What Should You Do After Your Invisalign Treatment Ends?

January 28, 2019
Carly A. Moran, DDS, MS

It’s an exciting moment when you realize you are removing your very last set of Invisalign aligners and reveal your brand new smile, knowing you won’t be receiving another set of aligners at your next office visit. While your last set of aligners marks the end of your formal Invisalign treatment, there is a little bit more work to do in order to ensure your healthy smile lasts for a lifetime.

So what should you do after your Invisalign treatment ends?

What to Do After Your Invisalign Treatment Ends

The Retention Phase

After the orthodontic treatment phase, you enter the retention phase where we make sure your results last well beyond treatment. The retention phase incorporates the use of a retainer, which holds your teeth in their desired position over time, minimizing the risk for natural, age-related changes to your teeth. Retainers lessen the likelihood of your teeth drifting out of position by allowing your gums, bone and ligaments reorganize around your teeth after Invisalign.

Wearing a retainer after Invisalign helps ensure a long lasting, straight smile. Most patients start by wearing their retainers full time for a short period of time, and then transition to only wearing retainers at night — and in some cases eventually only a few nights per week. Each case varies, depending on your mouth and what our orthodontists recommend.

How to Care for Your Retainer

Retainer Options

While it may seem like a good idea to use your last Invisalign tray as your retainer, it simply does not work that way. Invisalign aligners are not designed for long-term use as they do not apply enough pressure to keep your teeth in the right position over a long period of time. Instead, there are two main types of retainers we recommend for our Invisalign patients:

  • Fixed Retainer: Consisting of a thin, metal wire that we glue to the back of your teeth on the tongue side. Fixed retainers offer a more permanent solution that eliminates the risk of losing your retainer.
  • Removable Retainer: This style comes in two forms – one being a traditional wire retainer and the other being a clear retainer that resembles and Invisalign tray. Many of our Invisalign patients choose the clear removable retainer because they are already used to it, and they are comfortable and durable!

Retainer Care

Retainers last for many years, but it’s important to note that they should be replaced as soon as you notice signs of wear and tear. They are only effective if they fit perfectly and can apply the correct amount of force.

Here are additional tips for keeping your retainers in good shape:

  • Brush both sides of your removable retainers with a soft toothbrush every day. Every week, give them a deeper clean by soaking them in retainer-cleaning solution.
  • For permanent retainers, brush around your wire really well twice a day and continue to floss once per day. This wire can easily trap food particles, so it’s essential to clean it well to prevent tooth decay or gum disease.
  • Take removable retainers out any time you eat or drink beverages like coffee or tea, which can stain and warp the retainer.
  • Remove your retainer when playing sports and store it in its case whenever you aren’t wearing it. Wear a mouthguard with your permanent retainer to protect it from impact.
  • Never attempt to adjust your retainer by yourself. If you think it needs an adjustment, take it to your orthodontist first, so they can do it the right way.

Wearing a retainer after Invisalign helps keep your smile healthy and last a lifetime. Continue to brush and floss regularly, as well as visiting your general dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Additionally, it’s important to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet full of necessary vitamins to keep your teeth strong and boost overall oral health.

If you have ever have any questions about orthodontic treatment, or are curious to learn more about Invisalign or retainers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We’d love to help you stay on track to maintaining a straight and healthy smile!

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  • I received Invisalign treatment and had a lot going on. As a mom of two children ,under two years old, it’s tough making doctor appointments but let me tell you they make it work! I was with Dr. Carly at the Westfield office and she always encouraged my little sons to come during my appointments. This made things so much easier for me. The staff at Gorman and Bunch were always welcoming and inviting. They would remember you and are honestly genuine people. Let me tell you it is hard finding good medical practices these days but these people are the best. I forever will recommend Gorman and Bunch to young kiddos and adults.

    Casey Hood Avatar
    Casey Hood

    We were very pleased with the staff and services at Gorman & Bunch. From the beginning, they were very friendly and made us feel comfortable with our first ortho visit. Dr. Carly was very nice and attentive. We ended up with braces for my son on the first visit and they were quick and thorough and made our experience very positive. Definitely would recommend them! They are awesome!

    Donia Shackelford Avatar
    Donia Shackelford

    Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen!

    This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat.

    From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive.

    They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan.

    Keep up the great work!!

    Robert Cassidy Avatar
    Robert Cassidy

    Amazing office! My daughter was home from college and had an orthodontic emergency. She was not a previous patient. Dr Moran was kind enough to see her. The entire staff was amazing. I would never go anywhere else!

    Sharon Hoover Avatar
    Sharon Hoover
  • This is the best place to go! Dr. Carly and her staff have made my daughter's smile beautiful.

    Ruth Perkins Avatar
    Ruth Perkins

    This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

    Joyce Eggleston Avatar
    Joyce Eggleston

    Very great place! Went there for my first time today and i felt so comfortable and they are helping me fix my mouth!! Love love love!

    Haley Elston Avatar
    Haley Elston

    Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

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    Karen Caudle
  • I love this office. The staff and Dr. Carly are great. I’m having amazing results with my program! I highly suggest it to any and everyone!

    Mark Roberts Avatar
    Mark Roberts

    I can’t say enough great things about this office. I am legal guardian of my sister and she is going through Invisalign with them… She’s almost done and I am amazed by the results.
    I also go there for continued orthodontic care because orthodontic retention is for life! So glad I have such great people to care for our teeth!!!

    Veronica Boyle Avatar
    Veronica Boyle

    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

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    Ryder man 645 Lozier

    Excellent every time we’ve brought our kids. Thorough evaluations, knowledgeable doctors/staff, great with kids, and great results

    Stephanie Avatar
  • Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

    Alyssa Lozier Avatar
    Alyssa Lozier

    Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

    Courtney Amos Avatar
    Courtney Amos

    Fantastic staff who put the person (and their teeth!) at the center of the experience. Child-friendly waiting areas. I've had nothing but good experiences over my nearly 10 years with Gorman and Bunch. Cannot recommend highly enough!

    Pete Freeman Avatar
    Pete Freeman

    I just started my first week with the Invisalign. The staff has been extremely friendly and helpful through every step.

    Dr Carly’s initial evaluation of my case was extremely thorough and the options were explained in detail to help make an informed decision.

    They’ve certainly exceeded my expectation and from the looks of it, they do a great job with their younger patients as well!

    Patrick May Avatar
    Patrick May
  • Amazing experience they all made my daughter and I feel very comfortable, all the ladies were extremely nice. Very well informed. Wouldn't go anywhere else!

    Erica Wood Avatar
    Erica Wood

    Heather and Dr Carly were awesome! Friendly, informative, and professional. Office was very inviting. We had a great appointment and look forward to the next couple of years of working with them.

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    Andy Tebbe