If you want to keep your new smile for years to come, the answer is YES! Your retainer is an essential part of your orthodontic treatment. It’s the final phase of your treatment, and possibly the most important. You’ve invested time and money to achieve your gorgeous smile. Now, you have to retain it!
We understand that it’s not ideal to wear yet another appliance right after your Invisalign treatment, but we promise it’s for the best. (And you’ll thank yourself a few years from now, when your smile is just as perfect as it was on the day your Invisalign treatment ended.)
Why do you need retainers after Invisalign?
“Isn’t Invisalign already pretty similar to a retainer?” Well, yes, it does resemble an Essix retainer. This doesn’t mean Invisalign took the place of your retainer, though. Wearing a retainer after Invisalign is equally as important as wearing a retainer after braces. Here’s why:
A retainer serves to hold your smile in its final position. Once your Invisalign treatment comes to an end and you take out your clear aligners for the last time, your teeth no longer have the constant support and pressure of your clear aligners.
When your teeth have this newfound freedom, they’re susceptible to shifting out of place or trying to revert to their original pre-treatment position. This is called orthodontic relapse.
Wearing your retainer after Invisalign helps to maintain the pressure that your Invisalign aligners were previously applying. Although your teeth are more susceptible to shift out of place right after your Invisalign treatment, teeth shift naturally. Whether you undergo orthodontic treatment or not, your teeth are still susceptible to shifting over the years.
The difference is: the HARD work you dedicated to your treatment. You wore your aligners for 22 hours every day. You cleaned them and cared for them regularly. They became a part of your life! You don’t want to reverse all of that hard work you and your aligners put in together.
How often do I wear a retainer after Invisalign?
When you first start wearing your retainer, you’ll wear it for 24 hours, through the day and night. This is optimal when your teeth are in their most vulnerable state.
After about 2 months, you get to reduce your wear to nights only! From here, we recommend that you wear your retainer every night—or at least most nights—for life. This is how you maintain an incredible smile for the rest of your life.
What type of retainer will I have?
That depends! We offer a few different types of retainers, including the Hawley acrylic retainer, the clear Essix retainer, and the bonded retainer.
Both the Hawley retainer and Essix retainer are removable, so you’ll be able to pop either of these retainers in and out of place as you need. The fixed retainer is bonded in place and cannot be removed without an orthodontist or dentist.
The Hawley retainer is made with acrylic and has a metal wire across the front of your teeth. . The Essix retainer is the retainer we were talking about earlier. It’s made of transparent plastic, similar to Invisalign aligners only stronger and more durable. (Essix retainers are a favorite among our patients, because they’re practically invisible and esthetically-appealing.)
The bonded retainer has a thin, braided wire that’s adhered to the back surface of the lower teeth.
When your Invisalign treatment is coming to an end, we’ll go over your options with you and help you decide on the best retainer for you! One of our orthodontists, Dr. Saxe or Dr. Drowley, will go over all of this information with you when you’re nearing the end of your Invisalign treatment.
Still have questions about wearing retainers after Invisalign?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re here to answer your questions and help guide you through your treatment process. If your or your child is ready to start treatment, we encourage you to request a complimentary consultation with us in Las Vegas.