Do You Have to Wear Invisalign Retainers for Life?

Kathryn Swan recommends wearing retainers after completing Invisalign treatment in order to maintain beautiful straight teeth and prevent them from returning back to their original position.

Do You Have to Wear Invisalign Retainers for Life?

Kathryn Swan, a board-certified orthodontist, recommends that all people wear a retainer after completing the Invisalign treatment. As with traditional braces, wearing a retainer after Invisalign helps you maintain a beautiful, straight smile. If you don't use a retainer after treatment, your teeth will slowly change position. Although your teeth won't change dramatically overnight if you forget to use the retainer, they will slowly move over time.

For this reason, we recommend that Invisalign patients wear their retainers as often as Dr. Swan suggests. Right after your treatment, you should wear them between 12 and 22 hours a day for approximately six months. From there, you can start using them only at night, allowing you to spend the day without worrying about them.

Around 12 months, you can switch to wearing your retainers three to five nights a week. So, while you should use them consistently throughout your life, you won't need to use them “forever”. Although the patient will only need to wear it at night, the retainer should be worn for about a year. After the end of the year, the patient will only need to wear the retainer every other night.

However, dentists will recommend that they continue to do so for the rest of their lives, since the teeth will eventually return to their original position before treatment if the retainers are not used. Every patient is unique, which means that the aftercare plan that the dentist creates for you may not be the same as that of your co-worker or neighbor. The general rule is that the longer the corrective treatment lasts, the longer you'll need to wear a retainer to maintain the results. Orthodontists typically recommend full-time use of retainers for at least six months after the last Invisalign aligner.

Full time just means taking out the retainers to eat, drink, brush your teeth and use dental floss. Most doctors recommend that anyone who has completed orthodontic treatment, either with braces or with Invisalign, use a retainer to prevent teeth from gradually moving back to their starting position. Invisalign offers a subtle and convenient way to correct crooked teeth within 6 to 24 months, depending on the severity of the case. At first, having to wear a retainer after completing treatment with Invisalign may seem a bit annoying.

Once treatment is complete, your dentist will design an aftercare plan for you which involves using retainers to ensure that your results are not reversed. Completing treatment with Invisalign is exciting because you would have finally achieved your desired goal for your teeth and no longer have to use aligners for 22 hours a day. There are several options available to make Invisalign more affordable for you, from using insurance and tax-free money to a monthly payment plan. As you progress through your Invisalign tray series, your aligners will gently guide your teeth into a more aesthetically pleasing and fully functional position.

Your insurance may pay a certain percentage of your treatment with Invisalign or you may pay a certain amount in dollars. Other people may not even notice that you're wearing them, making Invisalign treatment perfect for your lifestyle. Invisalign became available in the late 1990s and transformed orthodontics forever. Once finished with aligners, patients should wear retainers 22 hours a day for three to six months after completing treatment.

Yes, Invisalign clear aligners can treat almost all common teeth straightening problems from simple to complex. During treatment with Invisalign, your jaw would have softened or disappeared so that your teeth could move into their final positions.

Bernadette Livas
Bernadette Livas

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