Permanent Retainers: Pros, Cons, Costs and How Long Does It Last?

You have waited months to get your braces off and see your amazing smile, but you need to know everything about permanent retainers before placing them.

Permanent retainers are made of a metal wire that is glued to your teeth, and this metal wire is smooth and has a braided texture. It will attach to your teeth and adjust to your bite to keep your teeth becoming crooked or from shifting.

The orthodontists often recommended permanent retainers after braces to prevent your teeth from moving back to their original position. In some cases, orthodontists may combine both permanent and removable retainers for the best long-term results. But nowadays permanent retainers are becoming increasingly popular  

So, read the article till the end to know everything about permanent retainers, how to clean and maintain them to keep up your smile.

What is a Permanent Retainer?

Permanent retainers also called by the following names:

  • Lingual wire
  • Bonded retainers
  • Fixed retainers

A Permanent retainer is a metal bar placed behind your teeth to keep your teeth from shifting back to the original position. It is also called a lingual wire because it’s bonded to the back surface of your teeth, normally just the front four to six teeth.

The name permanent retainer shows exactly what the device does, and a permanent retainer says on your teeth permanently to keep your teeth from moving.

Some people get retainers fixed to both their lower teeth and upper teeth, however, orthodontists may not recommend a permanent retainer for your upper teeth, because they have a high chance of breaking prematurely.

If your permanent retainer starts irritating your gums or causes too much plaque, then talk with dentist or orthodontist because they may help remove your permanent retainer.

Pros of Permanent Retainers?

  • Permanent retainers need not be taken in or out before meals, which saves your time. Also, it makes easier to keep your teeth in place after your braces come off.
  • No one else knows that you have got retainers, because it’s bonded behind your teeth.
  • It has no effect on the way you speak.
  • You can’t lose it because it’s attached with dental glue.
  • It keeps your teeth in place.
  • Less chance of relapse.
  • Longer lasting results.

Cons of Permanent Retainers?

  • The procedure for attaching a permanent retainer may be uncomfortable and a bit long. In many cases, it can take up to an hour to bond a retainer to your teeth.
  • It requires some extra effort when you’re brushing, and flossing around a permanent retainer, because the retainer is attached between the teeth.
  • Sometimes they affect oral hygiene.
  • Having metal objects in your mouth all the time, your tongue can rub against the wire and can feel uncomfortable.
  • Hard, crunchy, sticky and sugary foods may cause the retainer to break.
  • If the wire may break off or debond, and it requires replacement. So, you may have to pay a replacement fee.
  • Sometimes, they can cause speech impediment.

How Much Do Permanent Retainers Cost?

A permanent retainer may cost anywhere between @150 to $500 for one. If you get retainers on both your upper teeth and lower teeth, then it may cost you up to $1,000. The cost of the initial placement may include in the overall cost of the braces.

Permanent retainer removal cost is from $150 to $500, and this may include the cost of replacement if the permanent retainer broke or damaged.

For some people a permanent retainer cost might be a bit higher, but remember it is meant to keep your teeth straight and help you maintain your beautiful smile.

What Should You Do if Your Retainers Get Bent or Moves?

What Should You Do if Your Retainers Get Bent or Moves

If your permanent retainer bent or has moved, don’t try to fix the problem yourself. Applying too much pressure to the retainer can damage your teeth. If the shape of your permanent retainer changes, it won’t keep your teeth in their proper position.

So, here are some steps you need to take, if your retainer is bent or moves:

  • Immediately make an appointment to see your dentist or orthodontist: if your retainer starts injuring any other parts of your mouth, then make an appointment as soon as possible with your orthodontist or dentist to have the retainer repaired or adjusted.
  • Call your orthodontist or dentist right away: if your retainer has broken off and injured another part of your mouth, then call the dentist or orthodontist right away to minimize any further damage to your mouth, teeth or retainer.
  • Check for emergency contact: most dentists or orthodontists have an emergency line that can help you in case of emergencies.

If your permanent retainer broke, you should visit the orthodontist or dentist office to get fixed as soon as you can. So, you may have the option to get removed or replaced.

Taking Care of Permanent Retainers

Cleaning your permanent retainer every day to keep it well maintained and protect your teeth and around the area. A permanent retainer may leave you at risk for having dental problems, because they will create an additional small space to clean around.

Here are some tips on taking care of your permanent retainer:

  • Brush all around your retainers from the different angles, using gentle pressure to avoid breakage and any damages.
  • Use a floss threader to reach tight spaces.
  • While brushing and flossing, don’t skip any small spaces. Bacteria are more prone to build up in small spaces.
  • Also try a water flosser.
  • Avoid hard foods because that may get stuck in your retainer.

Tips for flossing with a permanent retainer:

Flossing is a big challenge with a permanent retainer, but it’s not too hard once you get the hang of it. So, here are some tips for flossing with permanent retainers:

  • Use a 6-inch floss along with a floss threader to shimmy the floss between two of your teeth, take one end of your floss between your fingers and the other end in the threader.
  • When your floss is between the teeth, gently raise and lower the floss. Try not to be too forceful, you may injure your gums.
  • If you finished with one set of teeth, then move to the next set of teeth.
  • Repeat these steps until you have flossed between each of the teeth.

How to Remove Permanent Retainers?

While permanent or bonded retainers may last up to 20 years, there is a lot of information about removing a permanent retainer at home. But the safest and effective way to remove a permanent or banded retainer is to seek treatment from your dentist or orthodontist.

If you’re trying to remove them at home on your own, there are high chances of damaging your teeth or gums. So, try to see a dentist or orthodontist for removing the bonded retainer.

FAQs on Retainers

  • Permanent Vs Removable Retainers

    Permanent retainers are made of a metal wire that is glued to your teeth, and removal retainers are used for the top teeth and permanent retainers are on the lower teeth. Also, you need to floss regularly for about 60 seconds if you have a permanent retainer. The permanent retainers have a higher success rate than removal once, but still retainers use depends on what is best for your teeth.  

  • How Do You Remove Permanent Retainers Glue at Home?

    If your permanent retainer breaks, and you might try to remove the glue by yourself at home. But for your safety please see a dentist or orthodontist to have the glue removed, because they will remove them safely and effectively.

  • How Long Do Permanent Retainers Lost?

    Permanent retainers can last up to 20 years with proper care, also it depends on how well you care for it. A permanent retainer isn’t exactly “permanent” because it may need to be replaced. But still, it’s worth removing the retainer alternative.


Permanent retainers can be the best and convenient alternative to having removal plastic retainers. But still, they are not for everyone. Permanent retainer is a great way to keep your teeth in line for many years.

Talk to an orthodontist or dentist for more options according to your dental goals and needs, and see what is right for you.

Make sure to contact your dentist immediately if you are experiencing something wrong with your retainer or teeth. Because it may damage or cause harm to your health and your teeth.

Hopefully, you like this article, if you have any questions and suggestions kindly put them in the comment box below.  

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