Once an Invisalign treatment is complete, patients come out with a beautiful new smile that has taken over a year to receive. But it is not over yet. In order to keep that beautiful smile, patients have to continue with an orthodontic aftercare process.
What is Needed?
The first thing that every Invisalign patient will receive after their Invisalign care is a retainer. These retainers keep the teeth aligned and give them something to lean against so they cannot shift back into their original positions. This can especially be a problem for teenagers because their bones are not yet fully hardened.
How Do Retainers Work?
The orthodontist will make one final scan of the patient’s teeth in the same process used for the Invisalign trays. Once that scan is complete, a retainer will be developed that fits perfectly over the patient’s teeth.
Several patients make the wrongful assumption that their final Invisalign tray can serve as a retainer in order to save time, money or physical appearances. This cannot work due to the fact that the trays are not made for long term wear and can become weakened over time. Since the trays were only made for month long periods, they can get dirty very quickly. They are not designed to be cleaned the same way retainers are and will, therefore, get less and less appealing the longer they are worn.
As far as retainers go, while the lower teeth can only receive traditional wire retainers, patients have two basic choices for the upper teeth.
- 1. Traditional Wire Retainers
are the most-used method for keeping teeth aligned. These retainers have a custom plastic top that fits to the roof of the mouth and bendable wire that stretches across the teeth. This form of retainer is simple to clean and extremely durable. Orthodontists usually suggest traditional wire retainers for patients who lead active lifestyles. This retainer also allows the teeth to come together naturally, rather than being covered with clear plastic lining. The cons to this form of retainer is that individuals will often speak with a lisp until they get used to the feeling of plastic against the roof of their mouth. Wire retainers are also extremely noticeable, as opposed to the tray retainers which are clear.
- 2. Clear Plastic Retainers
These are similar in appearance to the Invisalign trays but are composed of tougher material. Vivera Retainers will slip over the teeth in the same way Invisalign trays do. Since nothing goes over the roof of the mouth, is is easier for individuals to speak while wearing them. They are also clear, which makes them less noticeable while being worn. If the retainer is not cleaned properly, they have a tendency to turn yellow or gray, which can affect that appearance of the teeth. Also, since the plastic retainers go over the teeth, they are not able to come together naturally.
It is extremely important to take care of a retainer in order to receive the best results. It also guards against having to purchase a replacement retainer too soon.
- 1. Keeping a Retainer Clean is the number one thing that every patient has to keep track of. Harmful bacteria can build up inside a retainer and damage the teeth that a retainer was meant to protect. Rather than using an abrasive toothpaste that can damage the retainer, there are two basic cleaning options. The first is that an individual can thoroughly scrub their retainer using soap and water. The other option is purchasing tablets that are specifically made for cleaning retainers. This process is easier since the retainer only needs to be soaked in the water with the dissolved tablet for about 20 minutes.
- 2. Protecting a Retainer while Eating or Drinking is another important step, especially with clear plastic retainers. In order to avoid getting food stuck inside retainers, they should be removed while eating. Once an individual is done eating, they should brush their teeth, rinse their retainer and place it back into their mouth. With clear plastic retainers, hot beverages should not be consumed while the retainer is inside the mouth. The heat from the beverage can melt the retainer so it no longer fits properly over the teeth.
- 3. Avoiding Harmful Actions while wearing a retainer can save teeth from several harmful damages. If an individual is a smoker, they should quit immediately in order to protect their teeth. If that is not an option, clear plastic retainers should be avoided as the smoke will turn them yellow. Sporting individuals involved in a lot of action should wear a classic wire retainer due to its superior durability. Individuals should also never chew gum or sticky candy that can get stuck against their retainer.
How Long Do Retainers Last?
Once an individual has gone through an Invisalign process, they will have to wear a retainer for the rest of their lives. While this sounds awful, retainers usually only have to be worn during the nighttime hours. Most patients will go through about six months of having to wear a retainer daily, once those six months are up, they will only have to wear one while sleeping. This can differ depending on a patient’s situation.
When you are faced with orthodontic treatment and want the brightest smile possible, make an appointment to visit Beach Braces Orthodontics. With a caring and professional staff, this Manhattan Beach orthodontics practice will ensure you walk away happy and confident in your new smile!
1730 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Suite B, Manhattan Beach,
What Happens After Invisalign Treatment is Completed?