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Retainers can have different designs depending on the particular patient and the preference of the dental professional. Commonly, retainers are removable; however, in some cases the clinician may decide a permanent retainer is a better option. Also referred to as bonded wire retainers, bonded lingual retainers, bonded retainers or fixed retainers, this appliance is delivered similarly to how brackets are bonded to a patient’s teeth; a bonded retainer is affixed using light-cure resin on every tooth the appliance will engage. In addition, bonded lingual retainers are also used to stabilize teeth if those are mobile; the wire is used to “Splint” the teeth in an effort to give the teeth more stability.

Why Are Retainers Necessary?

The periodontal ligament is an elastic tissue that securely holds the teeth in the jawbone. During orthodontic treatment, this elastic tissue stretches, allowing the braces to reposition the teeth. Unfortunately, this ligament tends to rebound following the removal of the braces. Therefore, once the braces are removed and the tension eases, the teeth may begin returning to their original positions. Preventing the teeth from moving after treatment requires the use of an orthodontic appliance that is referred to as a retainer. Albeit the retainer is passive as to no influence the position of the teeth after treatment, it acts as a definite stop to prevent the teeth to relapse.

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What is a Bonded Retainer?

Permanent retainers are placed on the lingual surface of the incisor teeth and vary in length depending on how many teeth will be engaged by the appliance.  Bonded lingual retainers are made with annealed flat braided wire, which undergoes an additional pre-production heat treatment process to reduce the natural tension of the alloy. The wire is then carefully contoured to have as much contact surface with the tooth as possible.

OrthoDenco offers several options such as different wire types as well as metal-mesh-pads to increase the bonding surface area and improve adhesion of the appliance to the teeth. Alternative designs like the Easy Floss, which allows for better flossing, or custom resin pads instead of metal-mesh-pads are also available.

All bonded lingual retainers are delivered with a putty transfer tray for easy delivery, as an upgrade, a dual-layer indirect bonding tray can be requested. The indirect bonding tray is ready to light cure since the resin is incorporated inside the second soft tray. In addition, bonded lingual retainers can be used to splint damaged, cracked or worn-down teeth. Sometimes, dentists recommend bonded wire retainers to patients whose teeth have sustained injuries that require specialized restorative dental care.

Bonded retainers are especially effective for kids. They won’t be able to lose it, forget it, or accidentally throw them away. Since they’re glued to the teeth, they won’t break easily; both the adhesive and the retainers are incredibly powerful; they can withstand rough treatment. Moreover, bonded retainers are invisible, so kids don’t have to be self-conscious about how they look.

Benefits of Bonded Lingual Retainers

When determining the type of retainer that is best for you, it is essential to balance the positive and negative aspects of each appliance.

When compared to a removable retainer, a bonded retainer offers numerous benefits:

  • Since bonded wire retainers cannot be removed, they effectively preserve the orthodontic correction that was achieved.
  • Bonded retainers are ideal for individuals who may forget to wear a removable retainer.
  • Permanent retainers remain intact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; whereas, removable retainers must be taken out prior to eating, brushing and flossing, etc.
  • Unlike braces, a bonded retainer is relatively smooth; therefore, as time passes, the majority of wearers forget that they have a bonded wire retainer.
  • While wearing their removable retainers, some individuals experience difficulty speaking. In addition, removable retainer wearers who play wind instruments or participate in sports must remove their retainers before participating in these activities. However, fixed retainers will not interfere with speech or activities such as these.
  • A bonded retainer cannot be stolen, lost or accidentally destroyed.
  • Bonded wire retainers can remain intact for decades.
  • Permanent retainers are invisible because they are placed behind the teeth. Hawley Retainers are removable retainers that have a labial bow (visible wire) that rests in front of the teeth, therefore, Hawley Retainers are visible.

Negative Aspects of Bonded Wire Retainers

As with any product, there are some negative aspects of bonded retainers:

  • Without proper care, a bonded retainer may have a short life span. Proper care includes brushing and flossing daily as well as biannual cleanings.
  • A bonded wire retainer can become loose. If this happens, your orthodontist will need to re-adhere the current wire. However, if the wire has been damaged, your orthodontist may need to replace the wire altogether.
  • To reduce the likelihood of a permanent retainer loosening, individuals should avoid biting into hard food, such as apples, carrots, hard candy, and popcorn balls, etc., with their front teeth.
  • Bonded wire retainers require more hygiene adjustments than removable retainers do. For example, individuals who have permanent retainers must floss underneath these retainers using Floss Threaders or Superfloss. Since removable retainers are taken out during brushing and flossing, no threaders or special type of floss is required.
  • If bonded wire retainers are not cared for properly, plaque accumulation is likely; therefore, it is essential for individuals with bonded lingual retainers to utilize proper flossing techniques every day.
  • Individuals who have a fixed retainer may need to wear an Essix Retainer while they sleep. An Essix Retainer resembles the Invisalign aligners and consists of clear plastic that is custom designed for each patient. These retainers generally last for several years; therefore, they do need to be replaced periodically. This clear retainer serves three important functions: It serves as a backup device in the event that the bonded retainer comes loose, it helps maintain the position of the back teeth and assists with protecting the bonded lingual retainer if the wearer tends to grind or clench his, or her teeth during sleep. Grinding and clenching place excessive force on the teeth and can cause the bonded retainer to become loose.

Care Instructions for Bonded Lingual Retainers

While bonded lingual retainers are a “get it and forget it” solution, it still requires a lot of care and attention. These tips help reduce the negative effects of wearing the appliance and achieve the desired results.

  • Proper hygiene – make sure your patients understand how to brush and floss properly throughout the treatment. It’s important to keep the surface of the teeth clean, especially behind the fixed retainer. It’s highly recommended to use specially-formulated orthodontic products, like a Waterpik, floss threader, soft or denture toothbrush to avoid damaging the metal wire.
    Avoiding damaging food – give your patients a list of food and beverages that can damage the fixed retainer. Basically, food items that are bad for metal braces are bad for bonded lingual retainers.
    Regular check-ups – since most fixed retainers last for about two years, make sure your patients stay on top of their checkups. Inform them of potential risks, like plaque buildup and gingivitis, and that regular checkups will keep such outcomes under control.
  • With over 40 years of experience in the dental field, OrthoDenco is committed to quality and service. Your practice’s success and your patients’ satisfaction are at the core of what we do.

We are not just a lab but a business partner that provides comprehensive solutions to the challenging and competitive environment of today’s dental practice.

To learn more about how OrthoDenco can help you reach your goals, please call today 1-954-917-0499 or 1-800-315-8829. You can also use the online contact form by clicking here.