Some patients ask about “permanent” or “bonded” retainers. This is a small piece of wire that is bonded on the back side of your front teeth. It can be placed on the top 2 or 4 teeth, as well as the lower 6 teeth. A separate, removable retainer is made to fit over your teeth and bonded retainer.
At Seim Orthodontics, we don’t like the term “permanent” retainer, because it is not truly permanent. The retainer will likely last 5-10 years and then need to be replaced or removed. We refer to it as a bonded retainer instead.
In general, bonded retainers are not my first choice for patients. They are difficult to clean around and can become food/plaque traps. Two situations where I do recommend bonded retainers are when the patient started with a gap between the two front teeth prior to treatment, or if the bottom front teeth were very rotated prior to treatment.
If you have a bonded retainer, you will need to be careful about what you eat. Biting into foods like apples can break or damage the bonded retainer. Some people do not notice that the bonded retainer is broken until the teeth have started shifting. Bonded retainers can easily be broken by a dental hygienist during a regular cleaning. Some parents choose bonded retainers for their children because they fear that the removable retainers will not be worn as instructed, and that is OK! We will not deny a bonded retainer if that is the patient’s or parent’s wish.
Contact us with any questions you might have about retainers. Interested in having a straighter smile? Ask us today about scheduling a free consultation.