Invisalign Braces: What Happens After You Finish Treatment

Posted by On 15-01-2021

Invisalign braces have become the teeth straightening treatment of choice for over two decades. First introduced back in 1997, the invisible aligners offered a less invasive, almost invisible alternative to traditional braces while offering the same results. They are the first choice for most adults who might be embarrassed to be wearing braces later in life.

Invisalign trays are removable for eating and improved dental hygiene. Treatment also doesn’t require tiresome adjustments at your dental office. Instead, you just swap out the aligners at home every two weeks. While all this sounds wonderful, what happens after your treatment is finished? Here’s an overview of what you can expect.

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

Adults can expect to complete their treatment within a year. However, this can vary for teens depending on the severity of their misalignment.

Is maintenance required once Invisalign treatment ends?

Yes, just like traditional braces, once your treatment is complete, you still require maintenance for your new smile. This is very important because, without proper maintenance, all the effort put into wearing your aligners can be undone.

What does maintenance involve?

Your Invisalign post-treatment maintenance requires retainers. Retainers are comfortable and help keep your teeth in place.

Do I have to wear the retainers forever?

Yes, in many cases you do. However, you will wear them less and less each day.

Where do I get my Invisalign retainer?

You can get your retainers from your dental office. They must be customized to fit your teeth just like your Invisalign aligners.

How do I care for my Invisalign retainer?

Care is really no different than your Invisalign trays. However, it is even more important with your retainers, as you wear them for a much longer period of time than the two weeks of your aligners. That means you have to be diligent to ensure:

  • No eating with them on, especially sticky foods that can get caught on them and cause damage
  • Avoid hot drinks when wearing your retainers as they can damage or even melt them
  • Rinse your retainer at least once a day or any time you take it out and put it back on

Is a retainer the only maintenance required?

While not related directly to your retainer, you must continue to practice good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing twice a day. You should also see your dentist twice a year so they can follow your progress and check your retainers for damage. Also, if you feel something is off with your bite, set up an appointment to check for potential issues.

What happens without maintenance?

If you don’t wear the retainer, you might as well say goodbye to your new perfect smile. All your efforts will be wasted because it’s just a matter of time before your teeth drift back to their original positions. This is not a maybe, but a sure thing. You also increase the risk for incomplete remodelling of the tooth socket and retaining bone.

Why can’t I use my last alignment tray?

Your retainers need to be made of a sturdier material to last longer than the short two weeks of your alignment trays. If you just use your aligners they will be damaged very quickly, which can interfere with fit and cause more harm than good.

Do I have to replace my retainer?

If you feel a difference in fit, or notice signs of damage, then you should call us right away. We’ll check to see if there is damage, and whether or not replacements are needed.

Is there only one kind of retainer?

You can choose between two options:

  1. Fixed Retainers

    These are thin, metal wires cemented to the back of your teeth keeping your teeth in place permanently. It might be more permanent but also a lot more trouble as it is difficult to clean and can put your teeth at higher risk for tooth decay.

  2. Removable retainers

    These can be either wire or clear retainers like your aligners. So in theory there are actually three kinds of retainers available. Most people prefer the aligner style as they are used to the feel of them and how to care for them properly. The wire retainer sits against the roof of your mouth and has a metal wire that wraps around the front of your teeth so it is most noticeable.

Is there any way to avoid wearing a retainer?

No, unfortunately not. As mentioned, without your retainer your teeth will just drift back to their original position, or thereabouts. It really erases all the effort and money that went towards your Invisalign treatment, to begin with. Also, you really will need to wear the retainer less and less, so eventually, it will be down to a bare minimum of time you wear them each day.

To learn more about what happens after you finish Invisalign treatment, call Milltown Dental at (888) 250-8819 or contact us here.


Leave A Comment


  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by Mililani dentist

    It’s great to know that there are options available for the type of retainer, as well as tips on how to care for them properly.

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by Lihue kids dentist

    Learning about the importance of wearing and caring for a retainer is so important.

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by Lihue dentist

    It’s important to understand that wearing a retainer is part of the process in order to maintain your new smile!

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by kona dentist

    This is a great explanation of the different types of retainers and how to care for them.

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by kahului dentist

    It may seem like an extra hassle but it really isn’t with the clear retainers, as they are almost invisible and very easy to take care of.

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by kapolei dentist

    It’s worth it in the end! Thanks for this great blog post! 🙂

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by kaneohe dentist

    Invisalign is a revolutionary treatment for straightening teeth and it’s so great that you need to continue wearing the retainer to keep your perfect smile.

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by dentist honolulu

    I appreciate all the helpful tips as well Julie!

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by Tim B. Ross

    Helpful for those of us who have just gotten our new retainers! 🙂

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by hilo dentist

    It can make our patients feel more secure in ensuring their smile stays perfect after treatment! Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by Harry A. Wise

    It’s great to have a comprehensive guide on how to care for the Invisalign retainer and what the consequences are if we don’t maintain it. Great one Julie!

  • Posted on 10-03-2023 by Shelby Bean

    Thanks for the informative article Dr. Julie!

  • Posted on 07-02-2023 by Elle Jones

    It’s fantastic that you indicated people can anticipate finishing their treatment in a year. To fix her crooked teeth, my daughter prefers to have Invisalign rather than braces. I appreciate the information about Invisalign and am hoping to take my daughter this weekend to a reputable dentist for it.

  • Posted on 12-01-2023 by SCS

    Invisalign braces are really helpful for oral health.

  • Posted on 09-11-2022 by Brenda Phillips

    Good source so far for this blog. I need to tell my wife about this information since she has a retainer now for sure this will be a good information for her. Thanks!

  • Posted on 28-10-2022 by Olivia Smart

    Thank you for explaining about using clear retainers after you finish Invisalign. My daughter has been wondering if she can just use her last aligner instead of getting a retainer. I think knowing that she can get something in a similar form will be comforting to her.

  • Posted on 07-10-2022 by Marine Reuben

    Quite educational
    Thank you for sharing such informative article.

  • Posted on 20-07-2022 by David P. Herbert

    I appreciate you providing this helpful article about Invisalign and retainer. Good read!

  • Posted on 17-05-2022 by John Doolette

    Thank you for sharing this useful information. Unlike traditional metal braces, which take 18 to 24 months to complete, Invisalign takes only 12 months to complete. So Invisalign is better compared to braces.

  • Posted on 02-02-2022 by Mats Wolff

    Its great when you said that adults can expect to complete their treatment within a year. My daughter prefers to get Invisalign instead of braces to straighten her crooked teeth. Thanks for the information on Invisalign and I hope that I can take my daughter to a good dentist for it this weekend.