Congratulations! It’s time to celebrate! You’ve finished your braces or Invisalign treatment, and you now get the smile you’ve always dreamed of! What happens next? Retainers!
Retainers are a crucial element during your orthodontic treatment. They keep teeth in the exact position they were placed during treatment. Teeth naturally tend to shift following treatment, especially to their initial place. This is known as the “relapse”. The retainer’s purpose is to stop any relapse from occurring so that the effort and time you invested in orthodontics isn’t wasted.
Most of us have a friend whose teeth have moved due to not wearing retainers. Patients who do not adhere to wearing retainers will require braces or Invisalign to correct the problem. Patients are likely to ask a few questions when it comes to retainers. Some of the most frequently asked questions are: What will my metal braces appear like? Will I wear that stainless steel bar behind my teeth, like my friend? Why don’t you install a permanent retainer? Do I need to always keep my retainer on?
A laboratory technician designs removable retainers. They are constructed from transparent plastic and shaped by heating using an image that represents your tooth. They provide a secure fit that holds all your teeth in the correct position. It is recommended to wear them throughout the day and night during the first two months. Following that, patients must wear retainers every night for the rest of their lives. Retainers last for a lifetime. Patients, with proper care, can enjoy more than ten years’ wear out of their retainers set before requiring a new set.
Most common Invisalign retainers:
There are five main kinds of retainers, but we’ll look at two in this article. Three of the five are clear retainers. The other is a traditional retainer used after braces made of metal. Let’s look at the two most popular kinds of Invisalign retainers: Essix retainer and Vivera retainer.
Essix retainers are closely like the aligners that you’ve worn throughout your treatment. They’re made from transparent, thin plastic and are extremely popular due to their long-lasting nature. Essix retainers are priced between $50-$200 per set, but they’ll last between 3 and 5 years with good treatment.
Certain conditions can cut down that time frame, such as grinding your teeth or not maintaining them in a clean state. This could lead to the need for an immediate replacement, so be sure to take care of them. If you grind your teeth, you should ask your dentist to recommend a different retainer that will meet the post-treatment requirements.
Vivera retainers are Invisalign’s own branded variant of the Essix retainer. Like when you have fitted with your Invisalign invisible braces, the dentist will take an electronic picture of your teeth and then have these clear retainers designed by using the same 3-D printing process that Invisalign employs.
One of the benefits offered by the Vivera retainer is that it comes with four upper and four lower retainers made from the same mold and delivered all at once This will ensure that you have spare retainers available, which is especially helpful when you grind your teeth in the evening or travel often and need to keep an additional pair of Invisalign retainers in your luggage. But this comes with a hefty price since some providers charge between $500-$600 to purchase these Vivera retainer sets.
Pros of wearing retainers:
- Invisible, transparent, and comfortable to wear.
- Cover the teeth to ensure that the teeth aren’t shifted.
- Easy to clean and remove retainers when flossing and brushing.
- When patients grind or clench their teeth, it can help protect dental restorations (fillings, crowns, etc.).
- Useful as a bleaching tray. Patients can buy bleaching gel from their general dentist and put it in their retainers to bleach teeth following treatment.
- Gives the patient the option of wearing retainers full time to return teeth to their final position if they had gone several days without wearing retainers and their teeth moved slightly.
Cons of wearing retainers:
- The patient is accountable and wears retainers by the dentist’s instructions.
- If a patient has lost their retainer, there is the cost of having new retainers created. If you have lost retainers, please immediately contact the dental office. You need to get an additional set of retainers created immediately to prevent any shifts from happening.
How long you’ll wear your Invisalign retainer after treatment?
After you have completed your Invisalign treatment, your teeth are in a new position but they’re not going to stay that way unless you wear your retainers following your dentist’s guidelines.
In general, patients should expect to wear their retainer after Invisalign for up to 22 hours each day for between four and six months. It will ensure that the jawbones develop enough strength to support your teeth. Then, you’ll begin wearing retainers only in the evening. For most patients, the reality is that wearing them only at night is a lifetime commitment. Alternatively, you may have opted for clear aligners to fix your teeth and chose not to wear retainers following the time you had braces in your childhood.
After the time and effort that you made in the process of straightening your teeth, you must make sure to wear your Invisalign retainer as directed to keep your look exactly as you want it to be throughout the rest of your life!
Care for your Invisalign Retainer:
As we’ve discussed, Invisalign retainers are an insurance plan to protect your gorgeous new smile. Achieving a comfortable retainer and properly maintaining them is an essential aspect of your smile journey and should be incorporated into your “total cost of ownership” for your aligner treatment.
If you take maintenance of your Invisalign retainer seriously, you’ll never need to pay more than is necessary. Knowing how to clean Invisalign retainers is an essential element of this process. If you decide to use retainers, such as the Essix retainer and the Vivera retainer, make sure to clean them immediately after removing them from your mouth to clear any bacteria and build-up before it gets the chance to solidify. Use warm detergent and water to provide better cleaning or use Retainer Brite tablets to soak them in a bath and clean them.
Invisalign retainers can be a permanent component of your dental journey. So, it would help if you asked your dentist or a provider which one is best for your situation. The recommendations will be tailored to your needs, but most patients discover that Vivera and Essix retainers meet their requirements. Keep in mind that your gums and teeth are muscles. After you’ve trained them using clear aligners, it is essential to maintain your results. Anything less is unwise and a waste of your time and money!