Is a Retainer Recommended After Invisalign Teeth Straightening?

Invisalign Scottsdale, AZ

Invisalign® clear aligners are a viable option for straightening teeth. Instead of choosing braces, you should consider this cosmetic dentistry method of repairing your smile. There are some key differences between wearing aligners and braces. However, some aspects of your treatment will be similar, including wearing a retainer. Once you finish your aligner treatment, your dentist will discuss when and for how long to wear a retainer.

What the aligners do

Traditional braces consist of metal brackets and wires, along with elastics. Invisalign aligners are plastic oral appliances that fit over the patient’s teeth. Over time, the aligners put pressure on the teeth, forcing them to move into the desired positions in the mouth. The patient will get a new set of aligners at each visit. This will occur every two to four weeks, depending on the person’s needs and progress.

Daily wear

While braces stay on the teeth constantly throughout the treatment period, Invisalign aligners are removable. The dentist will instruct the patient to wear the clear aligners for 21 to 22 hours a day. There are times when the wearer should remove the appliance. This includes while eating and while playing high-contact sports. People with aligners should take them out a few times a day to rinse them off. It is also good to brush them with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride-based toothpaste.

Treatment length

One of the most significant advantages that patients have when wearing Invisalign aligners is that the treatment time is usually shorter. Many people see results within six months and can stop wearing the appliance in a year. Some patients may continue the treatment for up to two years. The treatment length depends on how severely crooked the patients’ teeth are and whether there are any other alignment or bite issues.

After Invisalign treatment

Once the dentist is satisfied with the patient’s progress, the individual will not have to wear the aligners any longer. However, there will still be some work to ensure that the teeth do not start shifting again. Much like patients will do after wearing braces, people who had aligners will wear a retainer. Some dentists may install a permanent retainer on the bottom teeth and have the patient wear a removable one on top.

Wearing the retainer

The dentist will determine how long the patient must wear the retainer and for how many hours a day this should occur. Most patients should wear their retainers for nine to 12 months after Invisalign treatment. This gives the bone time to build up strength to keep the teeth intact. Patients should wear the retainers as much as possible throughout the day. After a year has passed, retainer wearing can be shorter, though the patient should still wear it a few times a week.

Get the most out of your treatment

You will invest a lot of effort into your Invisalign treatment. Once it is over, you can enjoy a beautiful smile. Make sure you wear your retainer afterward for as long as your dentist advises. Doing this will help keep your teeth from drifting and undoing your previous work.

Request an appointment here: or call Sonoran Desert Dentistry at (480) 439-0117 for an appointment in our Scottsdale office.

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