You’ve been diligently wearing your Invisalign aligners for over a year, gradually straightening your smile. As you near the end of clear aligner treatment, you’re probably wondering – do I need to wear a retainer after Invisalign too?
At Lansdowne Family Dental, we recommend long-term retainers for most patients upon completing orthodontics. Read below to learn why retainers matter after Invisalign, your options, costs, timelines, and other key details.
Why Are Retainers Needed After Invisalign?
After wearing aligners for 12-18 months, you’ve invested substantial time in shifting your teeth into better alignment. So why not celebrate by ditching plastic from your mouth for good once done?
The main reason is that without permanent retainers, straightened teeth have a strong tendency to relapse or drift back toward old positions.
Teeth naturally guide themselves into placements over years through forces from the gums, tongue, cheeks, and lips pressing on them daily. Orthodontics intervenes to reposition alignment – but doesn’t permanently alter the body’s guiding pressures.
So while Invisalign successfully shifts teeth into corrected spots, retainers preserve that corrected state long-term against constant natural relapse forces.
What Are the Post-Invisalign Retainer Options?
We offer patients two main types of retainers to support their smile after completing treatment:
- Essix-style retainers: Clear custom-fitted plastic appliances similar to Invisalign material that sit snugly over teeth. You remove them for eating, brushing, and occasional cleaning. Essix retainers have no wires and can be worn part-time after the initial 6-month full-time period.
- Bonded wire retainers: Thin metal wires custom-shaped to your teeth and permanently glued (bonded) to the tongue-side surfaces. Bonded retainers stay in 24/7 including eating, brushing, etc. An excellent choice for long-term stabilization against relapse, especially of lower front teeth.
Some patients use one retainer type on top teeth and the other on bottom teeth depending on their relapse risk factors and personal preferences. Costs range from $150-$350 per arch.
When Will I Get My Retainers After Invisalign Treatment?
Custom retainers are crafted for patients starting a few months before projected Invisalign aligner treatment completion.
That way, by the time you complete your last tray stages confirming teeth have settled into final alignment, your new retainers arrive ready for seamless transition maintaining those desired positions.
How Long Must I Wear Retainers Post-Invisalign?
Consistently wearing retainers long enough is vital for preventing teeth from shifting back after all that Invisalign progress.
- Essix retainers – Full-time for the first 6 months, then nightly during sleep ongoing
- Bonded retainers – Permanent, for life unless issues arise; additional retainers may still be advised at night
Some teens or younger adults may eventually wean from ongoing retainer wear after several years once growth stabilizes. However, most adults should plan to wear custom retainers regularly long-term post-Invisalign, often for life.
Failing to do so risks losing substantial correction progress if teeth drift or tip over time. Committing to retention protects your investment into an improved smile.
Our Lansdowne Family Dental team closely advises each patient on ideal long-term retention strategies personalized for your situation based on factors like age, gum health, tooth positions maintained, and relapse risk.
Don’t Forget Post-Treatment Retention!
After 12+ months of moving your teeth with Invisalign, it feels great to remove aligners for good. Yet long-term retention is critical for sustaining straight smile gains. Whether wearing clear Essix-style or permanent bonded wire retainers, customized retention prevents relapse after treatment.
Book a Lansdowne Family Dental consultation to discuss the right post-Invisalign retention approach for your needs. Consistent retainer use ensures you protect and enjoy your hard-earned straighter smile for years (or decades!) to come.