Wearing Retainers After Invisalign: Why It’s Important for Long-Term Results

retainer worn after Invisalign treatment by Huntington Bay Dental, a dentist in Huntington, NY

According to statistics, more than 15 million individuals have used Invisalign clear retainers to get a smile they can wear proudly. Invisalign is an orthodontic dental solution that has become popular in recent years and has become the preferred choice to traditional braces for teeth straightening. 

This is because Invisaligners are customized according to a patient’s mouth and changed every two weeks for a predetermined amount of time to accommodate teeth straightening changes. They might be more expensive than traditional braces, but have lasting lifetime results. 

Yet these lifetime results cannot be achieved if retainers aren’t worn after Invisalign treatment. In this article, the team at Huntington Day Dental will explain the importance of wearing retainers for long-term results because we have experience helping our patients maintain their new smiles. Let’s look at everything you need to know that will help you learn why retainers are necessary after Invisalign. 

Wearing Retainers After Invisalign? Here’s How Long You Need To Wear Them And Why 

Ultimately, you must wear retainers forever—but don’t be disheartened. Usually, this ‘forever’ entails three to five times a week at night or during the day, if you prefer. Wearing your retainers three to five times a week protects your investment alongside your smile. 

If left alone, your teeth will move naturally forward and inward as you age. Wearing a retainer will stop this from occurring after Invisalign straightening. Stopping this ensures your face never has a sunken and uneven look because of your teeth placement. 

Although you won’t see the benefits initially, over time, you’ll be thankful when your smile remains as perfect as ever. 

Why Is It Important To Wear Invisalign Retainers? The Long-Term Benefits

Now you know that retainers hold your teeth in their new position achieved through Invisalign. These retainers hold the gums and bone tissue in place while they adjust to the changes made during Invisalign treatment. Yet, this isn’t all retainers do. 

If you’re still not convinced as to why you should wear retainers after Invisalign, you might want to have a look at a few more long-term benefits that we’ve detailed below:

  • Improves oral health: When you wear your retainers as prescribed, you’ll improve your overall oral health in the long run. This is because wearing retainers full-time makes cleaning your gum and teeth easier because straighter teeth are naturally easier to clean. Since you can clean your teeth better, you prevent illnesses like gum disease and reduce the risk of tooth decay. 
  • Prevents the need for more orthodontic treatments: If you wear your retainer how you’re supposed to, you won’t need to undergo further treatments like braces to straighten or return teeth to their Invisalign adjusted positions. You’ll also prevent bite problems down the line and the treatments needed to fix them by wearing your retainers throughout your life.
  • Enhances self-esteem and confidence: If you maintain your straight, perfect smile with retainers, you’ll feel higher self-esteem and better self-confidence in the long run. With a maintained smile through Invisalign and retainers, you’ll have straight teeth forever and feel no shame over your smile. 

What Are The Consequences Of Not Wearing An Invisalign Retainer In The Long Term?

Unfortunately, there are consequences involved with not wearing retainers as prescribed by your dentist. 

Besides teeth shifting to their original position, some of the other consequences of not wearing an Invisalign retainer include the development of bite problems like overbites and under bites that lead to problems chewing. 

You might also face the consequence of developing speech problems such as lisping and wasted money in the long run if your teeth return to their original positions or get worse. 

Should You Wear A Removable Or Fixed Retainer After Invisalign? 

Now that you know why wearing retainers after Invisalign treatment is important and the consequences of not wearing retainers, you’re likely curious about your options. 

Fortunately, there is a retainer solution to fit every individual’s needs, which comes in the form of fixed or removable retainers. Which retainer you select will depend on your dentist’s recommendations and what you feel comfortable wearing. 

Patients are sometimes required to use both, but this isn’t as common. For example, depending on your dental situation, you might have to wear a fixed retainer on your bottom teeth—meaning it can not be removed—and a removable retainer for the top teeth in your mouth. You should also note that fixed retainers are bonded to your teeth, but this cannot be seen.

Regardless of whether you must wear fixed or removable retainers, you must ensure you clean them according to your dentist’s instructions. Still, fixed retainers will require extra attention to prevent periodontal problems. 

How To Clean Your Retainers—Long-Term Care

Now that you know you must care for your retainers and keep them clean, you need to learn how to do so. To help ensure you care for your retainers properly, we’ve listed a few times you should follow: 

  • Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mild soap or dishwashing liquid to brush your retainer routinely. Don’t use toothpaste, as it can be too abrasive and lead to damage in the long run. 
  • After a long day, leaving your retainers wherever you take them out can be tempting until you need them again. You should avoid this and store them in a protective container, as leaving them exposed can damage sunlight, including discoloration, warping, and shrinking. 
  • If you eat or drink with your retainers in, you risk bacteria and debris buildup, so always taking them out when consuming food and drinks is important.
  • Although it might be tempting, don’t rinse your retainer with anything other than water, but ensure the water is cold or lukewarm; if the water is hot, you risk shrinking or damaging it. It might not seem like it, but lukewarm water eliminates food particles. 
  • Even if you clean your retainers daily, they will need a deep clean once a week. That’s why it’s important to soak them in a dental-friendly cleaning solution once weekly to kill stubborn bacteria and remove stains and plaque buildup. If you’re unsure what cleaning solution to use, consider denture cleaners, white vinegar solutions, or retainer cleaning tablets. 

Request A Retainer Appointment With Us Today At Huntington Bay Dental

If you are considering Invisalign treatment in Huntington, or have already completed it, you’ll need new retainers. At Huntington Bay Dental, we can help you decide whether you need fixed retainers, removable retainers, or a combination of both. So speak with us today, and let us help you achieve the perfect smile.