It is the most asked question that what happens once the Invisalign treatment is finished. No matter whether you are about to consider the Invisalign treatment or you are already a patient, the aftercare process is a matter of concern and must be consulted with your orthodontist. Since it is important to maintain a beautiful smile, there is a little more work to do after Invisalign.
It is called the active phase when your teeth will be shifting throughout the Invisalign treatment. Soon after that, you will face the retention phase to make sure that your teeth repositioning results will last a lifetime.
What Happens in Active Phase and Retention Phase?
When wearing Invisalign aligners or braces, it applies a gentle force that shifts the teeth into the place as specified by the orthodontists. The gentle pressure from the aligners causes changes all the way through the supporting tissues, periodontal ligaments, teeth, bone, and gums. Since the changes happen at a cellular level, tissue and bone remodeling happens. As a result, bones break down, the periodontal ligaments stretch out the teeth are moved accordingly.
With the gradual repositioning of the teeth, a vacant space is left behind which is also over time gets filled to secure the teeth into the new position. So, when you are wearing Invisalign, these changes will already be occurring, which is called as active phase.
Once the aligners will no more put pressure on your teeth, your teeth will try to get back to their previous position. Especially, it is problematic mostly in the case of teenagers, as their bones aren’t fully hardened. Hence, over time, the alveolar bone will regenerate completely besides shrinking the ligaments to their regular size. So, if you want your teeth to be in the right place, adding a retention phase can benefit your orthodontic treatment.
How Does the Retainer Work?
A retainer holds teeth in the desired position, which minimizes the age-related changes and allows the gums, bone, and periodontal ligaments to stick around the teeth. So, there will be less chance of reversion.
While wearing a retainer after the Invisalign, it will be there for full time or a short period and then there will be a transition to wearing it only at night when you go to bed. In some cases, people start wearing the retainers only a few nights a week, but it all depends on what your body is telling you. It’s better to follow the instruction of your orthodontist so that you don’t have to follow another course of treatment.
The aligners are not designed for long-term use. After using it for a few weeks, your teeth may lack the force to prevent the reversion. Even, over time, the retainer will get nasty and yellow. The orthodontists use a scanner to take the digital impression and to make a customized retainer. Since you have put enough time and money into the Invisalign treatment, it’s recommended not to skip the retainer step.
How Many Types of Retainers Are There?
When the aftercare process of Invisalign is concerned, there are a few basic things to consult with the orthodontists. Since post-treatment maintenance begins with the retainers, there is an advancement in technology, which makes retainers more comfortable and less invasive than the previous styles. Here are two different types of retainers to maintain the teeth alignment corrected by the Invisalign braces-
- Fixed Retainers: A fixed retainer consists of a thin, metal wire which sticks to the back of the teeth, on the tongue side. These retainers are set permanently to ensure that your teeth won’t move after Invisalign treatment. Permanent doesn’t mean it will be there for life long, it means the retainers will be there until there is no more need to hold the teeth in place. No one will even be able to see you are wearing retainers.
- Removable Retainers: There are two types of removable retainers, one is the traditional wire retainer or Hawley retainer and another one is the clear retainer or 3D retainers. The wire retainer consists of a custom plastic piece, which sits against the roof of your mouth, and a thin metal wire wraps around the front part of the teeth. On the other hand, a clear and removable retainer slips over the teeth just like Invisalign braces. These are as comfortable as braces and made of durable material.
Lastly, you must know that retainers are pretty low maintenance appliances, but there are some things to know that you must brush the retainers from both sides every day without toothpaste. You can give the retainers a deeper cleaning by soaking them in the retainer cleaning solution. Also, it is a good practice to store the retainers, in case whenever you’re not wearing them. Wrapping the retainers in the napkin may cause it broken or thrown accidentally. Over time, if you feel that you need to readjust the retainer, then you should consult with a seasoned orthodontist for the retainer and get Invisalign braces in London.