Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – Eventually, all the hard work and dedication you’ve given to your Invisalign dental plan will pay off, and your ORTHODONTIST will finally say that your treatment is complete. Yay! But now what?
Once your treatment is finished, you will need retainers to hold those immaculate molars in their new positions. Most of us have heard stories of a person’s teeth shifting after years of wearing braces. But could this really happen? Unfortunately, yes. As with any other orthodontic treatment, your teeth could shift out of place if you don’t follow the retention plan.
Why Would My Teeth Shift Back?
When your smile is being actively aligned through orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign, a lot of pressure is being placed on your teeth. This causes the periodontal ligament to stretch on one side and compress on the other, essentially loosening the tooth so it can be moved into alignment. The bone then grows and supports the newly positioned tooth in a method referred to as bone remodeling.
Once your treatment is done, the periodontal ligament will naturally try to revert to its original position. This makes the risk of relapse during the first few months after treatment very high. This is why retention is so important.
What is Retention?
It’s important to realize that there is still work to do on your smile, even after you’re finished with your Invisalign treatment. Just as it took time for your teeth to relocate to their new, beautiful positions, it will also take time for them to settle and stabilize there.
Retention refers to the orthodontic method of maintaining your corrected tooth alignment once you are finished with the ‘active’ tooth movement phase. This is most commonly done with orthodontic retainers. Retainers help your teeth resist the tendency to return to their pretreatment positions.
Your ORTHODONTIST will prescribe the retention plan tailored just for you. It can take up to a year for your teeth to stabilize after treatment, which is why some retainers are used full-time for the first six months; and after that worn only at night. However, most retainers are worn for as long as you’ve worn Invisalign to ensure that your smile stays beautiful and orderly.
In truth, there is a lifelong risk that your teeth could shift from their new positions, so the best plan is a permanent one. Luckily, after the initial retention period, your retainer will no longer be necessary during the day. So, while it is vital to wear your retainer to keep your teeth from shifting, there is no need for it to interfere with your daily life. During this phase, you can simply pop your retainer in at night and then take it out in the morning. By making this a part of your nightly routine, you are more likely to stick with it and reap the benefits of your new beautiful smile for years to come.
Do I Need To Wear My Retainer Forever?
Yes! Did you know that a lot of people seeking Invisalign treatment have worn braces in the past? That’s right; these people made one simple mistake…not wearing their retainers. Don’t make the same mistake.
While it may sound like a bummer that you must wear a nightly retainer, it’s nothing compared to the horror and disappointment you would feel if you noticed that your teeth have shifted. Retainers still allow you to brush and floss normally and are far from invasive. In fact, your retainer will be quite similar to the aligners you wore throughout your Invisalign treatment. Plus, you get the additional bonus of protecting your teeth from nighttime grinding and other wear and tear.
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