Summary - Purpose. Fixed retainers are used to stabilize dental elements after orthodontic treatment. Being it a permanent treatment, it is necessary to instruct patients about a constant and continuous monitoring of their periodontal conditions and a correct oral hygiene. The aim of this study was to highlight the possible adverse effects of bonded retainers on parameters
correlated to the health conditions of periodontal tissues.
Materials and methods. We selected 16 patients, under treatment in the Orthodontics Department of University of Bari Dental School, who had undergone a lingual retainer insertion at the end of the orthodontic treatment. The patients were then divided into two groups (Control Group and Study Group) and monitored for 3 and 36 months, respectively. The following indexes were taken into consideration: gingival index (GI), plaque index (PI) and the presence of calculus (Calculus Index, CI), the probing depth and the presence of gingival recession on the six inferior frontal dental elements.
Results. After the observation was carried out, any of the patients showed periodontal sockets and gingival recession. In the Study Group, only 1 patient had a PI score=3, the 7 left had scores between 0.66 and 2.83. In the Control Group, one patient had score=0, the other ones showed values between 0.5 and 1.66. The mean GI in the Study Group peaked at a score of 2.83, the minimum was 0.66; whereas in the Control Group the maximum value was 2 and the minimum 0.66.
The CI in the Group Study was between 1 and 2. In the Control Group it was absent in only 1 patient, whereas in the remaining 7, it had a value between 0.3 and 1. The clinical data were studied by means of the Wilcoxon test. We found a statistically significant difference for what concerns the Plaque Indexes (PI) (P>0.05) and Calculus Indexes (CI) (P>0.1) in both groups, with higher scores in the Study Group, having retainers for 36 months. Any statistically significant difference was calculated for the GI.
Conclusions. We can therefore conclude that patients with lingual retainers need periodontal hygiene and treatment as
to prevent, in the course of time, periodontal damages non-detectable in short-term.