Do You Have to Wear a Retainer Forever After Invisalign®?
Invisalign® can straighten your teeth in as little as 12 to 18 months. Yet, it’s important to wear your retainer after treatment as directed by our cosmetic dentists. Your retainer is what prevents your teeth from moving back to their original positions. Neglecting to wear your retainer after Invisalign braces will eventually affect how your smile looks, as well as your overall oral health.
In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the most frequently asked questions we get from our patients after they complete Invisalign treatment. Here’s what you should know about your retainer.
Why Do My Teeth Move When I Take Off My Retainer?
Once you’re done with Invisalign treatment, we can understand the reluctance you may feel to wear yet another oral appliance. (We promise we’re not trying to torture you!) However, it’s important that you wear your retainer as directed by our Invisalign dentists. Otherwise, your teeth will gradually shift to their original positions.
While you may not see your teeth moving at first, the changes become more noticeable over time. For example, your retainer may feel tight and uncomfortable if you haven’t worn it for a few days. Your retainers will fit for as long as you consistently wear them.
It’s normal for your teeth to slightly shift after having your Invisalign braces removed or once you stop wearing Invisalign. This is the result of everyday wear and tear on your teeth as you bite down, chew, swallow, and speak. The retainer is designed to prevent noticeable changes so you can maintain a beautiful smile.
Do I Need a Retainer After Invisalign Treatment?
Yes, you’ll need to wear a retainer after Invisalign treatment. Even though Invisalign moves teeth differently from traditional metal braces, the result is still the same. You’ll need to wear retainers after any kind of teeth straightening.
What Can I Expect After Invisalign Braces?
Your teeth are partly held in place by the surrounding jawbone. During Invisalign treatment, your jawbone would have softened or disappeared (a process called resorption) so teeth could move into their final positions.
Once you stop wearing Invisalign, you need to wear orthodontic retainers so your teeth are held in place while new bone is deposited. It takes about 9 to 12 months for your body to build up enough bone to stabilize teeth.
What Can I Expect 12 Months After Invisalign?
Once 12 months have passed, you should have enough new bone deposited around your teeth to keep them stable. For this reason, you won’t have to wear your orthodontic retainers as frequently to maintain your beautifully straight smile. Our dentists may recommend only wearing your retainers 3 to 5 times a week.
While your teeth won’t move as dramatically once the jawbone regains bone tissue, they will slightly move forward and inward as you get older. This change isn’t something you notice overnight, but rather something that gradually happens over decades.
What If I Lose My Retainer?
If you lose your retainer, just call our office to schedule an appointment. Whether you accidentally threw out your retainer on your lunch tray or the dog ate it, we can get you fitted for a new retainer as soon as possible so you don’t lose the progress you made with orthodontic treatment. During your appointment, we’ll take impressions of your teeth to create a new retainer.
Request an Appointment With Us
For more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office to request an appointment with one of our Invisalign dentists in Grand Rapids, MI. Our dentists and their team would be more than happy to help! To get started, call Renew Family Dental at (616) 245-3205.
This blog post has been updated.