How to Use a Retainer to Preserve Your Invisalign Smile

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which is better invisalign or braces

Picture this. You’ve worn your last Invisaligner for two weeks. According to the treatment plan developed by your orthodontist in Orlando, you’re done. Even before you go see your orthodontist, you know you’re finished. You can tell just by looking in the mirror. But you go see your orthodontist anyway and, yes, she confirms what you knew in your gut. Your teeth are right where they’re supposed to be. Straight like you’d always imagined. But then she hits you with it — the retainer.

Retainer? To preserve and protect all your hard-won gains with Invisalign in Orlando, your orthodontist is going to recommend that you wear a retainer even after your treatment plan is complete. At All About Smiles Ortho, we’re committed to keeping our promises, and we promise our Invisalign clients that they’ll achieve their goals. We help them do that by making sure they know just how important wearing their retainer is and how to care for their retainer to avoid having wasted all their time, effort, and money.

Why do I need to wear a retainer after finishing Invisalign?

Even after completing your Invisalign treatment plan, your teeth will — without ongoing support — have a natural tendency to shift out of their new positions. The result? Crooked or misaligned teeth that you might recognize from before you began your journey with Invisalign in Orlando. It won’t happen instantly, but you’ll gradually notice changes to the smile you worked hard to perfect. Here’s how to avoid losing your hard-won smile:

  • For the first six months after completing your Invisalign treatment plan, wear your retainer just like you wore your aligners. Try to wear them for 22 hours daily, removing them just to eat and brush your teeth. It’ll be familiar, except that you won’t get a new retainer every couple weeks
  • After six months, keep wearing your retainer, but only while you sleep. The best advice about how long to wear your retainers while you sleep is to do so for the rest of your life. That’s the best method of sustaining your newly straight and perfectly spaced smile

How to care for your retainer

By the time you’ve completed your Invisalign treatment plan, you’ll have gotten really good at keeping your aligners clean. You need to sustain those good habits with your retainer, too. Unless you keep your retainer clean, bacteria and food particles will accumulate on the retainer. That accumulation of bacteria will cause discoloration, bad smells, and even contribute to tooth decay and gum disease that can place the health of your teeth and gums at risk.

Keeping your retainer clean to eliminate all those risks is simple. Just follow these four tips:

  • Clean your retainer daily, and immediately if it’s been exposed to sugary or acidic liquids
  • Clean your retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Use a toothpaste that does not contain any abrasive materials. Abrasive materials will impose tiny scratches on your retainer that will undermine the appearance of the retainer and give bacteria an easier surface to cling to
  • Beyond cleaning your retainer daily, disinfect it occasionally by soaking it in pure white distilled vinegar and rinsing it thoroughly before wearing it again.

Dentists provide many people with Invisalign aligners near you because they’re an efficient and effective way of achieving straighter teeth without having to sacrifice your lifestyle. The results you achieve with Invisalign in Orlando can last for a lifetime or disappear in a manner of months. To a large extent, it’s up to you. To keep the straight teeth you’ve always wanted for as long as possible, follow these recommendations carefully. If you have any questions about Invisalign — before, during, or after your treatment plan — contact an orthodontist near you.