How Long Should I Wear a Retainer After Invisalign?

The day you’ve been eagerly waiting for is finally here. You’ve worn your Invisalign aligners every day for 22 hours over the last nine months and completed your treatment. You smile in the mirror, and your teeth are beautifully straight, but now what?

After completing your Invisalign treatment, it’s natural to feel excited about showing off your straight, polished smile. But your orthodontic journey isn’t quite over yet. You’ll need to wear a retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist to maintain these results. Otherwise, your teeth will return to how they were before treatment, ruining all the perseverance and money you’ve invested into your new smile. 

Here’s what to expect post-treatment and how long you’ll need to wear your retainer after Invisalign.

 How Long Should I Wear A Retainer After Invisalign?

Do You Have to Wear a Retainer Forever After Invisalign Treatment?

Retainers are valuable instruments for maintaining the results of your orthodontic treatment. They help keep your teeth in their correct position, prevent overcrowding and protect the surfaces of your teeth from Bruxism (Teeth Grinding). For this reason, we recommend diligently wearing your retainer during the first 12 months as prescribed by our Orthodontist, Sama Ria. You’ll also need to wear your retainer to bed permanently to protect your smile for years to come. 

The process: 

During the first six months after treatment, you’ll need to wear your retainer for 22 hours daily, just like wearing your Invisalign aligners. While the aligners were designed to move your teeth into their new position, this retainer will hold them into place while your jawbone strengthens. 

After six months of wearing your retainer, Sama will assess the stability of your teeth to ensure they are securely set in place. This process may take longer for some patients, as it can take around 9 to 12 months for the jawbone to fully anchor your teeth. If your teeth are stable, you won’t need to wear your retainer as often and can reduce the number of hours you wear it each day. But there’s no set rule for everyone, so it’s essential to follow your orthodontist’s instructions. 

After 12 months, you’ll only need to wear your retainer at bedtime to maintain the alignment of your teeth. Nonetheless, you should still wear it daily to keep your teeth lovely and aligned (which we’re sure you want to!) 

Your retainer is bespoke to fit the new alignment of your teeth. If your retainer starts to feel too tight, this is a sign that you need to wear it more regularly. Consistently wearing your retainer is best practice to keep your mouth looking as lovely as it did after completing your treatment. 

Consult your orthodontist for guidance if you have any questions or concerns about your retainer.


Why Do You Need to Wear a Retainer After Invisalign?

We understand that it can be frustrating to wear a retainer after completing a treatment, such as Invisalign. However, actively wearing a retainer is essential if you wish to keep your teeth straight. 

Why? Well, during orthodontic treatment, your jawbone would have softened or sometimes disappeared so the teeth could move into their new positions. This softening allows us to move and manipulate your teeth via their elastic ligaments. But this means your jawbone will still be soft at the end of your treatment, allowing your teeth to shift back. By wearing a retainer, you stop the teeth from moving around by exerting measured pressure onto them until your jawbone hardens. 

Furthermore, your teeth also have a ‘memory’ of sorts and can remember where they used to be. Without a retainer, your teeth will shift back to their regular positions, which is not what you want. 

Daily activities such as chewing and speaking exert pressure on your teeth and can cause movement. Additionally, your teeth can drift with age, so it’s best to wear them every night to bed. 


How to Care For Your Retainer?

You should care for your retainer the same as you would your Invisalign aligners. Here are some tips for maintaining your retainer:

  • Keep your retainer in its dedicated container when not in use to prevent harmful bacteria from growing on its surface and to avoid damage.
  • Clean your retainer every morning and evening with unscented, clear soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also deep-clean them with the Invisalign-branded aligner crystals. 
  • Remove your retainer before eating or drinking to prevent staining and plaque formation and avoid damaging the retainer. 
  • Avoid drinking hot beverages while wearing your retainer, as the heat can cause the plastic to warp.

By following these tips, you can keep your retainer clean and in top condition to ensure that it effectively maintains the alignment of your teeth. 


Which Retainer Do We Offer?

We provide our Invisalign patients with Vivera® removable retainers designed by Align Technology, the same company that makes Invisalign. As such, your retainer will look very similar to your Invisalign aligners, except they are designed to prevent your teeth from moving. 

Align Technology is a leading provider of orthodontic products, and Vivera® retainers are widely known for their quality and durability. These retainers are made from a unique, patented material that is 30% stronger and twice as durable as other standard retainers. So they can last up to 10 years before needing replacing. The patented material is also more comfortable to wear, so you don’t have to worry about it cutting your gums. 


Final Thoughts:

We recommend lifelong nighttime wear of your Vivera® retainer after the first 12 months of treatment to prevent tooth movement. During your first 12 months, it’s imperative to wear your retainer daily, just as you would your Invisalign aligners, while your jawbone strengthens and anchors your teeth in their new positions. Our Orthodontist, Sama, is always available to guide you on the best way to care for your smile and maintain the alignment of your teeth. Sama has completed several years of postgraduate training and is a Member in Orthodontics of the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. 


Interested in Invisalign Treatment Near You? Visit Cliftonville Dental in Northampton for a Beautifully Crafted Smile.

Are you considering a straighter smile in the new year? Contact us at Cliftonville Dental, Northampton, to begin your smile journey with Invisalign or fixed braces

Our private clinic is open six days a week, including evenings, so you can find a time that suits you. Contact our friendly reception team online or by calling 01604 604545 to inquire about orthodontic treatment. 

We can’t wait to hear from you!

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