After active orthodontic treatment(braces or Invisalign) the teeth have the tendency to move back into their initial position if they are not retained(kept in place). Actually this is the main problem in orthodontic therapy: retention. After one year or 18 month of treatment, it is very easy for the teeth to move back once the braces or Invisalign are removed off the teeth. It is relatively easy to align them, but it takes some commitment from the patient to keep them straight. When the patients are asking: “Doctor, for how long do I need to keep wearing the retainers?”, the typical answer is ” For as long as you want straight teeth.”
Now, that does not mean that the patients need to wear them continuously 24 hours a day for the rest of their life. There is a pretty easy protocol to follow in order to keep the teeth straight.
After the braces or Invisalign are removed, the patient need to be given immediately a pair of retainers the same day. The patient cannot go overnight without a retainer. Usually, the immediate retainers are made in the office from a thinner material. They just need to last until the final retainers(more durable, thicker) come from the lab. In most offices, the first pair of retainers is included in the treatment fee. If they are lost, broken or worn, most offices charge around $250-$350 to make a new pair of long term retainers.
I see a lot of patients who had orthodontic treatment, but they did not wear the retainers. It is a sin to let that happen, because the teeth will slowly go back and all the expense and the agravating time in braces was wasted. Other patients broke, lost or destroyed their retainers and they did not go back to their dentist to get new retainers because “the retainers are expensive”. It is worth spending around $300 for a new pair of retainers instead of needing to redo an orthodontic treatment for approx $4000-$5000.
If you have crowded or misaligned teeth or you need a new pair of retainers or you have any other question, please call my office in Washington Township, NJ at 856-582-2220(Sewell Dental Arts). I will be happy to answer any of your questions, meet you and help you.