After having to wear Invisalign trays for many months to straighten your teeth, you are no doubt looking forward to not having to take them out when you eat and cleaning them. But to maintain your newly perfect smile, you need to start wearing special retainers to keep the teeth from going back to their original positions for a time Dr. Louie will recommend for your case.
It has been proven that once your basic orthodontic goals are achieved, the bones will still need time to harden around the teeth (especially for teens, whose jaws are still developing). Fortunately, the retainers are similar to the trays in being clear and fitting over the teeth, but with even less pressure, since they are just maintaining the teeth in place. Dr. Louie will do a final scan to be sure those he creates for the upper and lower arches will fit perfectly. Some patients have made the mistaken assumption that they can just keep using the last Invisalign trays to save time or money, but the fit won’t be right and they will become discolored.
There are some important tips to having a successful Invisalign aftercare experience:
Remove the retainers before eating to avoid having food particles get stuck in them. When finished, brush your teeth, rinse the retainers, and put them back in your mouth.
Beverages and Retainers
Avoid drinking hot beverages when wearing retainers, since they may slightly melt the plastic and no longer fit properly, requiring new ones to be made.
At night, scrub them with soapy water (not toothpaste, which is abrasive), or soak them for 20 minutes in water in which a tablet for cleaning retainers has been dissolved.
Wear the retainers at night, since this will protect them from any unconscious grinding of the teeth, due to tension, which can be damaging.
Candy and Sticky Foods
Avoid eating sticky candy or chewing gum, which can get stuck on the retainers.
If you smoke, try to stop, otherwise reduce it to the minimum possible and ask for retainers that are not clear (since they will turn yellow from the smoke).
You should continue to brush and floss as you have been doing. If the teeth or gums feel sensitive (which is often the case after any orthodontic treatment), use a salt water rinse and toothpaste for teeth sensitivity during the transition.
And be sure to visit Dr. Louie every six months or on the schedule he recommends to have a digital x-ray and a professional cleaning, to be sure not only your Invisalign goals continue to be met, but that you maintain good overall oral health.