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How Long Does A Permanent Retainer Last

by Annabel Caldwell
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How Long Does A Permanent Retainer Last

How Long Does A Permanent Retainer Last

Permanent retainers aren’t truly permanent. They’re only called “permanent” because they can’t be removed easily, unlike removable retainers. Permanent retainers do eventually wear out, but they’ve been known to last for upwards of 20 years. When they wear out, they can be removed and replaced.

You know how it is – you lose a retainer at the most inopportune time (like during an important job interview), and then your dentist sends you a brand new one while you’re on vacation? I think we all have experienced this scenario before. And as annoying as it may seem, it’s actually not that uncommon of a problem. In fact, according to recent studies conducted by Procter & Gamble, more than half of Americans wore temporary retainers incorrectly or didn’t use them at all.
As much as 50% of people who don’t use their retainers properly end up with problems like broken retainers and even jaw injuries. What’s worse is that many dentists send these patients replacement retainers without first checking if it was worn correctly. This could lead to serious complications later down the line.
So what exactly are permanent retainers? As the name implies, they’re permanently affixed to your teeth using special clasps. The material used to make them is usually acrylic resin, which has become popular over the past decade due to its durability and lack of side effects. Temporary retainers usually fall into two categories: soft and hard. Soft ones tend to break easier and often need replacing within six months. On the other hand, hard retainers are strong enough to withstand tougher treatment options such as extractions.
The typical duration between appointments varies depending on the type of retainer you choose. For example, if you opt for soft-tissue retainers, you’ll probably see your dentist every four weeks for checkups. On the other hand, metal partial retainers typically last about three months, while full coverage retainers can go for up to a year. If you decide to get long term retainers, you should expect to visit your dentist once every six months.
Now that you know how long permanent retainers last, keep reading to find out why they might not always work out as expected.
When choosing a permanent retainer, you want to select one that will fit comfortably and won’t irritate your gums. That way, it won’t cause any additional pain when it comes time to remove and replace it. Also, ensure that the size is appropriate for your mouth. You may want to talk to your dentist about whether you’d benefit from getting retainers that are wider or thinner so that you can better control your bite.
How Long Do Retainers Typically Last?
Unfortunately, permanent retainers aren’t truly permanent. They’re only called “permanent” because they can’t be removed easily, unlike removable retainers. Permanent retainers are made of acrylic resin, which wears away slowly over time through normal chewing motions. When they wear down, they can be removed and replaced.
However, since each person’s mouth is different, it’s possible that some retainers can last longer than others. Some factors that affect longevity include the following:
Your oral health — The condition of your teeth and gums affects how well your retainer stays put. Gum disease, cavities and tooth decay can weaken bonding agents and leave permanent holes, causing retainer pieces to pop off.
Type of retainer — Metal retainers are stronger than soft types, making them less likely to come loose after several years. However, if you chew something tough, such as ice, you risk damaging the metal part. Therefore, you should stick to softer food items such as carrots.
Dental care habits — Chewing tobacco and smoking can also damage your retainer. If you smoke, quit immediately; nicotine weakens the bond between the materials and gum tissue. Although it seems counterintuitive to hold something in your mouth, try brushing with toothpaste to avoid dislodging the retainer piece.
Age — While young children generally receive the shortest retainer durations, older adults can experience similar outcomes. It depends largely on their health conditions, including periodontal disease and bone loss.
Although there isn’t a set standard length for retainers, experts say that for healthy mouths, no more than a year is needed between visits to the dentist. If you take good care of your teeth and follow proper dental hygiene practices, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get another one sent to you.
To learn more about how retainers work, read on.
It’s important to regularly clean your retainer to prevent buildup. To wash yours thoroughly, soak it overnight in water mixed with salt and baking soda. Use a brush to scrub out residue, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Make sure to inspect your retainer carefully to spot any cracks or chips. If anything needs repairing, contact your dentist right away so he can fix it before it becomes bigger.

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