This is a question we get asked often, so we thought it would be good to educate everyone on why retainers are so important.
Whether you had metal braces, clear braces or removable Invisalign aligners, you will need to wear retainers. At first you may be required to wear them 12-22 hours per day. This recommendation is based on many factors including the severity of your initial problem, your age, and whether we are using the retainers to finalize a few tooth positions.
The majority of our patients are on this type of program for 3 to 6 months. Most, if they have done the required hours in the first 3 to 6 months, can go to nighttime only at 6 months.
The nighttime only is highly recommended for the remaining 6 months or at least until 12 months of daily retainer wear has been accomplished.
After 12 months of continuous retainer wear, we will often recommend wearing your retainers 3-5 times a week for as long as you live.
Many patients are shocked by these recommendations. We are not trying to “torture” you for the rest of your life, but we do want you to realize that without consistent wear of your retainers, there is a strong possibility that the beautiful, straight teeth that you now possess, will not be there forever.
Why does this happen?
It is simple biology, quite frankly.
Your teeth are housed in your jawbones. When you undergo Orthodontic treatment, you have a force system on the teeth (your braces and wires or aligners) that push the teeth into a new position. In order for the tooth to move into a new position, it needs to have bone on the one side disappear or soften (we call this resorption). So if a tooth were moving from the front of your mouth towards the back, the bone on the back of the tooth would disappear (resorb).
Once the tooth is in the new position, new bone is deposited around the tooth to help it stabilize in its new position. This process of depositing new bone can take 9 to 12 months.
During this time, you are wearing your retainers, which are helping to stabilize the new positions of all the teeth while the new bone is being deposited. Hence the reason for 12 months daily wear of your retainers.
You still may be wondering why you need to continue to wear retainers after 12 months.
There is more to the story and more tooth biology, so hang in there as we explain it further.
After 12 months of continuous retainer wear, we often recommend that you to continue to wear your retainers at night 3-5 times a week for life. The reason we recommend this cycle of wear is due to the slow shifting of teeth forward and inward as we get older.
This movement occurs very slowly and in general takes decades to occur. However, it can be prevented through continued and consistent wear of retainers.
“My retainers will last my lifetime?”
No, they will not, but they should last anywhere from 2 to 10 years depending on the type, how well you take care of them and if you do not lose them.
Most retainers will need to be replaced several times over the course of your life if you are dedicated to keeping your smile looking the same way it looked the day you got your braces or Invisalign completed.
Any Orthodontist in the world can make a new set of retainers for you. You do not need to “fly” home to your Orthodontist to get new retainers. (However, we will always be happy to see you!)
There is an exciting and money saving way to make sure you have enough retainers made in advance so that you never have to worry about losing them, breaking them or wearing them out and not having a replacement for a few months or years.
Vivera™ from Invisalign ™ is a system of clear retainers that are mailed to you over 12 months. You get a new set of retainers every 3 months. You can use them or store them (in your safe) for future use.
Wouldn’t it be great to know that if your dog chews your retainers, you do not need to get new impressions or molds of your teeth? Your replacement retainers are at your house and ready for you to start to wear.
We offer Vivera™ and it requires no impressions. We will do an intraoral scan with our iTero™ scanner and submit your digital images to Invisalign™ for manufacture of your 4 sets of retainers.
The good news is that you can get 4 sets of retainers for 50% off. Normally priced $1200, the price for Vivera™ is only $597.
Call our office at 916-435-8000 or email us for more information or to schedule your impression-free scan.