Modern dental technology has made it more possible than ever to get the straighter smile you’ve always wanted—without wearing the metal wires and brackets of traditional braces. Invisalign has become one of the most popular orthodontic treatments. Its removable, clear aligners make moving your teeth completely discreet and comfortable. Additionally, Invisalign also typically takes a shorter length of time than braces. However, you will need to wear a retainer once your Invisalign treatment is completed. Here’s what to know about the last step of Invisalign.
First Things First: Why Do You Need to Wear a Retainer After Treatment?
Invisalign uses a series of custom-designed trays to gradually move your teeth into their desired position. Your dentist will track your progress with the personalized treatment plan that was made during your consultation. After roughly 12 months, your smile should be straightened! However, a retainer is essential after your treatment is complete. They are necessary for several reasons, including:
- Keeping teeth from gradually moving back into their original position
- Maintaining any corrected gaps
- Preserving bite alignment
- Preventing teeth from overcrowding
- Protecting teeth from any teeth grinding (bruxism)
How Long Should You Wear a Retainer After Invisalign?
The amount of time you will be expected to wear a retainer after Invisalign depends on the severity of your misalignment and the type of retainer you choose. In general, you should expect to wear a retainer for at least six months after completing your Invisalign treatment. After that, you may need to wear it for a few nights a week or even every night for the rest of your life. Your dentist will recommend the best plan to keep your smile beautiful!
Types of Retainers
As stated above, the length of time you will be expected to wear a retainer can depend on the type of retainer. There are two main types of retainers that are used after Invisalign:
- Fixed Retainers: Fixed retainers are typically made of metal wires that are bonded to the back of your teeth. They are designed to stay in place permanently, so you won’t have to worry about taking them out or putting them back in. However, they can be difficult to clean and may require regular adjustments. The typical length of time for a fixed retainer is at least six months.
- Removable Retainers: Removable retainers are made of clear plastic and fit over your teeth like a mouthguard. They are easy to take out and put back in, and they can be cleaned with a toothbrush and toothpaste, just like your Invisalign aligners. However, they may need to be replaced every few years as they can become worn out over time. In general, can expect to wear these retainers for less than six months.
The process toward straighter teeth with Invisalign is worth it, including wearing a retainer. After your whole treatment is complete, you will enjoy your aligned smile for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Carol Morgan and her team at Hampton Roads Center for Cosmetic Dentistry serve the smiles of Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry and is an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. By providing customized plans for Invisalign and using advanced dental technology, she can help you achieve your smile goals! To schedule an appointment, contact her through her website or call (757) 412-1400.