When straightening your teeth with an Invisalign® treatment, there is a lot of information that you are going to need. During a consultation, we will go over the details of what to expect throughout the treatment and afterward. We will also go over a factor that some do not consider: wearing a retainer after treatment.
What happens after my Invisalign® treatment?
An Invisalign® treatment typically takes anywhere from one year or two before successfully correcting the alignment. On a daily basis, patients need to wear clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours. While the aligners move the teeth into the correct position, there is a risk that the teeth will try to move back into the incorrect position. To prevent this, we will recommend a retainer.
The retainer holds the teeth in their final position. The length of time that the patient needs to wear the retainer will depend on how far the teeth move during the Invisalign® treatment. It is common for an orthodontist to recommend wearing a retainer 24 hours a day for a year. Naturally, the retainer will come out to eat and brush teeth, just like the aligners.
After the first year, most patients only need to wear their retainer at night. Some patients may continue to wear the retainer every night for life. For example, if a patient has a tongue thrust, then a retainer will the patient will need to wear the retainer indefinitely to prevent the teeth from pushing forward during sleep.
More about retainers
There are two types of retainers: A clear plastic one and a type of retainer that consists of plastic and metal.
#1. Clear plastic retainers
Clear plastic retainers surround the teeth similar to aligners. In fact, these retainers look virtually the same. In some cases, patients even wear their last aligner as a retainer temporarily. The retainer functions in the same way by holding the teeth in place. The difference is that this retainer holds teeth in the permanent position. The individual does not need to switch it out like the aligners. This makes it important to keep good care of it and to prevent it from becoming damaged or lost.
#2. Plastic and metal retainers
Retainers with plastic and metal sit on the roof of the mouth. they then connect a wire to the plastic piece that goes in front of the teeth. This essentially positions the teeth between the metal wire and the plastic piece. The benefit of this type of retainer is that we can adjust the metal as necessary. Thus, if an adjustment is necessary, we can make it without needing to replace anything. These retainers are sometimes more affordable as well, making them a preferred option for some patients.
Regardless of the type of retainer a patient has, it is necessary to be careful with them. Keeping them in a plastic case when not worn is wise, as is rinsing and washing them regularly. If they are worn as directed, the teeth should remain in place after an Invisalign® treatment.
Call our Leawood, KS, dental office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.
Learn more about what happens after teeth have been straightened by speaking with an orthodontist at our clinic.