Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Why Wearing a Retainer is So Important

By: | Saturday, September 15th, 2018 | Invisalign, Orthodontics

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Invisalign Burke, VAAfter braces come off, even if you’ve been treated with Invisalign, you may wish for a break. More time with yet another fixture supporting teeth can feel restrictive. However, the moment braces come off, your dentist will fit you with a retainer. Here, we discuss why, and what happens if you don’t wear your retainer as directed.

Why a Retainer is Needed

A retainer is a device that runs along the arch of teeth to keep them in place after orthodontic treatment. Historically, retainers have been removable. More recently, though, fixed retainers have become available. They are also much more discreet than they once were. Many of the retainers that are made today are clear, just like Invisalign, or are situated behind the teeth where the single wire cannot be seen.

After your last Invisalign tray or once braces come off, a new model of your teeth is made using impressions. From this model, your retainer can be made to fit perfectly to prevent teeth from shifting back toward their original position.

Why Teeth Shift

For the first year after orthodontic treatment is completed, teeth are likely to shift back into misalignment. The reason this can happen is that, at this time, the ligaments that hold teeth in place are more flexible as a result of the pressure placed on teeth during Invisalign or braces treatment. If teeth are “set free” with no safeguards, the flexibility of the periodontal ligament will allow them to shift.

How to Wear a Retainer

One of the questions patients have is if they will have to wear a retainer forever. The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

Initially, retainers are prescribed for full-time wear. After the first year of use, it is possible to reduce wear to nighttime only. This can continue for another year. By this time, teeth should be much more stable in their new position. Then, a retainer can be worn a few nights a week to prevent the slight shifts that can naturally occur with age.

If you have questions about straightening your teeth with Invisalign and what that would entail for you, call our Burke office at (703)-935-2879. We love helping patients love their smiles!



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