COVID-19 Update

Patient Letter Virtual Appointment

Why You Need Retainers after Braces and Invisalign

Why You Need Retainers after Braces and Invisalign Grand Rapids MI

Your teeth and the rest of your body will continue to change the rest of your life. For this reason, it’s important you wear your retainer as directed by one of our orthodontists once you’re done with treatment. The last thing you want after wearing traditional metal braces or Invisalign® is being told that your teeth have shifted back toward their original positions. Not only is this disappointing, but it can affect the appearance of your smile, bite relationship, and oral health.

Continue reading to learn the other reasons you need to wear your retainer after orthodontic treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do Retainers Stop Teeth From Moving?
  • What Can I Expect 12 Months After Braces?
  • Do I Need Retainers After Invisalign?
  • What If I Lose My Retainer?
  • What Does it Mean if Your Retainer is Tight?

How Do Retainers Stop Teeth From Moving?

Once you have your braces removed, we can understand the reluctance you may feel to wear yet another oral appliance. (We promise we’re not trying to torture you.) However, it’s important that you wear your retainer as directed by our orthodontists. Otherwise, your teeth will gradually shift to their original positions.

While you may not see your teeth moving at first, the changes become more noticeable over time. For example, your retainer may feel tight and uncomfortable if you haven’t worn it for a few days. Your orthodontic retainers will fit for as long as you consistently wear them.

It’s normal for your teeth to slightly shift after having your dental braces removed or once you stop wearing Invisalign. This is the result of everyday wear and tear on your teeth as you bite down, chew, swallow, and speak. The orthodontic retainer is designed to prevent noticeable changes so you can maintain a beautiful smile.

What Can I Expect 12 Months After Braces?

Your teeth are partly held in place by surrounding jawbone. During orthodontic treatment, your jawbone would have softened or disappeared (a process called resorption) so teeth could move into their final positions.

Once you stop wearing metal braces or Invisalign, you need to wear orthodontic retainers so your teeth are held in place while new bone is deposited. It takes about 9 to 12 months for your body to build up enough bone to stabilize teeth.

Once 12 months have passed, you should have enough new bone deposited around your teeth to keep them stable. For this reason, you won’t have to wear your orthodontic retainers as frequently to maintain your beautifully straight smile. Your orthodontist may recommend only wearing your retainers 3 to 5 times a week.

While your teeth won’t move as dramatically once the jawbone regains bone tissue, they will slightly move forward and inward as you get older. This change isn’t something you notice overnight, but rather something that gradually happens over decades.

Do I Need Retainers After Invisalign?

Yes, you’ll need to wear a retainer after Invisalign braces. Even though Invisalign moves teeth differently from braces, the result is still the same. You’ll need to wear retainers after any kind of teeth straightening.

What If I Lose My Retainer?

If you lose your retainer, just call our office to schedule an appointment. Whether you accidently threw out your retainer on your lunch tray or the dog ate it, we can get you fitted for a new retainer as soon as possible so you don’t lose the progress you made with orthodontic treatment. During your appointment, we’ll take impressions of your teeth to create a new retainer.

What Does it Mean if Your Retainer is Tight?

Your retainer may feel tight if you haven’t worn it recently or as often as our orthodontists recommended. This is because it doesn’t take much time for your teeth to start shifting toward their original positions. Also, it’s normal for teeth to shift a little as you get older. If your retainer feels really tight, schedule an appointment with one of our orthodontists. Don’t try to force the appliance over your teeth.

Request an Appointment With Us

Our orthodontists in Grand Rapids and Grandville are dedicated to helping patients achieve their best smiles. Call Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics today to schedule your free consultation!