Going through an Invisalign Treatment takes a lot of time, effort, and work in order to achieve your perfect smile. It’s a lifelong investment and should be cared for and protected as such. You wore your Invisalign aligner trays, brushed and flossed diligently, and now your treatment is done! So what happens now?
In order to keep your teeth healthy and beautiful, there are several things to keep in mind once you’re done with your Invisalign treatment.
RETAINERS: WHAT ARE THEY?
Although everyone’s needs are different, many patients require a retainer after Invisalign treatment. We recommend using your retainer as directed by your dentist. Not wearing retainers could result in shifting teeth and potentially ruining your Invisalign results.
Your Invisalign retainers will look very similar to your aligners and will be made from the same BPA-free plastic. They will fit comfortably over your teeth and you should find them very easy to use. These retainers are removable, just like your aligners and will be made using the same advanced digital technology.
If you would prefer a different option that will be permanently fixed in place, then you might want to discuss the option of a fixed retainer with your dentist. This normally consists of a very thin wire that is permanently bonded to the inside surfaces of your front teeth and it might be worth investigating if you feel you may forget to wear your removable retainers. One thing to bear in mind about having a fixed retainer is that you will need to spend a little more time thoroughly cleaning around the wire to remove any trapped food and plaque.
Regardless of your retainer type, it’s also recommended that you avoid hard, crunchy foods for the first few weeks as your teeth adjust. For younger patients, retainers are normally worn until the wisdom teeth come in or are extracted.
WEAR YOUR RETAINERS: WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
During orthodontic treatment, your teeth will have been moved into brand-new positions, which affect all the bones and tissues surrounding them. Once your teeth are straight, it takes time for the bone and tissues to settle down and stabilize. It can take a year or even longer for these tissues to become fully stable and if your teeth were significantly repositioned, the time required might be even longer. This might be the case if you had large spaces in between your teeth before you began treatment.
Immediately after treatment is completed and for up to a year afterward, it’s likely your dentist will recommend you wear your retainers all the time. After your Invisalign treatment is completed there is a very high chance of an orthodontic relapse if you fail to wear your retainers as directed. When someone has an orthodontic relapse, teeth begin to drift back to their original positions and when this happens it may be necessary to wear your braces all over again, wasting all your hard work and effort, and of course your money. Once your teeth have settled down and the bone and gum tissue surrounding them has properly stabilized, your dentist will reassess and may suggest that you only wear your retainers at night or at least for a certain number of hours each day to ensure your teeth will not move.
Because the tissues and bone surrounding your teeth are capable of remodeling and changing throughout your lifetime, Invisalign treatment is often highly successful for older adults and it’s also why broken bones can mend. As we age, teeth naturally shift position regardless of whether you have received orthodontic treatment in the past. To help avoid unwanted tooth movements, removable retainers can be worn overnight for a longer period of time or even for the rest of your life, while fixed retainers can be used for five years or more.
Since your retainer is such an important part of maintaining your smile, it should be cared for properly. Just like your Invisalign clear aligners, you will need to remove your retainers whenever you eat or brush and floss your teeth, or when you play contact sports. Whenever you remove your retainer, make sure you thoroughly clean it every night. We will provide full guidelines on how to do this and keep it clean and fresh at your appointment.
When it’s not being worn, make sure you store your retainer correctly and keep it away from pets and small children. If you have opted for a fixed retainer, then we will show you how to clean around the wire using dental floss and a floss threader. With a fixed retainer, it’s also better not to bite into hard objects with your front teeth as this could break or dislodge the wire.
Retainers do more than holding your teeth in place. They protect your teeth from damage due to common issues like nighttime teeth grinding. For this reason, they do wear and should be replaced by your dentist every nine months to a year.
BRUSHING AND FLOSSING
Brushing and flossing are essential to keeping your teeth healthy. After an Invisalign treatment, your gums will be more sensitive for a week or two. At this point in the treatment process, your teeth have been protected by Invisalign aligner trays for quite some time and may be sensitive to certain foods, food temperatures, and brushing and flossing.
When brushing and flossing during this period be sure to take extra care and avoid damage to your teeth and gums. Gentle flossing should still be done every day to remove plaque, which can develop into tartar. The build-up can lead to gingivitis and gum disease.
Because your teeth and gums may be more sensitive during this time, a warm salt water rinse may relieve some discomfort, as well as sensitive toothpaste.
Regular dental checkups are important for everyone, but especially for Invisalign patients. During these checkups, your dentist will inspect your smile to see that your teeth are staying put. If needed your dentist or orthodontist can make adjustments to your retainers. You will also receive replacement retainers at these appointments if your retainers begin to wear.
Shemen Dental encourages our patients to stay on top of their post Invisalign regimen in order to maintain their healthy new smile. If you have any questions about how to care for your teeth after your Invisalign treatment, contact us today! We want you to keep your beautiful smile and to enjoy the results of your Invisalign treatment for years to come.