If you are considering Invisalign to straighten your teeth, that’s wonderful! By pursuing Invisalign, you will be on your way to a straighter smile before you know it. Despite Invisalign’s popularity, there are a lot of common questions about wearing Invisalign retainers after your treatment. One of the most common inquiries is: How long do Invisalign retainers last?
Luckily, we are here to help clear up some of the common misconceptions about Invisalign retainers and find out exactly how long you need to wear your retainer to make sure your straightened teeth stay in place.
What Is the Difference Between Invisalign Retainers and Invisalign Aligners?
Let’s find out the difference between aligners and retainers to find out how long Invisalign retainers last
Your retainer is the best defense you have against teeth shifting.
Sometimes the difference between Invisalign retainers and Invisalign aligners can become blurry. So, let’s determine the differences between the two orthodontic devices to find out how long Invisalign retainers last.
Invisalign aligners are designed to shift your teeth into place. In order to shift your teeth, you will receive many sets of clear aligners to change out every two weeks. These aligners slowly move your teeth over time, and are not as durable or long lasting as Invisalign retainers.
Invisalign retainers, on the other hand, are more like a traditional retainer you might wear after wearing braces. Retainers are not designed to shift teeth, rather they keep your teeth in place after your treatment. Your Invisalign retainers will also last much longer than the aligners -- you’ll wear them for 6 months before requiring a new set in order for your teeth to stay firmly in place.
So How Long Will My Invisalign Retainer Last After My Treatment?
Invisalign retainers are designed to last long enough to keep your smile permanently in place
Invisalign retainers will last about 6 months after treatment.
When you decide to pursue Invisalign to straighten your teeth, one of the most important points to consider is how big of a commitment it is to stick to the program. Many think that it is an easier alternative to metal braces, but Invisalign treatment still requires a lot of care even after you have straightened your teeth.
Most orthodontists recommend you wear the Invisalign retainer for 22+ hours per day for 3 to 6 months to make sure that your teeth stay in place. It is recommended to change your Invisalign retainer every 6 months or your retainer will begin to degrade.
During the 3 to 6 month period, you are only permitted to remove your aligners to eat or drink during the day, just like when you were in treatment. Remember, your teeth are the most susceptible to shifting right after you complete your last set of aligners, so it is extra important to be compliant with your post-treatment retainer.
If you wear your retainer for the recommended 22+ hours per day, you should not have any issues with teeth shifting and you can then move from all day wear to overnight retainer wear. Check out our other blog for more information about how long you can expect to wear retainers after Invisalign treatment concludes.
How Long to Invisalign Aligners Last Compared to Invisalign Retainers?
Though it is not ideal, sometimes wearing a retainer for longer than 2 weeks is necessary
Avoid any setbacks by wearing your aligners and retainer for the recommended length of time.
Now that we know that your Invisalign retainers last for 6 months, what about the temporary aligners? Though it is less than ideal, it may be useful to keep a set of aligners around just in case you should lose or break your retainer. Your aligner can buy you some time and will last a few more days or even weeks, but it is not recommended for more than a week or so.
If you lose or break your retainer after treatment, you could end up setting yourself back weeks or even months due to shifting. Should you lose or break one of your current retainers, you will have a backup on hand in case of emergencies.
What Will Happen If I Wear My Aligners For Too Long?
Unlike permanent retainers that are made to stand the test of time, Invisalign retainers are only manufactured for temporary use
Always ask your orthodontist for advice if you have any issues with your Invisalign.
While it is okay — with the advice of an orthodontist — to wear your Invisalign aligners for a bit longer than 2 weeks, they are not designed the same way as retainers. If you wear your aligners for too long, they will begin to degrade and will be at a higher risk of breaking or being less effective at retaining your new straight teeth. Should you lose or crack your post-treatment retainer, it is best to contact your orthodontist right away to get a new one. Don’t rely on a single aligner to last for a month until you get a replacement, contact your orthodontist and make sure that you stay on the right track for a perfect smile.
As long as you are careful with your aligners and retainers, and stick to your recommended wear time, you’ll have a brand new smile thanks to Invisalign! If you have more questions about how long Invisalign retainers last, you can ask your orthodontist if Invisalign treatment is right for you. And, If you are looking to get all of the best accessories to keep your clear aligners looking shiny and new, try The Movemints® Essential Aligner Accessories kit. The kit contains their signature Movemints aligner mints to keep your breath fresh and your aligners in the right place. If you are ready to take your retainer care to the next level, try Movemints.