Permanent or fixed retainers are made up of a thin wire that is adapted for your specific orthodontic needs and then attached (bonded; ‘glued’) to the inside of your teeth. Normally the front 4 to 6 teeth are used to attach the fixed retainer. These retainers will make sure that your front teeth won’t shift after your orthodontic treatment has been completed.
The reason your orthodontist will strongly advise you to wear retainers after braces for example, is that the reorganizing of tissue around your teeth and the tissue bone, takes time. Retainers will keep your teeth and bite stable, which is especially important during the first month after you have removed your braces.
The time period that you will need to wear your fixed retainers, will be discussed with you by your doctor, because various things can have an influence on it. As a rule of thumb patients wear retainers for as long as they wore their braces. However – if you had gaps between your teeth before treatment, for instance, you might have to wear your retainers longer.
Some nice things about fixed retainers, though: you can’t lose them or forget to wear them, and they are virtually invisible!