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How Long Should You Wear a Retainer after Invisalign?

January 7, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — willowrundental @ 3:13 pm
Smiling woman holding orthodontic retainer

Invisalign can take several months to a year or longer to straighten your teeth. If you are approaching the end of your treatment, you can look forward to enjoying a beautiful, healthier smile! However, even after you finish using your aligners, you will still have a bit of work to do. You will need to use a retainer in order to maintain your results. Exactly how long should you wear a retainer after Invisalign? This blog post provides some important information.

Retainer Wear Is a Long-Term Commitment

Did you know that teeth have a sort of “memory”? Throughout your Invisalign treatment, your aligners have applied continuous pressure to your teeth in order to shift them into their ideal positions. Once that pressure is gone, however, your teeth are likely to stop drifting back toward their former places. A retainer’s job is to prevent that from happening.

Instructions for retainer wear can vary a bit from patient to patient. Generally speaking, though, you will need to wear your retainer full-time at first. You should try to keep it in your mouth for 20 – 22 hours each day. After a few months, your teeth may become more solidified in their positions, and your dentist may give you permission to wear your retainer only at night. Eventually, you might need to wear it for just a few nights each week.

If you ever find that your retainer feels unusually tight, or you notice visible changes to the positioning of your teeth, you are probably not wearing your retainer enough.

Caring for Your Retainers

Depending on the type of retainer you have, it might last anywhere from 3 years to 10 years or longer. (Hawley retainers tend to have a longer lifespan, but clear retainers, which look similar to Invisalign, are more popular due to their discreet appearance.)

You may be able to extend the lifespan of your retainer by taking some simple steps:

  • Unless your retainer is fixed in your mouth, do not eat while wearing it.
  • Rinse your aligner right before placing it in your mouth.
  • Thoroughly clean your retainer with mild soap and a soft brush every night.
  • Properly store your retainer when you are not using it.

Achieving and maintaining a straight and healthy smile requires a lifelong commitment! All the efforts you make along the way will be well worth it.

Meet the Practice

Willow Run Dental Association is proud to be an Invisalign provider for the Auburn community. We offer multiple types of retainers to help patients enjoy long-term results from their treatment. If you have questions about what to expect during or after orthodontic care, we would be pleased to speak with you. Contact our team at 207-352-2825.

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Willow Run Dental Association is a 42 North Dental Care, PLLC practice and is owned and operated by dentists Dr. Samuel Shames, DDM. and Dr. Ronald Weissman, DDM. Gentle Dental is supported by 42 North Dental, LLC, a dental support organization that provides non-clinical administrative and business support services to the practice. 42 North Dental, LLC does not own or operate the dental practice or employ dentists to provide dental services. Find more information about 42NorthDental, LLC and the dental practices it supports at