Wasn't it a good feeling when your orthodontist told you that your Invisalign treatment was coming to an end? You might have been wearing them for more than a year, with only a couple of hours each day without them. But this isn't the end of your teeth straightening journey since you will now be required to wear a retainer. This should be thought of as clear instruction and not just a suggestion. But what happens if you neglect to wear your retainer as directed once your Invisalign treatment has been completed?
Maintaining Your Efforts
Although the vast majority of work has been completed when your course of Invisalign has finished, it's time to switch into maintenance mode, as you need to keep your teeth in their finalized alignment so your efforts can be preserved.
Wearing Your Retainer
Your retainer will be customized, and you will receive precise instructions about how often to wear it. You might need to wear it most of the time in the months after finishing Invisalign, although this will be rolled back as more time goes by.
A Comfortable Experience
There might have been some minor discomfort with each change of your Invisalign aligner, but remember that these aligners were applying pressure to your teeth in order to gently reposition them. Your retainer is different and is intended to keep your teeth in the ideal position, as opposed to actually repositioning them. This is why wearing a retainer should be perfectly comfortable.
Not Following Instructions
As mentioned, the precise instructions for wearing your retainer will be provided, and you need to follow them to the letter. Failure to do so means your teeth will attempt to revert to their pre-treatment alignment, essentially undoing your hard work. Although it can be tempting to take a break from your retainer, this is unwise, and in some cases can require additional orthodontic treatment.
If you have neglected to wear your retainer as directed and your teeth have begun to reposition themselves, your orthodontist can assist. You might be a candidate for express alignment, which requires you to resume Invisalign, although for a shorter period. This is a suitable treatment for minor misalignment but can (and should) be avoided with proper retainer wear once your primary Invisalign treatment has concluded.
In short, remember that your retainer-wearing instructions after your Invisalign treatment must be followed, otherwise you risk undoing all the benefits of the initial treatment.
To learn more about Invisalign and retainers, reach out to a local orthodontist.