When an orthodontist removes your braces, he or she may put a bonded retainer along the back of your lower teeth. You'll barely be aware of this wire's presence, but it will help to prevent your teeth from crowding in the years ahead. Some people have their bonded retainers in place for a long time, and this isn't usually necessary. In fact, your orthodontist may advocate its use for only a certain number of years, but since you won't be visiting the orthodontist after your braces come off, you might not bother making an appointment to remove the retainer. Here are some reasons that leaving this dental device in place indefinitely is a bad idea.
Tartar Can Build Up Around It
The longer that you leave a bonded retainer in your mouth, the more likely it is that you'll have eventual issues with tartar. Tartar can build up on any surface inside of your mouth, and the bonded retainer provides additional surfaces on which the tartar can accumulate. Tartar growth, of course, is detrimental because of not only the risk that it poses to the health of your teeth but also the role that it can have in gum disease. When you visit your dentist to get the bonded retainer removed — something that you can do during a regularly scheduled cleaning — your risk of tartar will be lessened.
You Might Feel Reluctant To Brush Around It
Lots of people don't put a lot of time and effort into brushing the back sides of their teeth, which is a problem to begin with. When you have a bonded retainer in this position, there might be a part of you that feels reluctant to brush in this area. For example, you might be worried about knocking one end of the retainer loose with your brush, which you could see as a hassle because of the need to visit the dentist on an emergency basis. Unfortunately, your reluctance to brush around the retainer can encourage the growth of bacteria and tartar.
Cavities Could Occur Beneath The Wire
A bonding agent holds the bonded retainer in place, but gaps in the agent may form over time. This allows food particles and bacteria to get under the bonding agent where they're extremely difficult to remove by brushing. Over time, the food will break down, resulting in more bacteria, and all of the bacteria can wear away your tooth enamel and eventually lead to cavities. During your next dentist appointment, consult your dentist about your bonded retainer. Even though your orthodontist installed it, your dentist can assess it and remove it if he or she feels that's the best option.
For more information on caring for or removing a permanent retainer, contact a dentist like Steven Abrams DMD.