A fixed orthodontic retainer is an orthodontic device that is prescribed at the end of orthodontic treatment to make sure that the effects and results reached during the course of the treatment become permanent. Human teeth, contrary to popular belief, are a little bit mobile, and have a nasty tendency to revert back to their original position. If this happens, then all of the hard work of getting braces will be in vain, as the effects of orthodontic treatment will be reversed, and the teeth will be in the same old place they started.
How do retainers work?
Retainers work because they hold the teeth in their new place. Orthodontic treatment works by keeping the bones and soft tissues of the jaw in a state of constant controlled inflammation, and this inflammation makes it easier for the teeth to move and be moved, and once the braces come off, this inflammation will start to subside. While it does, the teeth will be kept in their new place by the retainer, and so when the bones harden back to their original firmness, the teeth will be in their new position.
How long will I have to wear retainers?
Fixed retainers are generally worn for around 6 months after orthodontic treatment, but sometimes you will need to wear it for longer, and sometimes removable retainers will need to be worn afterwards at night or a couple of times a week.
Pros and Cons of Fixed Retainers
As with all kinds of dental procedures and treatments, there are some pros and cons to it. The pros include that having fixed retainers as opposed to removable ones is that treatment will be faster and more reliable than with removable ones, as it is constantly in your mouth guiding your teeth. The problem is that it is also a little bit less hygienic than removable ones, as food can get caught in them just as with regular fixed orthodontic braces. To minimise the effects we recommend getting a thorough hygiene session right after the braces come off, with any demineralised zones also undergoing a fluoride treatment, and then getting the fixed retainers put on.