Ask the Dentist with Dr. Mark Burhenne

Episode #50: Keep or Remove My Permanent Retainer?

February 22, 2022 Dr. Mark Burhenne - Functional Dentist Episode 49
Ask the Dentist with Dr. Mark Burhenne
Episode #50: Keep or Remove My Permanent Retainer?
Show Notes

Following the removal of braces, many orthodontists place a fixed retainer to ensure there is no relapse movement of your teeth. However, as Dr. B explains today, teeth are a dynamic tissue, and permanently fixing them in place can cause a multitude of oral health issues such as gum recession, gum disease, and even bone loss. Join us as Dr. B addresses Sarah and Staci’s questions about whether fixed retainers are a good idea in children and adults. The short answer is no (although there are exceptions even to this!). Tune in to learn how fixed retainers cause damage, the studies that support this, and where you can go to have yours removed. Dr. B gives some great suggestions on safer alternatives, along with tips and tricks to ensure that your kid is diligent in using these. We also hear how the field of orthodontics is changing, and why referring children before the age of five to get maxillary expansion can save them from needing braces and retainers later on in life. Press “Play” now to find out more!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to today’s topic: fixed lower retainers and how long you should be wearing yours [0:00:12]
  • What a fixed retainer is, where they are typically placed on the lower jaw, and why [0:02:58]
  • Why it’s urgent to see a dentist if your fixed retainer breaks [0:04:26]
  • Why a fixed retainer is used in the first place: a real estate analogy [0:05:17]
  • What Dr. B has noticed through experience with patients with fixed retainers: gum disease, gum recession, and bone loss [0:07:48]
  • Dr. B’s take on fixed retainers and the studies supporting his observations [0:12:01]
  • Why the fixed nature of these retainers is the problem [0:15:01]
  • Why Dr. B is not worried about the metal content of a fixed retainer [0:15:59]
  • What you should do if you already have a fixed retainer in place, and tips on how to avoid one being placed in your kids [0:16:48]
  • How to prevent the need for retainers: maxillary expansion in children [0:21:18]
  • Why there is no such thing as a permanent fix in dentistry [0:23:48]
  • Where to direct any other questions for Dr. B about orthodontics [0:26:27]
  • The exceptions where a fixed retainer is better for the patient than a removable one [0:27:51]
  • What to do if you get pushback from your orthodontist: find a functional dentist [0:29:03]

How to Submit Your Question:

Record your question for Dr. B at 

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Long-Term Periodontal Status of Patients With Mandibular Lingual Fixed Retention

Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever

Selected Articles from Ask the Dentist on Metal Toxicity

Selected Articles from Ask the Dentist on Stainless Steel

Selected Articles from Ask the Dentist About How Ortho Is Changing

Ask the Dentist

Follow Dr

Check out Dr. B's website for more information:

Subscribe to Dr. B's newsletter Mondays with Mark: