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Orthodontist • Grass Valley, CA

Orthodontics Blog

Permanent Retainers vs. Removable Retainers. Which is the right option for you?

Whew–You’ve finally made it!

After months of dedication you’ve taken care of your teeth and your braces are coming off. Congratulations! Unfortunately, you haven’t quite reached the end of the road just yet.

Once your braces come off, it’s time to make some decisions about retainers. Retainers hold your teeth in place so they don’t shift back to their original positions and undo all your hard work!

But which type of retainer is best for you?

There are two primary kinds of retainers; permanent and removable. There are some basic pros and cons to both that can help you make a decision about which is right for you.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent Retainers


  • Once permanent retainers are put in, you don’t have to worry about them anymore! No remembering where you put them or packing them with you on trips–they’re always there.

  • There is less of a chance of your teeth migrating back to the previous positions because they are held in place 100% of the time.

  • Since they are glued to the back of your teeth, they aren’t visible at all from the outside. In pictures and day-to-day interactions, all people will notice is your beautiful smile!


  • Flossing is already a difficult thing to motivate people to do. Permanent retainers add a little extra time and effort for flossing between the teeth the retainer is attached to. We will teach you how and give you the tools to make it pretty quick, but it will add a little time to your oral care regimen.

  • Because they are secured onto your teeth at all times, they are more susceptible to build-up forming around them. This makes it even more important to be diligent about taking care of your teeth and sticking to your scheduled dental cleanings to avoid plaque and cavities.

Removable Retainers

Removable Retainers


  • There are multiple types of removable retainers to choose from including VIVERA from Invisalign–a system of clear retainers that can simply be mailed to you. You will receive 4 retainers so you can swap out for a brand new one every 3 months!

  • Removable retainers are simple to use. They are formed to fit directly into your mouth and we do our best to make them as comfortable as possible for you to wear.

  • When you take removable retainers out, it’s very easy to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly because there’s nothing in the way!


  • Let’s face it, some of us are pretty forgetful. If you’re the person who factors in an extra 15 minutes to your morning schedule to hunt for where they last set their keys, then this option may not be best for you.

  • Removable retainers need to be taken out before eating, playing sports, and other activities. This means you may need your case handy!

  • When you’re wearing a removable metal retainer, it is quite noticeable. A metal wire will be visible on the outside of your teeth and wearing this kind of retainer may cause a mild speech impediment while it’s being worn.

Ultimately, you’re the one who will be privy to the benefits and drawbacks of either type of retainer, so make the decision carefully and with your own best interests at heart.

If you’re interested in learning more about retainers, contact us!

For a beautiful smile!

Drs Cater and Galante

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