Are fixed retainers better than removable retainers? - Dr. Divyashree Rajendra

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Published at : 14 Nov 2020
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To state in one sentence any retainer is better than no retainer. But to choose which retainer suits the patient there are certain criteria on which retainer is given. Retainers are of three kinds. There is a removable retainer with a wire and plate commonly known as Hawley retainer. There is another plastic retainer which is made of clear plastic called as clear retainer or Essix retainer. The third variety is the fixed wire retainer which is glued on the inside of the teeth. The factors which dictate which is better and which is not is as follows. For those patients who are very compliant with wearing the retainers anything would be fine including the removable ones. But for those who do not like to have a removable retainer because of which they fail to wear the retainer completely, for them definitely fixed retainer is better. The other advantage of fixed retainer is that it is not visible because the retainer is a very thin wire which is glued on to the teeth from inside. So whenever you are speaking or smiling the retainer is not visible. The second advantage is that the patient cannot take it out so that there is no question of taking it out before eating or brushing. These are the main advantages of fixed retainers. But there are some disadvantages too. Since the wire is tucked on the front teeth usually the front 6 or 8 teeth the patient cannot bite onto any food item with the front teeth because the retainer will break and if that happens and it goes unnoticed then the teeth which are loose is free to move and the teeth moves out or gets rotated and the patient will have to go through the orthodontic treatment once again. The second disadvantage is that since it is not visible it is difficult to clean and since there is composite which we use to fix the retainer food can get trapped around. This could lead to implications like dental decay, bleeding gums, bad breath. So it is important that the patient maintains the hygiene thoroughly and make sure to get professional cleaning once in a while. Coming to the removable retainers, both are good. It is easy to take it out by the patient and brush the teeth well. So hygiene should not be an issue. As they are removable it might not be comfortable to take it out all the while eating or brushing. On the other hand the patient has the flexibility of removing it when needed. It needs to be cleaned. So over all it is important to have one or the other sort of retainer lifelong.
Fixed RetainerRemovable RetainerHawley Retainer

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