West Perth Dental Centre

Demystifying Retainers After Invisalign Treatment: Types, Benefits, and Care Tips

Retainers are orthodontic appliances used to maintain the alignment of your teeth after braces. They play a crucial role in preserving the beautiful smile you’ve worked hard to achieve during your orthodontic treatment.

This blog post is an essential read for anyone considering Invisalign aligners or those already using them and wondering what happens after Invisalign treatment. In this guide, we will provide information on retainers, including their types, benefits, and care tips.

Our aim is to provide you with a wealth of knowledge on retainer care and benefits, helping you make informed decisions about your oral health. So, keep reading and let’s get started on this smile journey together!

Summary of the Content

  • Retainers are custom-made orthodontic appliances that play a crucial role in preserving the results of orthodontic treatment.

  • There are various types of retainers, including Hawley, lingual, Essix, and Vivera, each designed to cater to different dental needs.

  • Consistent use of orthodontic retainers is essential for long-term dental stability, preventing teeth from shifting back to their original positions.

  • Retainers offer numerous advantages such as comfort, custom fit, removability, durability, and ease of cleaning.

  • Proper care of retainers involves daily cleaning, use of a retainer case, avoidance of harsh chemicals, and regular check-ups.

  • The cost of retainers includes the initial consultation, fitting, and replacement costs. There are financing options and health fund coverage available to make the treatment more affordable.

  • Wearing retainers is key to maintaining a confident and healthy smile, and any concerns should be addressed with a dentist.

Understanding Retainers: An Introduction

Invisalign treatment does not end with wearing your last set of aligners. After your aligner treatment, it is important to keep your teeth in their new position. To do that, patients are instructed to wear retainers.

Retainers are orthodontic appliances worn by patients to keep their teeth in place after orthodontic treatment. They are individually made for each patient, using the moulds of their teeth for a precise fit.

The process of getting retainers involves several stages:

  • Consultation:
    After your orthodontic treatment, your dentist will examine your teeth and discuss your retainer options. They will answer all your questions and determine which type of retainer will suit you.

  • Impression Taking:
    Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth using an impression tray or a digital scanner. The moulds created from the impression will be used to create your custom retainers.

  • Fitting:
    Once your retainers are ready, you’ll return for the fitting. Your dentist will check the fit of the retainers and make any necessary adjustments. They will also give you instructions on how to wear clean and store them.

  • Adjustment Stages:
    Regular check-ups are part of the process. Your dentist will ask you to visit at least twice a year so they can check if your retainers are properly worn and maintained and if your teeth are not relapsing or moving back to their original positions.

Exploring the Types of Retainers

Before we delve into the types or forms of retainers, it’s important to note that each type serves a unique purpose and is suited to different dental needs. Here’s a closer look at the various types:

  • Hawley Retainers:
    These are removable retainers made from a combination of metal wire and acrylic. They are durable and can be adjusted as needed.

  • Lingual Retainers:
    These are fixed retainers attached to the inner surface of the teeth. They are invisible from the outside and are a good option for those who might forget to wear removable retainers.

  • Essix Retainers:
    These are clear, removable retainers that cover all the teeth. They offer a snug fit and are comfortable for most patients.

  • Vivera Retainers:
    These are clear, removable retainers made by Align Technology, the same company that manufactures Invisalign aligner trays. They are made from a proprietary thermoplastic material that is claimed to be 30% stronger than other clear retainer materials. Due to the stronger material, Vivera retainers are often considered to be more durable and long-lasting.

Choosing the right type of retainer is crucial to your orthodontic treatment. It’s always a good idea to discuss your lifestyle and preferences with your dentist to find the most suitable option for you.

The Role of Retainers in Maintaining Your Results

Retainers play a pivotal role in your orthodontic treatment journey. After the active phase of moving your teeth into their ideal positions, the jaw bone and tissues around your teeth need time to stabilise. This is where retainers come in.

Removable retainers are usually worn 22 hours per day. However, after the initial phase of full-time wear, you’ll eventually be instructed to wear your retainers only at night. This helps keep your teeth in position while causing minimal disruption to your daily life.

Retainers help with:

  • Maintaining Alignment:
    Retainers hold your teeth in their new positions, preventing them from shifting back to their original positions. This is crucial in the months following the removal of your traditional braces or aligners.

  • Long-Term Stability:
    Over time, your bone tissue remodels around the new position of your teeth, providing long-term stability. Consistent use of your retainers supports this process.

Remember, the journey to a straighter smile doesn’t end when your braces come off. Wearing your retainers as directed is key to maintaining your beautiful smile.

The Advantages of Choosing Vivera Retainers

Vivera retainers offer several advantages, making them a popular choice for many patients. Here are six reasons why you might consider them for your orthodontic treatment:

  1. Comfort:
    Vivera retainers are made from a proprietary thermoplastic material that is smooth and flexible, making them more comfortable than traditional retainers with metal wires.

  2. Invisibility:
    Like Invisalign trays, Vivera retainers are nearly invisible, allowing you to maintain your confident smile without the noticeable appearance of traditional retainers.

  3. Custom Fit:
    Using digital scans of your teeth, Vivera retainers are custom-made to fit your mouth precisely. This helps them effectively hold your teeth in position.

  4. Removable:
    Unlike fixed retainers, you can remove Vivera retainers for eating, brushing, and flossing, promoting better oral health.

  5. Durability:
    Vivera retainers are made from a strong, durable material that can withstand daily wear and tear.

  6. Ease of Cleaning:
    With the use of retainer cleaning products, Vivera retainers are easy to clean, helping to keep your smile healthy.

Choosing the right type of retainer is a personal decision, and these benefits make Vivera retainers a compelling option for many patients.

A Comprehensive Guide to Invisalign Retainer Care

Proper retainer care is essential to maintain their quality and effectiveness. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you keep your retainers in top shape:

  • Remove Before Eating and Drinking:
    Always remove your retainers before eating or drinking anything other than water. This prevents staining and damage from hot temperatures.

  • Clean Daily:
    Clean your retainers daily using a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid using hot water, as it can warp the retainer material. You can also use a retainer cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals for this purpose.

  • Use a Retainer Case:
    When not in use, keep your retainers in a case to protect them from damage and prevent loss.

  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals:
    Don’t use bleach or other harsh chemicals to clean your retainers. These can damage the material and lead to discolouration.

  • Regular Check-ups:
    Bring your retainers to your dental appointments for professional cleaning and to check for any damage.

With proper care, your retainers will continue to support your smile transformation long after the Invisalign treatment.

The Investment: Understanding the Cost of Retainers

Investing in your smile is about more than just aesthetics. It’s a commitment to your oral health and self-confidence. Retainers are a key part of this investment.

  • Initial Consultation:
    This is the first step in your Invisalign journey, where your dentist assesses your teeth and discusses your treatment plan. The cost of this consultation can vary.

  • Fitting:
    The cost of fitting your retainers is usually included in the overall treatment cost. This includes the fabrication of your custom retainers using impression trays or digital 3D scans of your teeth.
  • Replacement Costs:
    Over time, you may need to replace your retainers due to wear and tear or if they’re lost. The cost per retainer depends on the type of retainer chosen.

Several factors can influence the cost of retainers:

  • Type of Retainer and Material Quality:
    There are different types of retainers available, and each comes with its own price range. Also, the quality of the materials used can affect the cost. High-quality materials tend to be more durable and comfortable but may come at a higher price.

  • Customisation:
    Some patients might need special adjustments or custom designs for their orthodontic retainers, which can increase the cost.

  • Geographic Location:
    The cost of living in a particular area can influence the price of orthodontic services. For instance, retainers might be more expensive in urban areas compared to rural areas.
    Dentist’s Experience:
    Dentists with extensive experience and expertise may charge more for their services.

Despite the cost, the long-term value of retainers is significant. They provide a comfortable way to maintain your straight smile and protect your orthodontic investment.

  • Many dental clinics offer various financing options to make Invisalign treatment more affordable:
  • Health funds such as HICAPS, HBF, and NIB often provide coverage for orthodontic treatment.
  • Government Dental Schemes are also available for DVA card holders and CDBS.
  • Other payment options include Afterpay, Humm, Zip, and Supercare.

It’s worth checking with your provider to understand these options better. This can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses, making your journey to a beautiful and straight smile more accessible.

Final Thoughts

We’ve taken a comprehensive look at the world of retainers in this blog post. From understanding what they are and the different types available to the role they play in maintaining your orthodontic results and their benefits. We’ve also provided a detailed guide on retainer care and broken down the costs involved.

Wearing a retainer after treatment is crucial to maintaining the treatment results. They help keep your teeth in their new positions so you can continue to enjoy your confident and healthy smile. Taking your Invisalign aftercare seriously by wearing your retainers as directed is key to this.

Don’t hesitate to consult your dentist if you have any concerns or questions about retainers. At West Perth Dental Centre, we’re always here to help guide you on your smile journey. To book a consultation appointment, give us a call or visit our website. Let’s work together to keep your smile looking beautifully healthy!

Dr. Michael Wu


Dr. Michael Wu

Dr. Michael Wu holds a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Western Australia. He never stops learning and regularly attends post-graduate education seminars, courses, and conferences to ensure he is providing his patients with excellent dental care.

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