Invisalign clear aligners are a dynamite, hidden, and awesome way to get straight teeth. But are Invisalign results permanent?
Kate who is thinking about starting Invisalign to perfect her smile asked Dr Kit the following question:
Kate asks “Are Invisalign Results Permanent?”
Dr Kit: Hey Kate, It’s awesome that you are looking into straightening and aligning your teeth.
Invisalign and other clear aligners are an effective and discreet way to have braces and move your teeth into the smile you want.
Once the Invisalign treatment is complete – it is usually essential to have some kind of retention to get the teeth stay in their new position.
Almost Everyone Needs A Retainer
Studies have shown that almost everyone needs a retainer. Otherwise the teeth will relapse and go out of position. A Cochrane review found this result.
To prevent relapse almost every patient who has orthodontic treatment will require some type of retention.Cochrane Review 2006, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16437443)
So if you want your teeth to stay in the new locations to which they have just shifted, it’s essential that you wear your retainer as your Invisalign provider has instructed. It is a mild inconvenience to keep your aligned beautiful smile!
What Happens After Invisalign Finishes
It’s also great Kate that you are thinking about the future – what happens after Invisalign “finishes”. When you are done with your aligners – you are really just moving into the final stage of Invisalign – retention.
Teeth like to move back into their old position (we call this relapse) – and for most patients they end up with a fixed or removable retainer to make their Invisalign result permanent.
The cost of Invisalign aligners can be significant – so once your teeth are straight – you gotta maintain that awesome smile!
So after Invisalign you will likely need retainers of some type.
Two Types Of Retainer After Invisalign
- A fixed retainer is a small comfortable wire attached to the inside of the front teeth.
- Typically it attaches to the front two, four or six teeth. Your dentist will figure out what is the necessary to keep the teeth in position
- You get used to the wire in no time
- It is often permanent – a lot of dentists suggest the retention wire stay fixed in place for the long term
- You still need to brush and floss even with the wire
- If you do not maintain good hygiene you can end up with lots of build up or tartar on the wire
- Teeth cleaning by a dentist or hygienist can remove excess calculus or tartar
- A removable retainer is a plastic tray that you wear at night
- The tray make sure the teeth remember where they are supposed to be and realigns them if they have moved
- They are comfortable
- If you don’t wear the tray for a time it can be tight though
- Dentists often recommend wearing the retainer every night
- The retainers are thin and see-through – like a tougher Invisalign tray
This tray is similar to the Invisalign trays you wear during the aligner braces treatment. But unlike the Invisalign trays that you discard when you are done with them – the retainer is made of a stronger plastic and you keep it for years.
- You need to keep the tray clean
- Use a denture cleaning dissolving tablet
- Use Invisalign cleaning crystals
- Brush the retainer with soap and water and rinse well
- There are many types of plastics retainer – Invisalign has a brand called Vivera
Does Everyone Need A Retainer After Braces?
A special note: Not all patients require a retainer after Invisalign – but most do. It is far more likely you will need a retainer than not.
Your dentist or orthodontist will be able to tell you before or during treatment.
What about normal braces – do they need retainers to be permanent?
Regular braces also usually end up requiring retainers of some type.
Otherwise just like Invisalign – the teeth want to from move back into their old positions or becoming crowded.
Just like aligners like Invisalign, a fixed bonded permanent retainer is very common. For some bites the dentist might instead recommend a removable plastic retainer tray to be worn at night.
Orthodontists are moving more and more towards using either a fixed retainer, or a removable vacuum formed (removable tray) retainer for the majority of cases (Pratt et al 2011). So there is a high chance you will end up with either of these two types of retainer after braces.
Conclusion for Kate – Yes Invisalign Is Permanent BUT…
Kate – your Invisalign results are permanent – but only if you have some kind of retainer to make sure the teeth stay where they are supposed to.
To the reader – do you understand now if your Invisalign results are permanent? What did your orthodontist say about a retainer? Do you have a wire or a removable retainer?