What is a permanent retainer?

A permanent retainer is a long-term orthodontic treatment designed to maintain the alignment of your teeth after braces or Invisalign. It involves a wire bonded to the back of your teeth using a durable bonding agent, remaining inconspicuous and hidden from view. This low-maintenance retainer ensures your teeth stay in place beyond regular orthodontist visits, providing a reliable solution for preserving the results of your orthodontic treatment.

What are the pros and cons of a permanent retainer?

A permanent retainer is recommended by orthodontists for various reasons. However, like any dental treatment, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider, and it may not be the ideal option for everyone. If you are considering a permanent retainer or have concerns about it, the best course of action is to have a discussion with your orthodontist.

How much does a permanent retainer cost?

The cost of one permanent retainer typically ranges from $150 to $500. The price is influenced by several factors, including the location of the retainer, the complexity of its design, and cost of materials. When considering permanent retainers, it’s important to be aware that you may require two retainers—one for the top teeth and another for the bottom teeth. As a result, you’ll be charged for both of these permanent retainers.

Although the upfront expense of a permanent retainer might appear higher, especially when compared to removable retainers, it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits. Permanent retainers are highly durable and have a much longer lifespan, making the initial investment worthwhile. By preserving the results of your orthodontic treatment, a permanent retainer can potentially save you from needing additional corrections in the future.

How do I floss with a permanent retainer?

Proper oral hygiene becomes even more crucial when you have a permanent retainer, as it’s essential to remove any bacteria and plaque build-up from behind the retainer. A significant aspect of maintaining good hygiene is proper flossing. There are different tools you can use to make flossing with a permanent retainer easier, including: 

  1. Floss Threader 
  2. Water Flosser 
  3. Super Floss 

Depending on the design of your permanent retainer, the flossing approach may differ. If your retainer is only attached to the ends, you will only need to thread your floss once. On the other hand, if your retainer is bonded to each individual tooth, you will need to rethread the floss between each tooth to ensure thorough cleaning. While the water flosser can be a fantastic tool for cleaning small spaces between your teeth, it’s important to note  that it should not be seen as a complete replacement for traditional flossing. Consistently flossing at least once every day is imperative for ensuring good oral hygiene and preserving the benefits of your orthodontic treatment.

How long does a permanent retainer last?

The longevity of a permanent retainer depends on several factors, including your oral hygiene practices, the quality of the retainer, and how well it is maintained. In general, a well-cared-for permanent retainer can last for several years, and in some cases, up to 20 years.However, keep in mind that permanent retainers are not truly “permanent” and might eventually need replacement or repair.

It’s a good idea to keep up with regular visits to your dentist or orthodontist to stay proactive about your retainer’s condition. These check-ups will let you know if your retainer is in good shape or if it needs to be removed or replaced. By staying on top of these appointments, you can ensure your retainer continues to do its job effectively.

How can I remove a permanent retainer?

Attempting to remove your permanent retainer on your own is strongly discouraged. If you find the need to have it removed, you should contact your orthodontist or dentist. Trained professionals have the tools required to carefully detach the bonding material from your teeth and gently take out the retainer without causing any harm to your teeth or gums. Seeking assistance from your orthodontist will help make removing your retainer a painless and non-disruptive experience for you.

What should I do with a broken permanent retainer?

Permanent retainers, while known for their longevity, do not last indefinitely, making them susceptible to damage over time. If you happen to notice a broken wire or any irregularities with your retainer, it’s recommended to contact your orthodontist as soon as possible. While waiting a few days might be tolerable, it’s important to be cautious of delaying action, as it can lead to teeth shifting and further complications. It’s worth noting that permanent retainers are not meant to cause any discomfort. If you start experiencing any pain or discomfort, contact your orthodontist sooner rather than later.

Find Out if a Permanent Retainer is Right for You

If you have any additional questions about permanent retainers or any other orthodontic treatments, don’t hesitate to contact Frey Orthodontics. Our highly trained team is fully prepared to support you throughout your journey to achieve a happy and healthy smile. With convenient office locations in both Algonquin and Naperville, we are readily available to provide the assistance you need. 
Schedule your free consultation today and take the first step towards improving your dental health and enhancing your smile!