Are Removable Retainers as Effective as Bonded Ones

Are Removable Retainers as Effctive as Bonded Ones?

Removable retainers (also known as Essix retainers) are the see-through plastic clear type. The vacuum form retainers are made from clear plastic and clip over all the teeth completely. Like all plastic oral devices they deform and degrade. This can be particularly fast if the patient clenches or grinds their teeth at night. Plastic vacuum retainers work but are a non-permanent solution. The plastic degrades and becomes colonized by oral fungi and bacteria. A smelly and ugly retainer won't be pleasant for the patient to wear every night. The patient will constantly need to go visit the dentist and get a new retainer made.

Fixed retainers that are bonded to the back of the front teeth frequently break and come away totally. Unfortunately these frequently break or fall off completely. If it breaks or comes detached it will need urgent replacement. Good cleaning and occasional maintenance is vital. Fixed retainers make flossing harder and the patient will need to use a special floss threader. Placing fixed retainers certainly helps to retain the front teeth, but has no effect on the back teeth, nor arch expansion. When the fixed retainers fail, which they frequently do under the pressures and strains of the teeth and wear and tear. Most patients do not report the breakage or are ignorant of it until the teeth have relapsed. The patient then has the prospect of re-treatment or acceptance of the relapse.

The reality is that retention is often going to be a lifetime commitment, if you'd like to keep your teeth perfectly straight. At the end of orthodontic work the teeth will want to move back to their old natural positions. This is why dentists will fit a bonded retainer and ask you to wear a vacuum retainer at night time.