearing a permanent retainer for checkups and cleanings to ensure that you don't develop any problems.

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