What Are The Pros and Cons of Permanent and Removable Retainers?

Orthodontic treatment also referred to as the active treatment, is only the first step you take to improve your smile. It should be followed by the maintenance phase that begins after the removal of your braces. In this, you will wear a particular type of retainers which will be decided based on a variety of factors. For instance, you will either have a removable retainer or a permanent one, both of which have specific pros and cons you will learn about through this article. 

Make sure to be as diligent towards your retainers as you were with your orthodontic treatment. It is crucial to wear retainers after braces to get your money’s worth and sustain your newly remodelled teeth alignment. 

Removable Retainers

Since it is possible to take out these retainers while eating and brushing, they provide ease of use. They are also easier to clean and maintain. However, if you fail to wear them regularly, it might influence your teeth retention agenda. 


  • Can be easily removed when brushing to avoid plaque formation
  • Easier to clean using soaking solutions or simply brushing
  • Allows comfortable flossing


  • Possibility of misplacement or damage 
  • The front metal wire is noticeable 
  • Can lead to mild speech disruption when worn
  • Could produce excess saliva in the mouth

Permanent Retainers

While removable retainers can preserve most minor misalignment issues, permanent retainers are ideal retention solution for patients who have undergone significant alignment changes. In such situations, their teeth need additional security to keep them in their new positions. The idea is to glue a metal wire behind your set of teeth so that it is not visible. That allows you to keep wearing them for a longer duration without much discomfort. 

The condition of your bite, alignment, as well as your specific comfort preferences will dictate the kind of bonded wire retainer that your orthodontist will suggest for you. 


  • Eliminates the hassle of frequent removal or losing them  
  • Since your orthodontist glues them behind your teeth, they are unnoticeable 
  • Significantly improves teeth retention after orthodontic treatment
  • Only needing a metal wire without an added structure, these retainers do not alter your speech


  • The wire restricts ease of brushing or flossing, requiring extra effort to clean appropriately 
  • The process to glue them on your teeth takes time 
  • Constant rubbing of your tongue against a metal wire can be uncomfortable and hurtful, especially when the wire breaks
  • Due to its tendency to break or bend if forced, you will have to avoid some food items 

Remember, you will be wearing your retainer for a few years post your orthodontic treatment. So, discuss any specific preferences you might have regarding your retainers with your orthodontist. For instance, you can inform them about your lifestyle to estimate the amount of effort you can manage when it comes to wearing your retainer daily. That will help them suggest a suitable option for you. Follow the instructions thoroughly to ensure that your treatment is able to provide lasting results.  

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