So you’re nearing the end of treatment and soon you’ll be able to put away your last set of Invisalign aligners. You’ve almost made it to that exciting moment when you get to enjoy your brand new smile — free from any hardware! But before you get ahead of yourself, there are a few adjustments you’ll need to make to prepare for life after Invisalign. You might be done with your Sensational Smiles treatment, but you’re not quite done with orthodontics altogether.
If you’ve been wondering if you need to wear a retainer after Invisalign, the answer is yes. Fortunately, Sensational Smiles includes a set of retention aligners for you to wear for up to three months post-treatment to help lock your new smile into place. After that, you’ll need to invest in a proper retainer, like the Vivera retainers we use at Sensational Smiles. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about retention aligners and traditional orthodontic retainers, including:
- How retention aligners work
- The benefits of retention aligners and Vivera retainers
- Why you need to wear a retention device after Invisalign
What is an Orthodontic Retainer?
Over the course of your Invisalign treatment, your teeth have been through a lot. They’ve been constantly (but gradually) shifting into their ideal positions to create your perfect smile, literally changing the structure of your mouth. As you worked your way through your treatment plan, your teeth consistently had the support of your aligners to keep them on track. Once you finish with your aligners, it’s only natural that your teeth will want to move back to their original places.
Sensational Smiles’ retention aligners prevent that from happening. They keep your teeth where we want them and where you’ve waited so patiently for them to be. Think of it this way: Invisalign was the treatment phase and your retention aligners are the maintenance phase. Once you’re done with Invisalign, we’ll give you a custom set of retention aligners to wear for several months post-treatment to hold your teeth in their new positions. Basically, the retention aligners are “passive” Invisalign aligners, meaning they’re not working to move your teeth any further; rather, they lock your bite into place. Standard orthodontic retainers work in a similar way.
So what happens if you don’t wear a retainer or retention aligners after Invisalign? Your teeth will eventually shift out of alignment, which means you’ll need more orthodontic treatment in the long run to get your straight smile back.
Types of Orthodontic Retainers
There are many different types of orthodontic retainers to choose from, each with their own list of pros and cons. Let’s look at each type in detail so you can make the most informed decision for your post-Invisalign care.
This type of retainer consists of a thin metal wire that’s permanently fixed to the back of your teeth, usually the bottom front teeth. People who have straightened their teeth with braces often prefer permanent retainers because they don’t have to worry about how often to wear it. However, we do not offer or recommend permanent retainers at Sensational Smiles. That’s because the cons — such as difficulty keeping the wire clean, the potential for tooth damage or general discomfort, and the increased risk of gum disease — outweigh the pros.
Removable retainers are the most common type of orthodontic retainer and they come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Hawley retainers are made from a custom piece of acrylic that’s molded to fit the roof of your mouth and connects to a wire that runs along the front of your teeth to keep them aligned. Hawley retainers are quite visible, can be uncomfortable for patients and may even affect their speech.
If you’re looking for a more discreet way to maintain your smile, a clear retainer may be a better option. At Sensational Smiles, we offer clear Vivera retainers for purchase after treatment. The best part is that they look and function just like your Invisalign aligners, making it super easy for Invisalign wearers to make the shift from treatment phase to maintenance phase. That’s because Vivera retainers are made by Invisalign using the same state-of-the-art technology, so you know you’re getting the very best.
Vivera retainers are also extremely convenient and accurate. You won’t even need a scan since your Vivera retainer will be created based on your last stage Invisalign aligner with the most ideal tooth position. We also keep your retainer specifications on file for 10 years, so a replacement retainer is just a phone call away if you ever need one.
Why Do I Need to Wear a Retainer?
The first thing our patients want to know after they finish treatment is, “Why do I have to wear a retainer after Invisalign?” Well, as we’ve outlined, a retainer does exactly what the name implies: it retains the new positioning of your teeth, guaranteeing your beautiful results will last. In other words, a retention device protects your investment in your smile. First, you’ll wear your passive retention aligners (included in your Sensational Smiles treatment) for three months. Then, you’ll switch to an orthodontic retainer to secure your smile in place for a lifetime.
The good news is that you won’t have to wear these appliances all day. In the first few months, you’ll need to wear a retainer 24/7; then, after your teeth get used to their new positions, you’ll only need to wear them at nighttime.
So if you were wondering if you really need to use a retainer after Invisalign treatment, we hope we’ve given you your answer. If you want your beautiful new smile to last, you absolutely have to wear a retention device. Ready to learn more about straightening your teeth with Sensational Smiles? Contact us to book a complimentary consultation today.