More general dentists are beginning to offer teeth straightening to patients, including the option of invisible braces. There are benefits to choosing a general dentist over a cosmetic dentist or an orthodontist for invisible braces treatment, and it is helpful to understand the benefits and how the treatment process works. Many patients are able to achieve…
Is a Retainer Necessary After an Invisalign Treatment?
Invisalign offers a discreet option for people who want to straighten their teeth without drawing attention. The success of the treatment depends on the patient’s commitment, which extends beyond the day when they wear the last set of aligners. When the teeth are in proper alignment, it is important that patients wear the retainers or else the efforts of the past few months would have been futile.
The need to wear retainers
Invisalign® treatment does not end after wearing all the aligner trays as directed and getting the teeth to the desired position. The next phase of the procedure involves ensuring that the teeth remain in that correct position, but that requires wearing a retainer provided by the dentist. The retainer helps to stabilize the teeth in their new positions.
Wearing retainers is important because no one wants to see their teeth shift out of alignment after months of wearing the aligner trays. The teeth' movement during the straightening process causes new bone material to be deposited around them, but these materials need time to solidify in the new areas. Retainers hold the teeth in place so that the entire effort to realign the teeth will not be futile.
Guidelines for using the retainer
The dentist will produce a custom retainer for the patient. Before it is ready, patients may need to wear the last set of aligners for an extended period. There are different options to choose from, including permanent retainers for the upper and lower teeth, which the dentist will affix behind the teeth, so they stay out of sight and maintain the teeth’ alignment.
In some cases, the patient may be asked to wear a retainer continuously for about six to 12 months before limiting it to bedtime use only. At that stage, the dentist may suggest using the retainers only overnight for about six months, followed by several weeknights. The only purpose is to ensure the teeth stay properly aligned.
What if the retainers are not used?
It is common to see patients slack on wearing their retainers consistently after some months. This is not recommended even if it seems inconvenient. Patients are often eager to be rid of the aligner trays after months of wearing them, so the idea of wearing retainers again may not sound appealing. However, failure to wear the retainers will give the teeth a chance to shift slowly to their previous locations. This might not happen immediately after completing treatment, but it is bound to. The cost, resources, and time put into the teeth straightening treatment would have been for nothing.
Retainers are removable like the aligner trays, so there is no restriction on feeding. The dentist can also provide invisible retainers, which are a lot similar to the Invisalign trays. Like the aligners, the retainer needs to be maintained properly to ensure they stay invisible and aesthetically appealing.
It is necessary to wear retainers after an Invisalign treatment. The dentist will be happy to address any question or concern you might have about the procedure.
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