Keeping your teeth straight and your smile beautiful does not end when the orthodontist tells you that you no longer need to wear your Invisalign braces. It is important that you understand that from here on out that it is up to you to keep things looking great. You will no longer need to see the orthodontist unless there is a problem. Regular dental checkups with your dentist and hygienist should be enough. If you want to avoid having your teeth shift back, here are some things you need to do.
Wear the Retainer
Once your teeth are straight, you will need to wear a retainer at night. This will be similar to the one you are used to wearing throughout the treatment but not exactly the same. Unfortunately, if you do not wear the retainer every night, there is a good chance that your teeth will start to shift back to the way they were before. The night retainer does not put the tension on your teeth to move them but is set to keep them in their new position. It should not fall out of your mouth while you are sleeping. If you ever notice that the night retainer is very loose, make an appointment to see your dentist. He or she will evaluate whether or not you need to have the retainer adjusted.
Clean the Retainer
While you could clean your straightening retainers with a toothbrush and paste, this is not recommended for the night-only retainers. Since you will be wearing the same set for a much longer time (they do get replaced as they wear down), you do not want to use abrasive toothpaste on them. In addition, they are not in your mouth all the time and can get dust and dirt particles on them. To clean them you can use regular body soap and a soft brush, or you can use cleaning tablets designed for dental retainers. This will not only keep them from becoming scratched and uncomfortable but also keep any bacteria from growing and invading your mouth at night.
It might seem a bit unrealistic to have to wear retainers every night for the rest of your life, but this is the best way to keep your teeth properly aligned. You could forego the nighttime retainers, but then your teeth will shift back. This often causes trouble with keeping your teeth clean because they are crowded together. Then you will end up with more cavities and weaker teeth, and eventually your teeth will start to fall out, and you'll need to wear dentures instead. Nighttime retainers are much easier in the long run.