Permanent retainer problems
Many individuals think that as soon as the braces come off that that will be the end of their orthodontic treatment. However, you are not actually at the most important stage of your orthodontic treatment and that is retention. It’s not merely enough to get your teeth into the correct positions. You need to make sure they stay there!
There are many people who do not follow this last vital part of their treatment whether because of treatment fatigue or any number of other reasons, but the truth of the matter is that without continuing to follow through with your orthodontic treatment, it will ultimately not be successful.
Your braces have helped to move your teeth into their new positions and now that they are there, the retainer will help to keep them there. What do the experts have to say on this topic and what can you do if you have permanent retainer problems or have pain from a permanent retainer?
Retention in orthodontics is defined as maintaining teeth in the optimal aesthetic and functional position after the active phase of treatment (Kartal Y & Kaya B, 2019).
The use of an effective method of retention is important to prevent the teeth from shifting positions after an orthodontic treatment and for increasing patient satisfaction (Kartal Y & Kaya B, 2019).
Permanent retainers are used because of their advantages over removable retainers such as better aesthetics, no need for patient cooperation, effectiveness, and suitability for lifelong retention (Kartal Y & Kaya B, 2019). But there can be some issues. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Retainer pain is quite real but as the experts say, having a retainer that is operational and working is absolutely essential to making sure that your teeth do not shift back into the incorrect positions. But what causes are there for retainers hurt?
There can be several things that can cause retainers to be uncomfortable, some of which are pretty run-of-the-mill. It may just be that your teeth are still loose and you have been chewing something a little tougher or harder than you should. This can sometimes cause teeth to feel a bit of pain even after having braces removed.
Remember, at this stage your teeth are still loose which is why you need the retainer to make sure that they do not move. Another thing that can be potentially causing discomfort is the retainer which is only designed to keep your teeth in place may accidentally be causing stress or pulling on your teeth. If this is the case, then the force exerted could cause pain.
However, by far the most common reason for permanent retainer problems is a broken retainer.
Broken wire braces
If your permanent retainer broke then that is a pretty serious issue that needs to be addressed very quickly. There are many reasons why fixing a broken retainer should be your top priority and should be done hopefully the same day as the incident occurs.
Let’s start off with the first and most obvious reason – a broken retainer can be painful. After all, you have installed a bit of metal into your mouth and if it is not ergonomically fitting as it should due to damage, then it is going to be uncomfortable. Whether it is a broken wire brace or a sharp edge of plastic from a removable retainer, regardless of what and where the damage is it is going to be very uncomfortable inside your mouth. Continuing to use the retainer will just cause more pain.
However unlike removable retainers, a permanently affixed one needs attention and you do not have the ability to correct the painful issue yourself without getting orthodontic assistance.
Permanent retainer broke
If your permanent retainer broke, what other issues might there be surrounding a broken retainer? What if my broken retainer is not causing pain? Do I still need to get it fixed if I do not have retainers hurt? This problem can actually be a little bit more insidious than the last one.
While the previous one will actually spur you to action to get your orthodontics fixed because they are now making you uncomfortable, if your retainer is broken and not causing you any discomfort it is often easy to let the issue slide or to simply forget about it. However, this would be a big mistake as retainers are an important piece of orthodontic medical equipment and if they are broken they are no longer functioning to do what they are designed to do.
One of the worst things that an individual can do is to simply ignore a broken retainer because it is not causing any problems or any distress. If it is broken, it is no longer helping to retain your teeth in place. If it is not helping to keep your teeth retained, then there is a chance that your teeth could shift out of position again and you could regress in your treatment.
This of course would be a dire consequence for individuals who just spent months or years getting orthodontic treatment done only to have that very same treatment reversed by simply failing to get retainers fixed. Like with all medical devices, it’s not merely enough to own the device – one actually has to be using it and it has to be in proper functioning order to be effective. If your retainer is not working or is broken, then it is doing nothing for you.
Fixing broken retainer
Under no circumstances should you attempt to fix a broken permanent retainer yourself. It took a professional orthodontic office to install it so any fix should not be attempted by you. This is an important piece of orthodontic equipment and the skills required to make orthodontic medicine comfortable and seamless take years to learn.
Simply speak with your orthodontic office and see if you can schedule an appointment to get your retainer repaired. Repairing a retainer will ultimately be far less costly than any alternative, especially in regards to causing you pain or the cost of needing additional follow-up treatment simply because you ignored a broken retainer.
If you have permanent retainers you should know what to do in the event that you damage or break your permanent retainer. A permanent retainer is also known as a fixed retainer or a bonded retainer, and as the names suggest, differs from a removable retainer, which is not fixed.
A permanent retainer is a small metal bar or wire that holds your teeth in a specific position and prevents them from shifting or moving after the completion of the active phase of your orthodontic treatment. The advantage of wearing a permanent retainer is that you will not forget to wear it, because it is bonded to your teeth. Orthodontists are favorable to this because the treatment does not rely on patient compliance.
As your orthodontist will have informed you, a retainer is necessary after the active phase of your treatment to ensure that your teeth retain the optimal positions and don’t shift or cause extra spaces or overcrowding.
One of the more common ways an orthodontist attaches the permanent retainer to the mouth, is by attaching them to the inner part of the lower teeth. The reason for this, as explained by an expert, is that the lower front teeth are most susceptible to moving after treatment because of their short roots in comparison to the other teeth.
Kartal, Y., & Kaya, B. (2019). Fixed Orthodontic Retainers: A Review. Turkish journal of orthodontics, 32(2), 110–114. https://doi.org/10.5152/TurkJOrthod.2019.18080