Find out everything you need to know for after your treatment — including how long you need to wear retainers after invisalign
Invisalign treatment may be less of a hassle than metal braces, but it is still a huge accomplishment when you reach the end of your Invisalign journey. However, before you get ahead of yourself, there are a few more things you need to do after you get to the end of your clear aligners. At your last Invisalign appointment, you can expect to receive a set of clear retainers and some instructions for use.
Today, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about wearing retainers after Invisalign and how to care for your retainers. Keep reading to learn what you need to do after your treatment — and how long you can expect to wear your retainers.
Will I Have to Wear Retainers after Invisalign Treatment?
Yes, everyone who finishes treatment needs to wear retainers after Invisalign
Wearing your retainer is one of the most important parts of your treatment.
When you finish your last round of clear aligners, your teeth will now be in their correct position. It’s an amazing feeling to admire your newly straightened teeth, but they will not stay that way unless you wear your retainer as recommended. So, if you’re wondering if you need to wear a retainer after Invisalign, the answer is an emphatic yes.
Once your teeth are moved into the correct position, they will not stay there permanently. In fact, your teeth are actually the most susceptible to shifting just after treatment. So, it is most important that you wear your retainer as your orthodontist recommends.
How Long Will I Need to Wear My Retainers After Invisalign?
At first, you will need to wear your retainers after Invisalign for at least 22 hours each day
Your orthodontist will give you instructions to take care of your retainers.
During your last Invisalign appointment, your orthodontist will recommend that you wear your new retainers for at least 22 hours per day. Wait — that’s just as many hours as with Invisalign clear aligners, right? That’s correct.
As we just discussed, your teeth will start shifting immediately after you stop wearing Invisalign. That’s because teeth are set in bone, not stone, and all the time you just spent moving them into their ideal positions can be undone if you don’t wear your retainers. While the retainers won’t move your teeth any further, they will ensure that they stay in their correct place.
That means that the same Invisalign rules apply to your retainers — you should only remove them to eat and drink. For the first 6 months, you’ll be expected to wear an Invisalign retainer for 22+ hours per day. After the 6 months are complete, your orthodontist will recommend you begin wearing your retainers overnight. You should plan on wearing a nighttime retainer indefinitely, as this is the best way to prevent your teeth from gradually shifting out of place and affecting your brand new smile.
Do I Still Need to Visit My Orthodontist after Invisalign?
Your orthodontist still needs to check in to make sure your teeth stay in place after treatment
Your orthodontist can verify your progress and make sure you are on the right track.
Now that you’ve finished your treatment, you are probably excited that you won’t need to make quite as many trips to the orthodontist. However, before you get ahead of yourself, you should schedule follow up appointments to monitor your progress after treatment. During these appointments, your orthodontist will examine your teeth and verify that your treatment was a success. Following up on your treatment is crucial because you want to prevent teeth shifting after Invisalign. Otherwise, you may have to undergo another round of treatment.
How Do I Take Care of My Retainer After Invisalign?
Take care of your retainer after Invisalign treatment to get the most out of your investment
You want to keep your retainers looking clean and clear.
A common question patients have is how much do retainers cost. While you may be given your first set for free, their lifespan is approximately 6 months, and you will likely have to purchase your next set out of pocket. Clear plastic retainers, like Invisalign’s Vivera® model, cost between $100 to $300 per set, depending on how many sets you buy at a time. So it is important to take great care to preserve their full lifespan.
Over time, you might notice that plaque and bacteria have begun to build up on your retainer. Though this is completely normal, knowing how to clean Invisalign retainers (and doing it frequently) will prevent discoloration, preserve their quality, and keep them smelling fresh and clean.
If you are wearing your retainers for the recommended amount of time, but are not cleaning them on a regular basis, then you will end up yellowing and damaging your retainers. So, if you want your replacement retainers to last as long as possible, follow these tips:
1. Brush Your Retainers - To clean your retainers with a toothbrush, start by grabbing a gentle soap or nonabrasive toothpaste. Then, using a soft bristle toothbrush, gently brush your retainer. You should brush your retainers after every meal. If you are on the go or don’t have time to brush your retainer, try Smilesaver™, a cleaning spray that instantly kills bacteria and refreshes your retainer.
2. Soak Your Retainers - Using a retainer cleaning tablet, you can soak your retainers overnight for a deep clean. Simply leave your retainers in a glass of water and let the tablet work overnight. You should soak your retainer once a week in addition to regular brushing.
3. Store Your Retainers Properly - Improper storage is an easy mistake to make. Most people do not know that when your retainer is stored outside of its case, it can collect bacteria from your sink, counter, or wherever else it may be sitting. To keep your retainers as sanitary as possible, always store them properly in a dedicated retainer case.
Retainer wear after Invisalign is an important step to ensure a long enduring smile. If you have more questions about wearing retainers after Invisalign, check out our Movemints blog to answer every question you have about straightening your teeth with clear aligners!