Fixed Retainers Vs. Removable Retainers: Pros, Cons & Aftercare

Understanding The Differences Between Fixed & Removable Retainers

Fixed retainers, removable retainers; there are a lot of teeth braces options out there while you are deciding on which one you should get. We are here to simplify your decision by giving you the pros and cons of each one.

Fixed retainers are a great orthodontic treatment option for young patients, while removable retainers can be used as an adjunct to fixed retainers. Also, they are ideal for adults. 

There’s a lot to learn about both treatments, so let’s get into it with the following information from a Gilbert Dental Office.

Teeth Straightening With A Removable Retainer In Arizona

The Importance Of Retainers

In short, retainers are orthodontic items that keep teeth straight. They are necessary to ensure your teeth do not move when your previous treatment was completed. If retainers are not placed on your teeth, they will start shifting and moving, and the work to create your beautiful smile will be in vain!

Teeth-straightening is the most important part of any orthodontic process, but retainers are also crucial. Many people tend to ignore them, but that shouldn’t be the case because they can make a difference with long-lasting results. 

What Are Fixed Retainers?

Fixed retainers are wires glued into the tongue side of your front teeth. They are also known as ‘permanent’ or ‘bonded’ retainers. 

These wires are usually made of stainless steel, and they are placed carefully on the backside of your teeth so you cannot see them when you smile. 

Once you’re ready to use them, the Gilbert dentist will place them on the first four or six teeth. These teeth have a higher risk of moving back to their original place once the orthodontic treatment is complete. Fixed or permanent retainers help them stay in place indefinitely.

Pros & Cons Of Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are a great alternative for teeth that are very likely to relapse. It is also a great option for young patients that won’t follow the instructions for using removable retainers.

As for the pros and cons, here we share some.


  • They stay in your teeth 24/7, so they ensure your front teeth won’t move.
  • Compliance is not a problem because they cannot be taken out.
  • They are aesthetically pleasing because they are not visible when you smile or talk.


  • They are difficult to keep clean, food and plaque get stuck in them. 
  • If they are not cleaned properly, they can cause gum disease.
  • Flossing is more difficult because of the wire glued onto your teeth.
  • Hard or crunchy foods can cause the wire to break, so you have to be careful when eating this type of food.

You must clean them carefully according to the directions your Gilbert dentist gives. It may be tedious, but it’s necessary to keep them in good condition. 

What Are Removable Retainers?

As the name implies, they do the same as fixed retainers, but without being installed in the mouth. They are, well, removable! So you can take them out as needed, especially for drinking and eating anything aside from water. 

These retainers are made of clear plastic, so they are not visible at first sight. 

Pros & Cons Of Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are more practical than fixed retainers because you can take them out for eating and drinking. However, they have some disadvantages. 


  • Removable retainers allow you to brush and floss your teeth as usual. You don’t need special tools to keep your teeth clean.
  • You can customize them with your favorite color and design.
  • Removable retainers are clear, so most people won’t even notice you are wearing them.
  • They cover all your teeth, so they ensure none of your teeth move back to their original position after your orthodontic treatment is complete. 
  • Their design is very plain and simple, so your Gilbert dentist won’t give you any special tool to clean them.


  • You can throw them away accidentally if you are not careful. You must always stay alert to where you put them.
  • If you are not compliant with wearing your retainers as instructed, your teeth will shift.
  • You must brush and clean them daily. If you don’t do that, they will start to smell bad due to the bacteria on them. 
  • You periodically have to replace them when they wear out. 

Aftercare Of Both Fixed & Removable Retainers

Regardless of the option you choose, you must be constant with the maintenance. With fixed retainers, you have to be careful when brushing your teeth, and you must clean your retainers to reduce bacterial build-up.

With removable retainers, you cannot forget to clean them daily. Plus, you must replace them every few years as they do wear down. 

Contact A Gilbert Dental Office To Get The Smile You Deserve

If you still have doubts about retainers, contact Gilbert Vista Dental for a consultation and appointment. We can give you the best guidance to know the right retainer for your smiles. Moreover, we can help you with other treatments if necessary. Contact us now


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Gilbert Vista Dental Care
2451 East Baseline Road #210
Gilbert, AZ 85234

Phone: (480) 503-5467