Using Retainers after Invisalign®
By Kellyn Hodges on October 25, 2019
Invisalign® is a teeth straightening treatment that is less invasive and more comfortable and convenient than traditional orthodontic techniques. Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners to gradually shift the teeth and jaw so that they sit in proper alignment. Invisalign results are comparable to those of braces.
The results of Invisalign treatment should be long-lasting. However, evidence shows that the teeth can gradually shift back to their prior position in the years following orthodontic treatment. Dr. Kellyn Hodges provides our Philadelphia, PA, patients with retainers after Invisalign to preserve the results of treatment.
How Long Do I Need Retainers after Invisalign?
Many people assume that retainers only need to be worn for a short time following Invisalign treatment. However, if our Philadelphia patients want to maintain straight teeth for the rest of their lives, they need to be committed to a lifetime of retainer use. Retainers hold the teeth and jaw in their proper position and prevent them from gradually shifting out of alignment.
Many Invisalign patients are actually former braces patients who have seen their teeth revert to their previous position because retainers were not provided or not used as directed after braces treatment.
When Are Retainers Worn?
Admittedly, a lifetime of retainer use is not something that most people look forward to. However, retainers are small and unobtrusive, so they are comfortable to wear. Once patients are used to wearing a retainer, they will probably hardly notice it when it is in place.
Furthermore, retainers do not need to be worn full-time. Dr. Hodges may advise patients to wear their retainer all day and night for the first several weeks following Invisalign treatment, but beyond that initial recovery period, retainers only need to be worn at night. Since retainers are worn while a person is sleeping, they will not interfere with biting, chewing, eating, or speaking.
Caring for Retainers
Retainers preserve the results of Invisalign and prevent the need for additional treatment down the road. To ensure that retainers maintain their shape and continue to provide the teeth and jaw with the support they need, our Philadelphia patients should follow some simple care tips:
- Clean retainers daily
- Use non-abrasive cleaners to avoid scratching or damaging retainers
- Keep retainers in a clean, closed retainer case when they are not being worn
- Keep your retainer case in the same location each day to avoid misplacing it
In addition to caring for their retainers, patients need to continue to practice good oral hygiene habits, which includes scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings. At routine dental exams, a dentist can check the position of the teeth and jaw. If there are any signs that the teeth are not holding position, appropriate adjustments can be made (which may include a new retainer) to help patients maintain straight, well-aligned teeth.
Invisalign offers our patients a comfortable and convenient solution for crooked teeth and a misaligned bite. If you would like to find out if Invisalign treatment may be right for you, contact us online, or call (215) 883-0611 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kellyn Hodges.