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Retainers are used to hold teeth in a certain place, often after orthodontic work is completed. After orthodontics, if no retainer is used, the teeth may shift and revert to the position they started in. Your dentist or orthodontist will recommend either a removable or a fixed retainer to keep your smile looking aligned. 

Removable Retainer 

With this type of retainer, you can put in and take out when needed. It is recommended to wear your retainer as much as possible. The exception being when eating and brushing or flossing. Sometimes they are only recommended for night-time use. Make sure you discuss with your dentist or orthodontist about the recommended usage. Removable retainers will either be a clear tray or have a wire front depending on what the use. 

Advantages of Removable Retainers

The advantage of a removable retainer is that you can take it out and put it back in. This means that it is much easier to brush and floss your teeth, and you can take it out of your mouth when needed.

Cons of Removable Retainers

For the retainer to work, you have to wear it. If a patient isn’t compliant with wearing their retainer for the recommended amount of time, their teeth may be more susceptible to shifting with time. If you don’t wear your retainer consistently, sometimes it can feel tight or sore when putting it back in. 

Fixed Retainer

A fixed retainer is a wire that is glued to the back of your front teeth (either bottom, top or both) to hold your teeth in place and prevent shifting. Fixed retainers stay in place without having to be taken out and put back in.

Advantages of Fixed Retainers

The benefit of a fixed retainer is permanent retention. Because the fixed retainer can stay in for eating, brushing and flossing, it is continually holding the teeth in the correct position.

Cons of Fixed Retainers

Because the fixed retainer cannot be removed, it cannot be taken out for brushing and flossing. The wire causes difficulties with cleaning as there are more areas where plaque and bacteria can build up. There is more work involved in keeping your teeth clean when you have fixed retainers. Floss threaders, super-floss and even a water flosser, are important tools to use to help you clean your teeth clean.

cleaning dental retainer

If you believe you would benefit from either a fixed or removable retainer, or have any questions about them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.