Invisalign is an effective treatment for correcting the alignment of your teeth, improving both your smile and your oral health. Clear plastic aligners help to gently shift your teeth into proper alignment, providing you with a much more discreet alternative to traditional braces. However, what happens once your teeth are properly aligned? Raptou Family Dental is here to help.
What is a Retainer?
Following your Invisalign treatment, you will be provided with a retainer. A retainer is an oral device that functions to keep your teeth in proper alignment, preventing them from shifting out of place again. It is made from impressions of your mouth and fits over your teeth much like your Invisalign trays. Often, many people make the mistake of thinking that their last Invisalign tray can function as a retainer. This will not work, however. Invisalign trays are not designed for long-term use and will weaken over time. Retainers, on the other hand, are made to last longer.
Types of Retainers
There are a few different types of retainers.
||Wire retainers. Wire retainers are the most common type of retainer provided. These types of retainers have a clear plastic piece that sits on the roof of your mouth. A bendable wire stretches across your teeth. Wire retainers are very durable and allow your teeth to come together naturally.
||Clear plastic retainers. A clear plastic retainer is very similar to your Invisalign trays. The material, however, is much more durable. It is much more discreet than a wire retainer. Because there is no piece over the roof of your mouth, your speech is not affected.
||Fixed retainers. A fixed retainer is a small wire that is bonded to the backs of your teeth. These retainers, more common on the bottom teeth, provide additional assurance that your teeth will not shift out of alignment. You also do not have to worry about losing or forgetting it, because it is bonded into place.
Taking care of your retainer is important for ensuring that it functions properly. Your retainer should be cleaned every day. Otherwise, bacteria can build up on it, putting your oral health at risk. You can clean your retainer with soap and water, or you can purchase special retainer cleaning tablets. The tablets are dissolved in water, and your retainer should be soaked for about 20 minutes.
Typically, retainers are only worn at night, but you may be recommended to wear it during the day for a while as well. If you are wearing your retainer during the day, instead of just while you sleep, there are a few additional things you should keep in mind. First, remove your retainer while you are eating. Before you put it back in, brush your teeth and rinse the retainer out. Avoid smoking, especially if you wear a clear plastic retainer.
You should also examine your retainer periodically. If you notice any signs of damage, it is important to schedule an appointment and have it replaced.
Taking Care of Your Mouth
Your oral care is always important, but it is especially important following your Invisalign treatment. Continue to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. You should also maintain routine dental visits. During these visits, the alignment of your teeth can be assessed to make sure that they are not shifting back out of place again. If any shifting is noticed, your retainer will be examined to determine if you need a new one.
Following your Invisalign treatment, your retainer will help you to maintain your beautiful new smile. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Raptou Family Dental today at (614) 427-0449.