Retainers After Invisalign®

Clear plastic Essix retainer to wear after Invisalign treatment

You’ve made it – you’re reaching the end of your Invisalign® treatment and you couldn’t be more excited about your beautiful new smile! Seeing the life-changing results of orthodontia are one of the many reasons we love what we do at Dr. Robert Rudman’s Cherry Creek practice.

You’ve put the work in to enjoy your newly straightened teeth, and we’re guessing you want them to stay nice and straight for a lifetime. Retention is just as important as the active treatment phase of Invisalign®. Teeth want to drift and they want to relapse to their former positions. Wearing a retainer “retains” the alignment you achieved. Without a retainer, teeth eventually drift and become crooked.

There are a few retainers to choose from. Dr. Rudman helps you choose the best one for your preferences. Call us at 303-331-0222 to learn more.

Retainer Choices after Invisalign® Treatment

The most popular choices are:

  • Clear, plastic retainers. These look a lot like the Invisalign® trays you wore to straighten your teeth. They are easily snapped on and off the teeth, just like the trays. These retainers are clear, so they aren’t overly obvious when you’re wearing them.
  • Hawley plastic and metal wire retainers. The Hawley has a colorful acrylic base that lies on the roof of your mouth on top, and the other retainer’s base fits over the floor of your mouth. Attached to the bases are metal wires that wrap around your teeth. The wires hold your teeth in place.
  • Bonded wire retainers. A thin, narrow wire is affixed to the back surface of the lower and/or upper teeth. Two to six of the front teeth may be included, but these wires do not extend to the molars. An increasingly popular option, these bonded lingual retainers are there all the time. You won’t have to remember to place them nightly like the other retainers.

Hawley retainers are not quite as popular as they once were. They are quite durable though, and can last for many years when properly cared for. The clear plastic retainer may last years as well, although teeth grinding can wear them down and they may warp if they get hot. Many people prefer the clear look of these retainers over the look of Hawleys. The bonded retainers are also quite durable although they can come loose, especially because of chewing and eating firm foods. Bonded retainers also take a little extra time to floss. You must thread floss beneath the wires each time.

As part of your Invisalign® treatment, Dr. Rudman provides retainer guidance. He’ll recommend the one that’s right for you, but is happy to discuss other options you are curious about. He wants you to enjoy your new smile in all the years ahead. Getting the right retainer is part of that.

Retainer Care Extends the Lifetime of the Device

Your retainer lasts even longer when you take the right precautions:

  • Clean your retainer according to our instructions
  • Store retainers in a cool, dry area
  • Take care not to lose your retainers if you travel with them
  • Report to our team any problems with fit or teeth grinding

Clear plastic retainers are most effectively cleaned with a denture cleaning tablet you can purchase at any grocery store. You can also brush them gently with mild soap and warm water. Avoid brushing your retainer with toothpaste because it will scratch them.

To find out which retainers are available to you after Invisalign®, please call our practice in Denver at 303-331-0222.

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