Do I need to wear a retainer forever after Invisalign?

by Dr. George Harding on February 19, 2013

A common question asked, especially among younger patients, is how long they will have to wear a retainer following dental treatments designed to straighten teeth.  Since retainers can carry a negative stigma, it’s not uncommon for dental patients to wonder if they will have to wear braces for the rest of their lives.  Is it possible to maintain perfectly straight teeth without wearing a retainer, at least every night?  Unfortunately, teeth are very dynamic and the only way to ensure that you can maintain your newly straightened teeth is by wearing a retainer regularly.

Whether it’s grinding your teeth, or simply having an uneven bite, the constant pressure on a tooth can cause it to seek a home elsewhere.  Over time, a tooth will slowly migrate to an area of the mouth that experiences less constant pressure.  Braces and Invisalign can help to slowly migrate teeth back to a more natural position, but the reason for uneven or crooked teeth will remain.  It is for this reason that a retainer should be worn every day following a teeth straightening dental procedure.  The retainer will help to keep from migrating over time and will help to preserve your beautiful new smile.

While it’s not an ideal answer that most dental patients want to hear, the simple answer is that a retainer should be worn daily to ensure that you will keep your new smile for years to come.  In some cases, a permanent retainer is possible that is bonded to the teeth with cement.  These retainers are not visible and do not require much maintenance.

Either way, a retainer should not discourage you from having your teeth straightened.  In the same way you have a routine of brushing your teeth to avoid tooth decay, putting in a retainer at night can become part of your evening routine.  Not wearing a retainer can lead to your teeth migrating again, and additional dental teeth straightening procedures may be necessary.

If you are considering braces or Invisalign, but you are concerned about having to wear a retainer in the evenings, Schedule an Appointment with Dr. George P. Harding & Associates.  The trained professionals will help put any worries to rest, and can show you how using a retainer can become a simple part of your evening routine.

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