LAST UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
When your orthodontist decides your Invisalign treatment is completed, you aren’t done. He or she will make a new 3D impression of your teeth. From here, the doctor will have retainers made for your upper and lower teeth.
Now that Treatment is Completed…
If you’re thinking that retention isn’t necessary, it is. If you are a teen, your bones are still “soft.” This includes the bones in your upper and lower jaws. Without retainers, the teeth in your upper and lower jaws will begin migrating back to their old positions. You’ll see this happening within weeks of finishing the alignment of your teeth. As you get older, the bone in your jaws will become thicker and harder, which means your teeth will have less of a tendency to move around. Also, now that your teeth are straight, they can’t lean on anything like they used to when they were crooked. They will have the tendency to begin slipping back into their old positions. Your Invisalign orthodontist in Nashville can explain this to you.
You have a ligament in your mouth, called a periodontal ligament. It stretched while you were undergoing your Invisalign treatment. Now that your treatment is completed, this ligament will begin to revert back to its original position. Now that you see why a retainer is so important, begin getting used to the idea. Orthodontic treatment in Nashville can help you achieve the attractive smile you want.
What is the difference between the aligner tray and a retainer?
You may have heard that you can continue wearing your last Invisalign tray as a retainer. For two reasons, this is a bad idea:
- The trays get dirty over time, even when you clean it as ordered. Eventually, you’re dealing with more and more of an “ick factor” when you put the tray in your mouth.
- The aligner tray isn’t meant for long-term wear. Instead, your orthodontist should make a stronger traditional wire retainer or the newer tray-type retainers for you to use. Your Nashville orthodontist will make sure you are fitted with the right type of retainer for your post-orthodontic treatment.
Once you don’t have to wear a retainer 24 hours a day, you’ll only have to wear it at night, when you’re sleeping. If you are nearing the end of your treatment, ask your Nashville Invisalign provider.
Why choose traditional wire retainers versus tray-style retainers?
Your orthodontist has the choice of ordering a traditional wire retainer or fitting you with newer tray-type retainers. He or she may also cement a short retainer wire to your lower teeth.
These traditional wire retainers do their jobs well. Once you finish orthodontic treatment, if you wear your retainer faithfully, you have a much better chance of keeping your new, healthy and attractive smile. As with a tray-type retainer, once your orthodontist tells you that you only need to wear the retainer at night, you can leave it in its special case in your bathroom or bedroom and slip it in after brushing your teeth and before you turn out the bedroom light. How strong is a traditional wire retainer? Very strong – in fact, it’s strong enough to help you keep your teeth in their new position, especially if you wear it as your orthodontist orders you to. Just treat it carefully because its strength has limits.
Your orthodontic case is different from every other case your orthodontist handles. It may be milder or more severe. However, whether you are a teen or adult, you’ll need to use retention to prevent your teeth from shifting back into an unhealthy alignment. If you have any concerns about your teeth slipping back, your provider of orthodontic treatment in Nashville can help you get a better understanding of this issue.
Today’s tray-style retainers are meant to be strong. Once you complete treatment, you’ll have to wear a retainer for a few months, mainly during your sleeping hours. Your lifestyle will influence what type of retainer you’ll have to wear and for how long. If you lead an active lifestyle, your orthodontist will be more likely to choose the traditional wire retainers for you. If you aren’t involved in sports, he or she may choose to order a tray-style retainer for your top teeth.
How to take Care of your Retainers and New Teeth?
Can you chew gum or eat chewy candy with your retainers? It isn’t a good idea. Regardless of your retainer style, the gum or candy can get stuck in the wire and plastic. If you are chewing on a hard candy, and you have your retainer in your mouth, you can break the wire from the plastic piece.
Your dental hygiene is just as important with retainers as it was when you wore your aligners. Brush and floss your teeth at least once daily.
If you have a tray-type retainer, avoid drinking hot beverages while you have it in your mouth. You could damage it so it doesn’t fit correctly over your teeth. Why is it so important to avoid drinking hot beverages when you are wearing a tray-type retainer? The heat of the coffee, tea or hot chocolate can literally melt your retainer, making it impossible for you to continue wearing it. Instead, you’re going to have to go back to your orthodontist’s office, admit to him or her what happened and go through the expense of ordering and paying for a replacement tray retainer. If you must drink coffee or another hot beverage, allow it to cool down before drinking it. Better yet, remove your retainer while you’re enjoying your hot beverage. Once you’ve finished, rinse your retainer and place it over your teeth once again.
The material of the tray retainer is clear, just as your Invisalign trays were. Avoid smoking because the smoke can discolor the plastic. Eating while wearing your retainer – this is a no-no. Remove your retainer, no matter what style it is. Place it back in its case and eat your meal or snack. Brush your teeth and put the retainer back in your mouth.
Learn More about Orthodontic Treatments
Gluck Orthodontics is located in Nashville, Tenn., and Dr. Joel Gluck offers professional examinations to determine if you need:
• Clear plastic aligners from Invisalign – for adults and teenagers
• Retainers – worn before or after orthodontic treatment
• Headgear – to repair serious malocclusions
• Braces – worn on the backs or fronts of teeth
Call Gluck Orthodontics today at 615-269-5903 to schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and innovative orthodontist.
2002 Richard Jones Road
Suite A-200 Nashville
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