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Invisible Improvement: How Long Will I Need a Retainer After Invisalign?

March 4, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — deandentalcare @ 6:07 pm
Woman in white shirt with gray nails pointing to her smile.

Invisalign is a hugely popular alternative to traditional braces because it can give you a perfectly straight smile without the need for bulky metal brackets. Instead, this method involves wearing a series of clear, plastic aligner trays that fit over your teeth to gently reposition them. Patients love that it doesn’t impact their appearance as dramatically as the tried-and-true method. Plus, treatment can often be completed in 12 months rather than over several years.

In many cases, however, you may need a retainer once you’ve finished Invisalign to prevent your pearly whites from reverting to their initial placements. If you’re wondering how long you’ll need to wear it, keep reading to learn more!

How Long Do I Need to Wear a Retainer After Invisalign?

Although it can vary depending on your unique circumstances, typically you can expect to wear your retainer for 12 to 22 hours every day for three to six months after you’re done with your last Invisalign trays. This ensures that your pearly whites remain in their ideal alignment until your jawbone rebuilds strength after they’ve shifted. Then, your dentist will evaluate your teeth to determine whether additional time is needed.  

From there, most patients are allowed to stop wearing their retainer during the day and instead keep it in only at night or limit the number of evenings it’s needed to 3 to 5 times per week. Only your dentist can give you a more accurate estimate based on their findings during your oral exam.

What Happens If I Don’t Wear My Retainer?

Your teeth can slide back into misalignment if you don’t wear your retainer as long or as often as you’ve been instructed to. This is they are connected to your jawbone via elastic ligaments which allows their natural capacity for movement within your mouth. These tissues have muscle memory and are prone to pulling your pearly whites back to their previous positions. Wearing your retainer keeps everything still while giving your mouth time to adjust to the recent changes.

How Should I Care for My Retainer?

It’s important to keep your retainer in good condition so it can continue to serve its purpose. By caring for it properly, you can avoid a potential setback. Some tips for keeping it in tip-top shape include:

  • Store it in its case or a safe container while it’s not in use.
  • Regularly brush it with soap and water or soak it with special cleaning tablets.
  • Remove it before meals to prevent food particles from becoming trapped.
  • Avoid overly hot foods and beverages that can warp or melt the material.

Now that you know what to expect from your retainer after Invisalign treatment, you can keep your perfectly straight smile for the rest of your life!

About the Author

Dr. Stephen Dean offers a full range of services to enhance his patients’ quality of life by improving their dental health. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Georgia which he followed with a doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina. Now, he continues to participate in ongoing educational opportunities at the Dawson Academy and the Pankey Institute to expand his knowledge and skills. Using state-of-the-art technology allows him to identify problems and provide customized solutions to meet your unique needs. If you’d like a straighter smile and are interested in Invisalign, you’re welcome to request a consultation on the website or by calling (770) 786-3915.

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