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Everything To Know About Permanent Retainers

December 18, 2023


Permanent Retainer Do’s and Dont’s

A Must-Read Guide Before Getting Permanent Retainers

Retainers are part of orthodontic treatment for patients with braces to help realign crooked, spaced, or misaligned teeth. They are also essential if they have bite issues. Wearing retainers after realignment treatment is necessary to keep teeth from shifting back to their original positions.

Many orthodontists recommend permanent retainers for more effective and long-term result maintenance. Also known as fixed or bonded retainers, these are orthodontic devices made using a single metal wire. Sometimes, the wire is strong fiber.

The wire can be solid and smooth or have a braided texture. The orthodontist secures it to the back of the teeth with a bonding agent.

Orthodontists recommend getting retainers within the first six months after finishing treatments to be most effective. While bonded retainers suit everyone, they are best for people with severe orthodontic issues. They are also helpful for people who can’t follow the strict instructions of removable retainers.

However, before getting permanent retainers, it is essential to know how they differ from removable retainers, what happens if they break or the glue comes off, how they work for top teeth, how long they last, and the removal procedure.

How Long Do Permanent Retainers Last?

Broken Permanent Retainers

While the wire used to make the retainer is usually strong, it can suffer damage over time that causes it to break. Below are the main things that could result in broken bonded retainers.

  • Biting into hard, sticky, or chewy foods and objects
  • Clenching and grinding your teeth
  • General wear and tear
  • Physical injuries to the face or mouth
  • Bite issues that make you bite directly into your retainers

It can sometimes be hard to tell when a retainer breaks, so patients should have regular orthodontic visits.

In cases where they realize their retainers broke, they should visit the orthodontist immediately for repairs to prevent their teeth from shifting. Depending on the extent of the damage, the orthodontist determines whether to repair or replace the retainers.

Orthodontic Arts professionals warn patients against DIY retainer repairs, which could result in more damage. We have an experienced and highly-trained team dedicated to repairing any damage regardless of the cause or extent.

While the repair process can be long, it is easier if the patient brings their broken retainer. Otherwise, the professionals at Orthodontic Arts will make new ones, which might require several orthodontic visits.

Permanent Retainer Glue Coming Off One Tooth

Just like broken retainers, it is normal to experience glue coming off the bonded retainers. It mostly happens because of regular eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. That can also affect realignment results because it makes the retainers lose.

The exposed retainer wire can also cause injuries and irritation to the tongue, cheeks, and gums. If the unbonded retainer remains intact, our Orthodontic Arts specialists apply new bonding material, which takes around ten minutes.

Permanent Retainer For Top Teeth

While orthodontists can install fixed retainers on top and bottom teeth, they mostly recommend them on the lower ones because they have more chances of breaking on upper teeth. However, the orthodontist recommends them on top teeth if they have a higher chance of relapsing into their original positions.

At Orthodontic Arts, the orthodontist customizes where to bond the wires, their length, material, and thickness.

How To Floss With a Permanent Retainer

Good oral hygiene is detrimental with a permanent retainer. That is because it is easy for food particles to get stuck between it and the teeth, increasing the chances of gum disease.

However, the wire can make it challenging to achieve because it gets in the way of the brush bristles and dental floss. Orthodontists recommend brushing and flossing twice daily, with the brush bristles and floss getting between every space, no matter how small.

At Orthodontic Arts, professionals realize how challenging that can be. Therefore, they recommend that patients use floss threaders, small interdental toothbrushes, and water flossers for brushing and flossing around their fixed retainers.

It is essential to be gentle when cleaning around the retainers to avoid breaking them. Professionals also recommend avoiding foods and things like seeds that easily get stuck between the teeth. Finally, having regular professional teeth cleanings helps eliminate food, plaque, and tartar buildup.

Permanent Retainer Removal: Procedure And Aftercare

Even though they are called permanent retainers, they do not remain on a patient’s teeth forever. An orthodontist removes them because of the following primary reasons.

  • Damage to the bonded retainer
  • Calculus or tartar buildup around or under the retainers
  • Pain from the retainers
  • Treatment completion

Only trained and experienced orthodontists should remove permanent retainers. While removal procedures might differ, they follow similar steps. 

  • Removing the bonding cement using solvents and a specialized tool, usually a dental drill
  • Removing the wire and brackets
  • Polishing the teeth to remove excess bonding cement and food buildup

Regular orthodontic appointments are essential after removing the retainers. This way, patients can receive regular teeth cleaning sessions. It also allows the orthodontist to monitor the teeth and whether they are still moving to recommend necessary measures.

Broken Permanent Retainers Oklahoma City Orthodontist.

Permanent Retainer Vs. Removable: Making An Informed Choice

Orthodontists usually schedule consultations before recommending temporary or permanent retainers.

Orthodontists first consider the type and extent of a patient’s orthodontic issues. They also consider the patient’s goals, age, and discipline levels to handle removable retainers.

Patients should also consider the pros and cons of each.

Permanent Retainers Pros

  • They do not require patient discipline to put in
  • They are invisible
  • Durability
  • They are less likely to lose and damage
  • They offer longer-lasting results with fewer relapsing chances
  • They have minimal speech impact


  • They impact good oral hygiene
  • They can be uncomfortable and irritating
  • They have food and drink limitations
  • The procedure to get them is long

Removable Retainer Pros

  • They are removable
  • They make it easier to maintain oral hygiene
  • No food or drink limitations


  • They require patient discipline
  • They can impact speech
  • Some are visible

Orthodontic Arts has state-of-the-art equipment and highly-trained employees with the experience to customize retainers to patients’ needs.

How Long Do Permanent Retainers Last?

There is no standard period indicating how long patients should wear permanent retainers. Orthodontists recommend a time frame based on the patient’s issues and progress.

While many people can have them on for approximately two decades, some can for a few years. The longevity mostly depends on the retainer’s quality and the patient’s oral hygiene and lifestyle practices.

In addition to regular flossing and brushing, professionals at Orthodontic Arts recommend that patients avoid hard, sticky, and acidic foods to increase their retainers’ lifespan.

Bonded Retainers: Ensuring Lasting Smiles With Orthodontic Arts

Orthodontic Arts uses advanced techniques and tools to help patients achieve their orthodontic treatment goals using personalized, expert care. 

They learn everything they can and allow patients to ask questions during a complimentary consultation. That ensures the specialist and patient are on the same page and creates a friendly environment.

Many patients have applauded the clinic for their expertise, experience, professionalism, and comfortable environment, making it easy for kids to get orthodontic treatments.

Permanent Retainers Oklahoma City Orthodontist.

Maintaining Your Permanent Retainers

Fixed retainers are essential at the end of misalignment treatment because they keep teeth in their new positions. They are best for people with severe issues and those who cannot practice discipline with removable retainers. While invisible, they might cause discomfort and irritation before the patient gets used to them.

Orthodontic Arts offers custom-fit retainers to clients with different issues and goals. Schedule a virtual consultation or appointment by filling out and submitting an online patient form.

Orthodontic Arts, your number one Orthodontist in OKC. Our Certified Orthodontist provides the latest and greatest Orthodontic practices to our clients in the OKC and Midtown area. Orthodontic Arts is the best place for child and teen orthodontics as well as adult orthodontics. Be sure to ask about Invisalign and invisible braces! Contact us today at (405) 604-3745 or request an appointment.