The steps you take after completing your Invisalign treatment are arguably as important as the treatment itself. Proper retention is important to preserve the changes in your teeth and bite. The most critical period is the first few months to a year following the end of treatment.
Teeth Can Shift Back
The teeth are joined to the surrounding bone and gums by tiny fibers, which can often stretch after teeth are straightened or gaps are closed with orthodontics and contract when treatment is finished; this can lead to relapse, or a return to the original position of the teeth immediately after the braces are removed or Invisalign therapy is completed. Holding the teeth in the new positions for a period of time will allow the fibers to reposition to the surrounding bone and gum tissue, preventing the teeth from moving in the future.
Options for the retention phase include removable retainers that are usually worn at bedtime only, and are often made out of the same clear material as Invisalign or fixed retainers, which consist of a thin metal wire or composite fiber braid that is bonded to the inside or tongue side surfaces of the front teeth.
Continue to See Your Orthodontist
Your orthodontist will continue to see you periodically during your retention phase to monitor the fit of the retainers and check for any post-orthodontic movement. Depending on the age of the patient and the type of malocclusion corrected, the follow-up period with your orthodontist may end after a year or two.
With or without orthodontic care, everyone experiences some degree of change in tooth positioning and jaw alignment as they age. For this reason, some orthodontists recommend wearing a retainer at bedtime a few nights a month for a lifetime if one is looking to ensure that no movements take place during the aging process.
For more information, contact us! We can answer any questions you might have.