LAST UPDATED: October 2018
So you’ve just completed your Invisalign treatment and are wondering what happens next. That’s a great question! It is very important to understand that even though your teeth have been successfully moved to their new position, with a nice alignment and bite, the natural tendency is for the teeth to want to shift back. What do you do about this? Another great question! The good news is that if your treatment has been completed by an orthodontic specialist, he or she will recommend specific retainers for you to wear, which will hold your teeth in place. At Gluck Orthodontics in Nashville, Dr. Gluck and Dr. Jono work with each patient to design retainers that will help preserve the teeth in their new position. Here are a few questions you may have about retainers…
How much do I need to wear my retainer?
This is the most common question we receive about retainers and it’s very important! Here’s our opinion: For the first 6 months after treatment is completed, this is the time when the teeth are most likely to shift back to their original position. So, we suggest wearing retainers every night for approximately 12 hours. After those 6 months, it’s ok to change to just wearing the retainer while sleeping. But, we absolutely recommend wearing it every night!
What’s the difference between a clear “aligner” style retainer, and the traditional wire and plastic “Hawley” retainer?
It may be confusing to know what style retainer will best hold your teeth. The good news is both of these style retainers should provide excellent stability to hold your teeth in their new position, provided you wear them the appropriate number of hours each night. Some adult patients who already had braces when they were kids prefer Hawley retainers because they are familiar. The wire and plastic covering the gums can be a bit bulky. But overall, what’s important is that you and your orthodontist have a conversation about what style retainers are recommended for your specific teeth and bite. At Gluck Orthodontics, our usual retainer prescription is for a clear retainer over the top teeth. That said, we can offer both options to our patients, and will have a discussion about which style retainer we recommend.
Can I wear my last aligner as a retainer?
You may have heard that you can continue wearing your last Invisalign tray as a retainer. We don’t recommend this for two reasons:
- The aligners will tend to get dirty and degrade over time, even when you clean it as ordered. The aligner material is also flexible and not meant to be worn over the long term.
- The aligner tray is not rigid enough to provide sufficient long-term retention of the teeth. That means that your teeth will be more likely to shift if you aren’t wearing a regular retainer. Your Nashville orthodontist will prescribe the proper retainer for your teeth and bite, which will improve the chances that you protect your new smile!
How to take Care of your Retainers?
Proper care of your new retainer will ensure that it lasts as long as possible. Here are a few tips for how to take good care of it:
- Take it out to eat. Try not to drink liquids other than water while you are wearing it.
- For cleaning, use warm (but not hot) water, liquid hand soap or dish soap and an extra toothbrush. Vigorously scrub the soap into and around the retainer to remove any buildup. Rinse with warm water.
- When you aren’t wearing your retainer, always keep it in a special case with your name on it. This will make sure it doesn’t get thrown away!
- Keep your retainer out of reach of pets! They love to chew them up.
Learn More about Orthodontic Treatment
Gluck Orthodontics is located in Nashville, Tennessee. Drs. Joel and Jono Gluck, both Board-Certified Orthodontic Specialists, offer complimentary consultations to discuss your smile concerns and help you choose the best option for you.
- Clear plastic aligners from Invisalign – for teenagers and adults
- Traditional Metal or Ceramic braces – for teenagers and adults
- Retainers – for people who want to hold their teeth in place
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Suite A-200 Nashville
What Happens After Invisalign Treatment?