Any orthodontist, including myself, will tell you that orthodontic correction and maintenance is a lifelong process. After braces come off, your journey towards the perfect smile is hardly over. In fact, it’s really only just begun.
While Invisalign performs the actual corrections, it is the retainer that is essential to keeping your teeth in their proper place, thereby preventing regression. Without the proper appliance, your teeth will naturally begin to shift back to their original position, leading you to live with your previous misalignments or spend additional money and time receiving more treatment. Therefore, the most reliable option is to continue to use retainers for the rest of your lifetime.
Fortunately, for orthodontic patients, modern retainers are very easy to use and exceedingly comfortable, particularly when compared to their older counterparts. As is the case with anything worth having, dedication and faithfulness is the key to keeping your teeth and smile looking the way you want them. Making sure that you follow your orthodontist’s recommendations for proper retainer wear will greatly increase your odds of maintaining a positive result.
There are several types of retainers, from the more traditional bonded retainers to the more popular clear versions of the appliance. Bonded retainers, which are actually attached to the teeth using wire, require very similar care to your teeth themselves. Properly brushing and flossing your retainer will help to keep your teeth healthy and your retainer free of plaque and bacteria buildup. Removable retainers, on the other hand, can be taken out for easy cleaning and during other activities such as taking photos and eating. Additionally, new clear acrylic materials have facilitated the creation of retainers that are both removable and virtually invisible to others, which is why we highly recommend either Invisalign Vivera or our custom-made in-house Essix retainers.
Caring for your retainers is simple if you know what to do. Keeping them clean and safe is the first order of business. Cleaning daily with your regular toothbrush (in a circular motion) and toothpaste and making sure to place them in a safe place, such as a retainer case, when they are not being worn, will ensure that they do not break or become lost. In the event that your retainer does become damaged or lost, make sure to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible. Wearing your retainers for the prescribed time is certainly essential, so you will want to make sure that you receive a replacement appliance as soon as possible to prevent regression.