Braces aren’t like when you were a kid anymore. Orthodontists can prescribe metal alternatives, like Invisalign, for patients who are interested in achieving a straighter smile while maintaining their appearance. Invisalign aligners are practically invisible, more comfortable, and can lead to quicker results than traditional wire braces. But, it’s critical to understand the importance of consistently wearing retainers after finishing Invisalign treatment. Read on for answers to our patients’ most common questions:

Why Do Invisalign Patients Need to Wear Retainers?

The Invisalign system slowly adjusts your teeth’s position to create a straighter smile and a healthier you. But, teeth can move at any age, even if you’ve had braces before. Patients who don’t wear retainers after treatment might experience their teeth shifting back to their original position. Essentially, if your retainers feel tight or no longer fit, your teeth have moved. Regularly wearing retainers can prevent this, and helps protect your new smile.

What Do My Retainers Look Like?

Our post-treatment retainers look and feel very similar to Invisalign trays except they’re constructed from a plastic that’s about 30% stronger than the aligners. This ensures the plastic retainers are a perfect fit, keeping patients’ mouths comfortable, and teeth straight.

How Long Do I Have to Wear Retainers?

This answer varies among each patient, but it’s highly recommended that all patients wear their retainers each night for life. Your orthodontist will provide information about how long to wear your retainers, how often to wear them, and whether you need retainers on both your upper and lower teeth. Remember that good orthodontic care isn’t just good for your smile, it’s good for your health. By simply wearing your retainer each night, you can support your wellbeing and prevent costly procedures later on.  See more frequently asked questions about Invisalign. 

What If I Forget to Wear My Retainer?

It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions to maintain your ideal smile— a cornerstone of your ideal self. Many people forget to put in their retainers, but there are a few tricks to help you remember. For example, to make sure you put in your retainers every night, place their case by your toothbrush so it becomes part of your nightly routine. Some patients like to set daily reminders on their phones to put their retainers in before they head to work each morning so they always wear them throughout the entire day.

Don’t let your hard work go to waste. It’s crucial to wear your retainer to safeguard the effort you put into your Invisalign treatment. Consider keeping before-and-after pictures of your smile saved on your phone to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and to keep you on track. 

Can I Eat With My Retainers?

Remove your retainers before eating so they don’t trap food particles inside your mouth. Be sure to store your retainers in their case while eating, and not inside a napkin or paper towel. Not only are fibers from napkins difficult to remove from your retainers, but you may also accidentally toss them in the trash— a pricey mistake!

Avoid chewing gum or eating sticky foods while wearing retainers. These foods can get stuck and cause serious damage. 

How Do I Care For My Retainer?

Caring for your retainers is very similar to caring for your Invisalign trays. You can clean most retainers with toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, so get in the habit of brushing your retainers every time you brush your teeth. 

Plastic retainers should never be exposed to extreme heat, so regardless of what you read online, do not try to clean your retainer by putting it in the dishwasher. You should also remove your retainers before drinking any hot liquids such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. The heat from these beverages could cause the plastic to slightly melt, which warps its shape and affects your treatment.

Why Choose Prentice Orthodontics?

For more information Invisalign treatment or about wearing retainers, talk to us. At Prentice Orthodontics, we have an expertly-trained and friendly staff that is eager to welcome you into our offices, answer your questions, and provide top-of-the-line orthodontic care.