Do I Need To Wear a Retainer After Invisalign?

Egan, MN – So you’ve completed your Invisalign treatment and are looking forward to being appliance free. But not so fast – to ensure your teeth retain their new positions, you’ll need to wear a retainer for a while after your Invisalign treatment is finished.

“After tooth movement, it takes a while for your mouth to adjust to everything,” says your ORTHODONTIST. “The periodontal ligament needs time to adjust – because it is elastic, it tends to want to go back to its previous position, and your teeth will want to migrate back to where they were before, too. That’s why after treatment, it’s crucial to continue to wear a retainer for as long as your orthodontist recommends.”

Most orthodontists will recommend Vivera retainers after Invisalign. The retainers are from the makers of Invisalign, and are custom made using the same state-of-the-art technology as your Invisalign aligners were. They offer a precise and comfortable fit.

The proprietary material used in the Vivera retainers is stronger to ensure the teeth maintain their new locations. This also means your retainer will be more resistant to cracking or breaking.

“Any retainer you use must be strong enough to retain your tooth movement and prevent relapse,” says your doctor. “Studies have shown that Vivera retainers are 30 percent stronger than other clear retainers. They are so strong that they can even correct cases of minor relapse.”

After your Invisalign treatment is completed, your orthodontist will advise you on when to wear your retainer. For most patients, this will be round the clock, and will be slowly minimized over time. Some patients may be advised they can switch to only wearing the retainer at night after six months.

Retainer wear is important for all orthodontic treatment patients, but especially teens and adolescents. This is because the bones are still considered soft, meaning the teeth will be even more likely to migrate back to their previous positions because the bone hasn’t hardened enough to hold them in place. And this movement can happen within just weeks of completing treatment.

Some have suggested that Invisalign patients can simply wear their last aligner tray as a retainer. Your ORTHODONTIST advises against this for a couple of reasons.

The first is that while the aligner is wonderful for moving your teeth, it won’t be as strong as a retainer would. You need that extra strength to hold the teeth in place and ensure there is no relapse. The aligners simply aren’t made for long-term use, and they won’t be able to stand up to continuous wear, 24 hours a day for months at a time.

A retainer will be easier to clean. The aligner trays get dirty, and over time, even with carefully cleaning it, you won’t want to put it back in your mouth.

The amount of time you’ll need to wear your retainer will depend on the severity of your individual case. Some patients may only need to wear theirs 12 hours a day to maintain their beautiful smile, while others will need to wear their retainer around the clock. It is important during the retention phase of treatment, just as with every other phase, that you do not compare your case to anyone else’s. Your mouth and your malocclusion are unique to you, so just because your friend was told to wear her retainer only at night doesn’t mean the same will apply to you.

If you have questions about the type of retainer that is best for you or how to properly wear your retainer, ask your ORTHODONTIST today.

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