Invisalign teeth straightening treatment is unbelievably popular in the present times. The procedure requires thorough aftercare in the retention phase to make the changes make to your teeth and the jaws permanent.
When Invisalign patients remove their final set of aligners and checkout their improved and sparkling smile in the mirror, it marks an auspicious occasion. The entire team of dentist and other oral healthcare professionals thrillingly wait for that moment to see the success of their hard work.
However, a renowned orthodontic expert in London associated with London Braces at Harley Street points out that your Invisalign teeth straightening procedure just does not end after taking the final set of braces off the teeth. In technical terms, it only marks the end of the active phase of the treatment. Then the retention phase follows to make sure the results last for a lifetime.
Let us discuss the retention phase of Invisalign procedure in this blog post. This will surely help you make some concrete ideas about how to retain the beautiful effects of invisible braces treatment on your teeth and smile for the rest of your lifetime.
Invisalign teeth straightening phases: Active versus retention
Invisalign aligners exert gentle and precisely calculated force on the teeth to facilitate their movement into locations specified by an orthodontist. Plastic aligners used in the treatment move the teeth to a great extent starting from the beginning till the end of the treatment. Other than the teeth, the calculated pressure also facilitates movement of the supporting bones and tissues in the mouth, periodontal ligaments that hold the teeth and the gums.
These modifications occur at the cellular level. Invisalign teeth straightening is basically a bone and tissue remodelling procedure in the mouth. It leads to formation of new bones and tissues along with stretching out of the periodontal ligaments. All these changes occur at the active treatment phase.
On the final set of aligners come out, the force is gone too. In this situation, the teeth try to sink back into their initial positions. This tendency is even more prominent in teens, whose bones are yet to become fully hardened.
It does not take much time for the changes to recoil back to the initial stages before the treatment. But it is important to retain the changes in the mouth in order to make your new and improved smile permanent.
To prevent this unwanted rollback orthodontists invented the retention phase of the treatment. At this phase you have to use a retainer or retainers to hold the teeth in their newly shifted positions. Invisalign retainers offer a number of benefits including the following:
- A retainer holds your teeth in the right positions
- Minimises the chances of age-related changes in your mouth
- Helps the supporting ligaments, bones and tissues from drifting back to their original positions
In short, Invisalign retainers help retaining the results of the teeth straightening treatment.
Initially you have to wear the retainers full-time. Gradually, you will have to slip them on only while sleeping at night. Some people have to wear the retainers for long while others may have to wear them hardly a few days.
Post Invisalign retainers: your different options
Post Invisalign retainers are of two categories:
- Fixed retainers and
- Removable retainers
A fixed retainer is made from a thin metal wire. It is fixed to the back of the teeth. This range of retainers is permanent and cannot be taken out. These fixed ones offer greater assurance against teeth movement after Invisalign treatment. As the retainer stays behind the teeth, it remains discreet inside the mouth without anyone detecting its presence.
This variety of Invisalign retainers comes in two varieties, namely:
- The traditional wire retainer or Hawley retainer and
- A clear retainer also called Essix or 3-D retainer and looks similar to an Invisalign tray
You are likely to keep wearing the retainers for years together. Invisalign retainers are prone to wear and tear. You must get your retainer immediately replaced the moment it shows any sign of worn out.
A qualified orthodontist experienced in Invisalign treatment in London adds, the retainers are only effective to exert the right amount of force when they fit perfectly in the mouth.
Taking proper care of your retainers
Invisalign retainers require minimal care and maintenance. However, it is important to remember certain things to help them contribute their part in your treatment easily.
- If you are on either Hawley or Essix retainers, use a soft toothbrush to brush both their sides every day without using toothpaste. Dishwashing soaps are ideal to apply while brushing them. Use a dedicated retainer-cleaning solution to clean them with every so often. You may also prepare a homely mixture combining equal volumes of water and distilled white vinegar and drop the appliance in the solution for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- If you are using a bonded retainer post Invisalign treatment, brush around the wire with utmost care and effort at least twice a day along with flossing once daily. The wire of a bonded retainer is more likely to trap food particles and facilitate plaque build-up. Consider using an inter-dental toothbrush because it is a handier tool to get around the wire.
- Modern range of retainers is strong and durable unlike their previous version although they also have their limitations. You have to handle them carefully; get your replacement retainer immediately if the existing one breaks or shows signs of de-generation.
- Other than drinking plain water, you have to take out the removable retainer at all times while eating or drinking anything else. Certain drinks are snacks may stain the retainer while hot foods and drinks may wrap it. So be careful always what you eat and drink.
- While playing sports you must take the retainers out and this includes swimming as well.
- Safe-keep the retainer in its case at all times while you are not wearing it. When you take it out, never make the mistake of wrapping it up in a napkin for sake of safekeeping. You may throw it away unmindfully any time when it is inside a napkin.
- Never try to adjust your retainers yourself. Retainer adjustment requires high-end technical knowledge and skills that only your oral healthcare provider possesses. Make an appointment and see your orthodontist whenever you feel like the retainer needs a little tweak or is not fitting properly.
- Whenever you go for your retainer check appointments, do bring the retainer along.
- Keep the retainer away from pets to prevent damages.
Final words on your Invisalign treatment aftercare
Switching on to retainers is the major part of Invisalign aftercare. But there are certain things more that you must consider at the same time. These include the following:
Continue with brushing and flossing the teeth as usual: When you switch to Invisalign retainer, get back to the normal oral healthcare regimen. Brush the teeth properly with fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles twice every day. Floss the teeth once daily. If your teeth are more prone to caries, add a fluoride mouthwash to your daily oral health regimen.
Never miss your routine checkups and cleanings related to general dentistry
Routine teeth cleaning procedure is as crucial during the active phase of Invisalign treatment as it is during the retention phase. Only a professional cleaning proves effective to remove the harmful plaque build-ups from the teeth and the gums. These routine checkups are helpful to detect any problem at the early stages.
Stick to a healthy and balanced diet
Stick to a healthy, all-round diet with high proportion of fresh fruits, green, crunchy vegetables and low-fat dairy products. This is the assured way to provide your body with necessary minerals, vitamins, proteins and complex carbohydrates that contribute heavily to you keep your mouth healthy and strong. Avoid sweetened drinks and food items as much as you can.
Use mouth guard during any sporting activity
Whenever you are partaking in any kind of sports or activity that may lead you to a dental trauma, wear a mouth guard. Mouth guards are a budget-friendly way to protect your mouth from external injury and damage. The boil and bite variety available readily over the counter is quite dependable. If you want, it is possible to get customised version that fits perfectly in your mouth.
Treatment with braces in London is steadily rising in popularity. This blog post is expected to equip you with a crystal-clear idea about what you must do during the retention phase of your teeth whitening treatment. Please feel free to contact us to book your appointment now.