WHILE TRADITIONAL WIRE braces are still the most efficient at straightening teeth, fixing crowding, and correcting an underbite or overbite, invisible aligners have become an attractive alternative in recent years. Being able to get all the benefits of braces with such a low-profile appliance that can be removed for brushing, flossing, and eating can make the orthodontic process far more palatable.
But what’s next after you’ve progressed through every aligner tray and your teeth are perfectly aligned? What will it take to maintain the smile you’ve always wanted?
Wear Retainers As Recommended
In some cases, the final invisible aligner tray can be used initially as a full-time retainer and eventually as a nighttime one after the patient’s teeth are correctly aligned. In others, a separate retainer will be recommended, and those tend to be sturdier. No matter what type of retainer you end up with, be sure to follow the care instructions in order to keep it clean and effective as long as possible.
The reason it’s important to use retainers after the teeth are straight is that it can take around a year for the periodontal ligaments–the tiny connective tissue fibers that hold our teeth in place in our jaws–to get used to the new position. Without retainers, your teeth will be in danger of shifting back to the position those ligaments were used to.
Stay On Top Of Your Oral Hygiene
The most important component of post-aligner dental health is how well you take care of your teeth. That means maintaining good habits, such as:
- brushing for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- flossing daily with traditional floss, interdental brushes, or a water flosser
- avoiding sugary snacks and sodas that supercharge bad oral bacteria
Schedule Regular Dental Visits
No matter how straight your teeth are and how diligently you’re keeping them clean, they still need professional dental care twice a year. Dentists have the equipment and skill needed to clean your teeth thoroughly, take care of anything more extensive when needed, and help you make sure you’re on track with your own oral hygiene habits.
We Can Answer Your Questions!
If you have any questions about how to take care of your teeth post-invisible aligners, we’re happy to answer them. Any questions that pertain to the alignment of your teeth you should definitely bring to us. However, if your questions are more about keeping those teeth clean, your regular dentist can certainly answer them too.
Congratulations on all your hard work to get straight teeth!
Top image by Flickr user Carrie A. used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.