Street Pinsapo 8-1ºB

29601 Marbella

+34 952 77 77 47

Which is better, a fixed or removable retainer?

Invisailign, Specialized treatments

At Kaizen Orthodontics the same day we remove the braces we give you transparent retainers that you will only use to sleep, a few days later when your definitive retainers are ready we will change them for fixed or removable retainers depending on your needs. What is the difference between one and the other?


Fixed retainers are braided metal wires that are cemented to the inside of your teeth, they adapt to the specific shape of your teeth to ensure that there is no tension when they are fixed. They are not noticeable because they are behind the teeth and only on the front teeth. It is a very durable retention and usually lasts for years without needing to be renewed.

If you have had periodontal disease (loss of bone around the teeth) and your teeth are very mobile, we will also use this type of retention to join them together and distribute the chewing forces, preventing spaces from opening up again.

This type of fixed retention is most commonly used in the lower arch and in the upper arch? In order to use it on the upper teeth we need a gap between the upper and lower teeth when closing them, often there is no space because the occlusion is very well closed, if we placed it you would be very uncomfortable because:

  • When closing your lower teeth would collide with the retainer.
  • The back teeth would not contact
  • The retainer would end up coming off frequently.

The advantages of fixed retention are:

  • It works 24 hours a day
  • You don’t need to remember to put it in and take it out.
  • You don’t need extra material for maintenance, you can clean it by brushing your teeth.
  • You can (and should) use floss (superfloss®).

The disadvantages are:

  • You can’t eat hard things e.g. seeds, chewing apples, bites of bread, because it might come unstuck.
  • You need to be extremely hygienic in the area where you wear it because it retains more plaque and this causes tartar to form more quickly.
  • If it comes off, you should go to the dentist’s surgery as soon as possible so that the loose retainer does not irritate your tongue or gums.


Removable retainers are those that you can take out and put in, they are only used at night (generally in the upper arch).

As a removable retainer you can use a Hawley, which is a plate that covers the roof of your mouth and has an arch that surrounds your teeth to prevent them from shifting.

Another option is the unloading splints that we will indicate you to sleep in case you have a joint problem or clench your teeth. Their function is to prevent the teeth from wearing down and to help the joint rest and not become inflamed.

The advantages of the removable retainer are:

  • You can eat as much as you want as it will not come off.
  • If it gets damaged, it won’t hurt you because you can just stop wearing it and that’s it.
  • It is easy to clean and you can see all the nooks and crannies of the appliance and it does not affect the hygiene of your teeth.

The disadvantages of the removable retainer are:

  • It only works when you wear it, if you forget to put it in, it doesn’t work.
  • You need cleaning tablets for the retainer and a container (glass) to let it work.
  • Periodically it is also advisable to clean the retainer box to prevent microorganisms from proliferating in the humidity and darkness.

Do you have any more questions about retainers? Do you want to know what they are for? Click here to read more information about the use of retainers.

If you want to see your teeth well aligned, would you like to know what type of treatment is best suited to you? Make a free appointment with our doctors on 952 77 77 47 and we will inform you about your treatment options, the approximate duration and the budget for your case.