What are the pros and cons of removable versus fixed retainers after braces?
I had fixed retainers done at the bottom, but I frequently don’t get 8 hours of retainers wear on the upper. I was wondering whether I should get fixed upper retainers as well? For example, with fixed retainers, will it be uncomfortable eating certain foods, or whether it will get in the way of my tongue?
Retainers are crucial after orthodontic treatment. Teeth have a tendency to shift back to their original positions after treatment is complete, a phenomenon known as “relapse.” Retainers help prevent relapse by maintaining them in the positions they have been moved to.
As you have already experienced on your lower teeth, fixed retainers are permanent wires bonded to the back of the teeth. The main advantage of a fixed retainer is mainly due to the fact that it is not removable, which definitely helps when compliance is an issue.
However, fixed retainers are not suitable in every case. It is advisable to visit an orthodontist for an examination and a discussion on what will be the best option for you. Please bring along your existing retainers during the consultation visit.
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Hi JT, I usually advise my patients to have fixed retainers for both upper and lower front teeth after braces.
If you have been able to tolerate your lower fixed retainer, the upper should not be very problematic. There are different materials available for fixed retainers, and some may be more comfortable than others.
Your dentist will be able to advise you on which materials are suitable.
You may need to be more careful when eating very hard foods (nuts, for example) with a fixed retainer on the upper since these foods may cause the retainer wire to snap, or the retainer to become detached from the teeth.
I would still advise clear retainers in addition to the fixed retainers since patients may sometimes be unaware when a fixed retainer is damaged and not holding the teeth any longer. The clear retainers are the failsafe backup for the fixed retainers.
Clear removable retainers can also warp and stretch out over time, and these should be checked every year and replaced, if necessary. Hope this helps!