After Invisalign: How to Keep Your Straight Teeth Stay in Place After Treatment

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Having straight teeth and a beautiful smile are the goals for dental patients undergoing orthodontic treatment. But what happens when the treatment is over? Taking the proper measures after treatment can maximise the effects of Invisalign aligners. This makes it easier to maintain those beautiful results you worked so hard to achieve.

In this blog post, we will discuss ways to keep your teeth straight after your Invisalign treatment. After all, getting straighter teeth with Invisalign is an investment. It’s important that they last.

Keep reading to learn more.

Summary of the Article

  • After Invisalign treatment, teeth can stay aligned if patients wear their retainer and don’t neglect their oral hygiene.
  • Common reasons for teeth to shift or orthodontic relapse after Invisalign treatment include: not wearing retainers as prescribed, poor oral hygiene habits and injury.
  • To prevent shifting of the teeth post-Invisalign treatment:
    • Complete the prescribed time frame and wear retainers for 20 – 22 hours per day
    • Practice good oral hygiene 
    • Use a retainer as directed by your dentist
    • Be mindful of habitual oral behaviours, which can cause misalignment issues
  • Different types of retainers are available, including fixed retainers, Hawley Retainers, Essix Retainers, and Vivera Retainers.
  • After completing Invisalign treatment, wearing orthodontic retainers should become a regular part of your routine to maintain the desired alignment of teeth. 
  • Remove the retainers before eating and drinking anything other than water.
  • Check-ups with your dentist are necessary every six months or four weeks. This is until all desired results are achieved.
  • If teeth start shifting right after Invisalign treatment, speak to your dentist as soon as possible.
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Will My Teeth Stay in Place After Invisalign Treatment?

Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign is a teeth-straightening option for patients looking for a discreet orthodontic method. It works through incremental teeth adjustments by having the patient wear custom-made aligner trays. The clear, removable trays exert subtle pressure to move teeth into their proper position. Depending on the case, this process usually takes between three and twenty-four months.

If you have recently undergone Invisalign treatment, you must be wondering if your teeth will stay in place after the treatment ends. The good news is that teeth usually remain in place post-Invisalign treatment for most people. However, this depends on several factors, such as lifestyle choices, oral hygiene, and whether retainers are regularly worn.

Most patients who have received Invisalign treatment have seen results that last, provided they wear their retainer and don’t neglect their oral health. The key to maintaining the position of teeth after Invisalign is complying with post-treatment instructions provided by your dentist.

What Are Some Common Reasons for Teeth to Shift After Invisalign Treatment?

Even after your Invisalign treatment has finished, your teeth may still move out of alignment. This is called an orthodontic relapse, and it is usually caused by various reasons, including:

  1. Not wearing your retainer as prescribed by your dentist: If you don’t wear your retainers for the recommended number of hours per day, your teeth may start to move out of place.
  2. Poor oral hygiene habits: Not brushing and flossing regularly can also lead to significant shifts in tooth alignment. This is because tartar and plaque buildup can cause periodontal disease that can lead to bone loss and the eventual movement of teeth.
  3. Habitual oral behaviours: If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, chewing on ice, thumb-sucking, or using your teeth as tools, you can also cause your teeth to move.
  4. Injury: An injury to the mouth or jaw can cause the teeth to become misaligned. Even a minor dent or chip in one of your teeth can disrupt the alignment of other teeth.

A dentist should be consulted if a noticeable shift is observed. Orthodontic treatment, when not addressed immediately, can lead to changes in your bite and further crowding and misalignment of teeth. You’ll end up losing the straight smile you have achieved with Invisalign. Preventing teeth shifting through proactive actions is the key to keeping your dream smile.

What Are Some Ways to Prevent Teeth From Shifting After Invisalign Treatment?

Orthodontic treatment does not end with achieving aligned teeth. You need to keep your teeth in place to make sure that your Invisalign treatment does not go to waste. Here are some ways to prevent orthodontic relapse:

  • Complete the prescribed treatment time and wear your aligners for 20-22 hours a day.
  • Use a retainer at night or as directed by your dentist during the retention phase. This helps maintain your beautiful teeth and straighter smile after Invisalign treatment.
  • Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly.
  • Practice mindful oral habits. Use a mouthguard if you have jaw-clenching or teeth-grinding habits. Avoid chewing on hard objects like pens and pencils. Also, do not use your teeth when opening packages or containers.
  • Follow a diet of healthy fruits and vegetables. Eat these instead of sugary treats or acidic drinks, which could damage tooth enamel.
  • Schedule regular cleanings every six months. This will prevent bacteria buildup, which can cause shifting of the teeth.

These tips will help your Invisalign results last long after the end of Invisalign treatment!

What Are the Different Kinds of Retainers?

Retainers are essential to maintaining the proper alignment of teeth after orthodontic treatment. Different types of retainers are available, including: 

Fixed Retainers

These are also called lingual retainers. A metal wire is bonded to the back surface of your front teeth. It is attached from a canine tooth to another canine tooth and secured in place with cement. 

Fixed retainers are non-intrusive, allowing you to speak and eat naturally. After a short period of wear, they should become barely noticeable. You only have to exert extra effort when cleaning them. Since these retainers are fixed, they tend to accumulate plaque over time. For this reason, regular dental cleaning is needed to keep them clean.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are made of wires and acrylic or clear plastic. It is the retainer of choice for adult patients because they offer flexibility. You can take them out and put them on without disrupting your day-to-day life.

Removable retainers are ideal for compliant patients with a lower risk of relapse. There are three different kinds of removable retainers.

  1. Hawley Retainers (wire retainer): This is a traditional wire retainer and is one of the most popular. It consists of a metal wire that encircles the teeth and a plastic moulded base. The combination of this material allows for full flexibility and comfort during wear.
  2. Essix Retainers (clear retainer): This type of retainer is made from a plastic material that moulds to your teeth. It is less bulky than a Hawley retainer and more comfortable.
  3. Vivera Retainers: This is another clear retainer from the makers of Invisalign. They help maintain teeth alignment and are exclusively made for Invisalign patients.

Remember to keep your retainer clean regardless of the type of option you choose. They need proper care to remain effective in keeping your teeth straight.

How Often Should I Wear My Retainers After Invisalign Treatment?

Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, wearing orthodontic retainers should become a regular part of your routine to maintain your beautiful straight smile.

How often you need to wear your retainers may vary. You should wear them every day and night for the first couple of months after completing treatment. Soon, you may be able to transition to wearing them only at night. Doing so will help maintain the alignment of your teeth.

Following your dentist’s advice is necessary to keep a straight and beautiful smile over time.

Can I Eat and Drink Normally With My Retainers?

While you can eat and drink normally with retainers, there are some things to keep in mind, such as:

  • Always remove your retainer before eating to maintain its shape and keep them from distorting.
  • Brush your teeth before putting back your retainer.
  • Hot water should never be used for cleaning as it can warp the retainer.

How Long Will I Need to Wear My Retainers After Invisalign Treatment?

Your dentist can guide you on how long you should wear a retainer after Invisalign treatment and any other steps needed to keep your teeth straight. However, most dentists advise that the retainers be worn for the rest of your life. Depending on your situation, you may need to wear your retainers at night or only occasionally as part of a maintenance routine.

Will My Retainers Wear Out and Need to Be Replaced After Invisalign Treatment?

Yes, retainers will eventually wear out and need to be replaced eventually. Your dentist will monitor the condition of your retainers. They’ll also recommend when it’s time for a replacement. This is why it’s important to keep up with regular dental check-ups.

How Often Should I Have Check-Ups With My Dentist After Invisalign Treatment?

Generally, you should visit your dentist for a check-up every six months. They will monitor if your teeth are staying in place and that relapse is not occurring. They’ll also check that there are no issues with wear or tear on the retainers. Your dentist can also adjust the retainers if needed and advise on how to care for them properly.

Invisalign treatments may require additional dentist visits. This happens if teeth need further refinement or adjustments after treatment completion. These are usually recommended every four weeks until the desired results are achieved.

What Happens if My Teeth Start Shifting After Invisalign Treatment?

While this can occur for any orthodontic treatment, Invisalign offers a few options to remedy orthodontic relapse. If addressed promptly, this slight shifting can likely be addressed with the help of a minimum number of additional clear aligners. The Invisalign3D software will let you know how many additional trays are needed before proceeding with treatment.

Understanding why this can occur—lack of compliance wearing retainers in most cases—can help you prevent any unnecessary further changes that could cause your teeth to move after Invisalign treatment. Speak to your dentists as soon as possible. They can assess what’s causing the movement and suggest possible solutions.

Final Thoughts

Although shifting teeth can happen after Invisalign treatment, it doesn’t mean you cannot have straight teeth again. Depending on the cause, your dentist may suggest different solutions to help realign your teeth. Remember also to do your part to prevent relapse. Follow your dentist’s advice and recommendations, and practice good oral and dental hygiene.

Comfort Care Dental wants to help you get your dream smile. If you’re ready to take the next step, book an appointment through our website or give us a call today!


Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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