Invisalign is such a convenient orthodontic solution that patients often expect the road after Invisalign treatment to be equally simple. Post-orthodontic care is relatively easy, but it does still require dedication on the part of the patient. You must wear your retainers after Invisalign or risk your teeth going back to the positions in which they were originally fixed.
Straighter and Straighter
Because Invisalign is so comfortable and easy to maintain, you can take for granted that there will still be work to do on your smile after treatment is complete. But retainers are a huge part of any orthodontic treatment, whether you’ve worn Invisalign or traditional metal braces.
Consider retainers as your insurance policy for straight teeth. You spent at least 20 hours a day, every day, for about a year or so, wearing your Invisalign aligners. You cleaned your aligners and rinsed them. You treated them properly, changed them when instructed, and didn’t eat while Invisalign was in your mouth. Your job – at least the Invisalign part of it – is complete. And you worked hard for that achievement. But you still want to maintain the new smile you have. And retainers are necessary in order to make that happen.
Because your teeth have been moving for months, they must now stabilize in their new positions, positions that won’t be permanent without support. The new bone that has been deposited around your teeth thanks to the subtle movements of the Invisalign aligners must have time to solidify. Retainers help get that job done.
Keep Up with Your Retainers
For the less dedicated retainer-wearers, there are options for reinforcing your newly straightened smile. You can wear a removable retainer, or you can have permanent retainers attached to the back of your teeth so that you don’t have to worry about taking care of a mouthpiece anymore and they are less visible to others. Some people dislike this option, though, because it does require special cleaning and attention. The traditional retainer is removable, and that’s always a plus.
As for when you have to wear your retainers, don’t be surprised if your Invisalign provider recommends that you wear your final set of Invisalign aligners for a longer period of time than usual as your retainer is prepped and ready for you to wear. Once your new retainers are available, there are several possibilities for your continuing treatment depending on your personal circumstances. You may be told to wear the retainers all day, every day for six to 12 months. From there, you will likely be instructed to wear the retainers only while sleeping. The time to wear retainers will slowly dwindle, but it is unlikely that there will ever be a time when a retainer is not recommended for a lifetime. And the inconvenience, truly, is small when you think of the gorgeously aligned new smile you now have.
It’s so important to understand that your teeth can easily shift back into their old misaligned positions if you do not keep up with retainer wear after your Invisalign treatment is complete. While you no doubt are over the idea of wearing something on or anywhere near your teeth after a concentrated and intense period of orthodontic treatment, giving up on retainers will eliminate all the work you just put in to straighten your smile.
Keep in mind that retainers are removable, just like Invisalign. The care is just as simple. And there are clear retainers available so that your smile alterations can continue on the down-low. The best choices for your orthodontic needs, whether Invisalign or retainers, is up to you and your dentist. Make an appointment with Dr. Carole Sherrod Jewell at Red Bank Dentistry to find out what kind of treatment is right for aligning your smile.