Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault 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:
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.
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.