When you get your newly aligned teeth, you’ll be able to smile with confidence and eat whatever you want. But this isn’t the end of the story. You’ll want to know how to preserve your results to ensure your teeth stay straight.
That’s right; they can become crowded or crooked again if the proper steps aren’t taken. Here are seven things to expect (and know) after your treatment is complete.
1. Pain-free removal
Unlike traditional braces, you won’t need to have fixed brackets removed from your teeth once Invisalign treatment is complete. The small attachments will be gently buffed away as a pain-free process. Similarly, you won’t have to change your aligners to continue tooth movement, so any minor irritation or pressure points will be a thing of the past.
2. Maintaining Your Invisalign “Before and After” Results with new retainers
Our teeth naturally tend to go back to where they came from after any type of orthodontic treatment. Therefore, we’ll fit you with special retainers to wear to preserve your current tooth placement. Does it hurt to get Invisalign retainers made? Not at all. A series of digital scans or impressions are all that’s needed.
When you wear your post-treatment retainers as directed, your results can last for decades, if not the rest of your life (that’s something to smile about!) You won’t need to wear them day & night as you did during your Invisalign treatment, but you will want to wear them regularly.
3. How Orthodontic Retainers Work
Orthodontic retainers protect your smile by preserving tooth spacing, placement, and alignment. Retainers are so crucial because of what we call “orthodontic relapse.” Relapse is where the tiny tooth ligaments around your teeth pull them back to their original location, even after removing your braces or Invisalign. Retainers preserve the current spacing, preventing this from happening and correcting microscopic movements that occur the same day.
We usually recommend transparent retainers, such as Vivera retainers, for our Los Angeles Invisalign patients at LA Dental Clinic. Vivera retainers look almost identical to an Invisalign tray but are more durable and rigid. The firmer texture is more equipped for long-term wear and can help “correct” any microscopic tooth shifting that may have occurred during the day.
There’s also the option of bonded retainers. Bonded retainers are made from thin wires and permanently attached to your teeth’ back. These retainers are usually placed where teeth are more susceptible to relapse, such as the upper or lower front teeth. They can be worn in addition to your removable Vivera retainer.
4. How Long to Wear a Retainer
The longer you wear the retainer, the better. However, you won’t need to wear it like your Invisalign trays all day. Do you sleep with Invisalign retainers? Yes. Most people only wear their removable retainers at night.
Bonded retainers are semi-permanent. We recommend that you keep them in place for as long as possible. Even if your Invisalign treatment was completed more than ten years ago, removing a bonded retainer can lead to relapse.
5. How to Clean an Orthodontic Retainer
Keeping your Invisalign retainer clean is almost identical to how you’d care for your aligners during treatment. Remove them regularly to rinse and brush them, using lukewarm or cool water. Effervescent denture cleanser, antimicrobial soap, or a non-abrasive toothpaste all work fine. Make sure you store your retainer in a cool, dry place out of the reach of any pets or small children.
For bonded retainers, you’ll want to use a water or floss threader to clean around those spaces. Floss threaders allow you to weave the floss under the wire so you can floss correctly around those teeth to prevent buildup or gingivitis. Some bonded retainers have attachments on each tooth, while others are only bonded on the ends, allowing you to slide the floss underneath them as you move from tooth to tooth.
6. Replacing your retainers
If you misplace, break, or accidentally left your retainer in a hot car and it warped, you’ll need to have it replaced. Sometimes, a 3D model of your teeth will be available so we can reproduce the exact retainer you lost. If that isn’t possible, you’ll want to come in for an impression or scan your teeth as quickly as possible. That way, a new retainer can be made before any relapse occurs.
7. Orthodontic relapse
Although teeth have their way of drifting back to where they were before, other conditions can affect your tooth alignment. Such as:
- Not wearing your retainer
- Wisdom teeth growing in
- The way you swallow (tongue thrusting)
- Mouth breathing
- Chewing your nails
- Using your teeth to open things
After your Invisalign treatment, our Los Angeles dentists at LA Dental Clinic will usually have you return for 2-3 follow-up evaluations to ensure everything looks just right. Typically, we’ll have you come back about 1-3 months after fitting you with the retainer and then again 6 or 12 months after completing your treatment. If any adjustments are needed, or there are problems with your retainer, we can address those at that time.
Otherwise, plan on maintaining regular checkups every six months. Feel free to bring your retainers with you to your appointment for us to assess their fit.
Best Invisalign treatment in Los Angeles
LA Dental Clinic is committed to keeping your smile healthy and attractive and preserving the straighter teeth you’ve worked so long to achieve. Our comfortable custom Invisalign retainers will keep you looking your best for decades to come.
Call LA Dental Clinic to reserve a no-obligation exam and consultation to learn more about Invisalign in Los Angeles. You can reach us at (213) 342-6276, or schedule a virtual consultation through our online booking system.