You’ve been imagining the moment for so long: You take out your last set of Invisalign® trays, look in the mirror, and celebrate your brand-new, dazzling smile.
It’s a great moment to look forward to, but once your treatment is finished, you may wonder what you need to do to make sure your teeth stay in the straight, even position that you worked so hard to achieve.
In most cases, the answer is that you have to wear a retainer. Here’s how the process works at Smile Design Manhattan, in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City.
Wearing a retainer
In a perfect world, you’d just remove your last set of aligners and not have to worry about the position of your teeth ever again.
In reality, however, if you don’t take any steps to prevent your teeth from moving after you’re finished with Invisalign, your teeth gradually drift back to their original position. That means you’ve wasted all the time, energy, and money you invested into producing a beautiful smile.
The best way to keep your teeth straight is to wear the retainer your orthodontist provides you at the end of your Invisalign treatment. The retainer holds your teeth in position while your gums, bones, and ligaments solidify into place around them.
Every patient is different, and you should follow your orthodontist’s recommendations, but most people wear their retainer all day for a short period of time, and then transition to wearing it only while they sleep at night.
In some cases, you eventually get to the point of wearing it just a few nights a week.
Types of retainers
You might think you can just wear your last set of Invisalign aligners as your retainer, but they’re not designed for long-term use and won’t be able to hold your teeth in position for long.
At Smile Design Manhattan, our team usually recommends a couple types of retainers, depending on your individual case.
The first is a fixed retainer, which is a thin, metal wire glued to the back of your teeth. This permanent solution takes away the risk of you losing your retainer.
The second type is a removable retainer, which can either be a wire retainer or a clear plastic retainer similar to an Invisalign tray. This one is a popular choice because it’s comfortable and patients are used to it. But you need to keep track of it!
No matter what type of retainer you use, make sure to clean it well. Continue to brush and floss daily and visit your dentist for regular checkups.
If you have more questions about orthodontic treatment, or if you’re ready to be evaluated for Invisalign, call the Smile Design Manhattan office or book your appointment online. Let’s start the process of building your beautiful smile right away!