I made the decision this week to remove the permanent retainer that is glued to the back of my front lower six teeth. I have been thinking about doing this for quite some time, and after much deliberation, I decided I was done with it.

I had no issue with the permanent retainer from a comfort standpoint. After all, I have lived with one glued to my teeth for 14 years! Patients often asked me if I was bothered by it or if my tongue constantly rubbed against it and became irritated by it. If done well, permanent retainers are very smooth and one gets used to them almost instantly. I often say that it becomes part of you and you don’t even realize that it’s there.

The problem with permanent retainers is hygiene. Since it is glued to every single tooth, a floss threader is required to get the floss under the retainer. A lot of patients neglect to floss these teeth because of the effort required. ( learn more about Flossing Instructions with braces here) While I flossed my lower front teeth pretty frequently, I admit that I was not doing it every single day.

A common misconception about retention is that only the front teeth can relapse and that retainers aren’t required for the back teeth.

With orthodontic treatment, the dental arches are often expanded and if retainers aren’t used to maintain this expansion, the teeth can tip become more constricted at the back. Therefore, I used a clear removable retainer that fit over my permanent retainer and covered my front and back teeth.

Although every situation is different, if one is diligent in wearing his/her removable retainer, there is no need for a permanent retainer. I thought about my situation logically – I was wearing my removable retainer every single night but I was not flossing my lower front teeth every single day. To me, it was more important having healthy teeth and gums than having the added security of two retainers. My decision was therefore pretty easy.

If you have any questions about permanent retainers, please contact our practice in Vaughan. If you have any questions about orthodontics you can also submit a question on our contact page.

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