Need to Wear Retainer 12 Hours a Day After Invisalign?

My orthodontist tells me I need to wear my retainer 12 hours a day forever. Is that correct? I just finished a 21-month Invisalign treatment for crowded teeth. I was under the impression that after wearing the retainer full-time for 3 months I would only need to wear it at night. That would be my preference over the 12 hours a day which is still an intrusion. Could you please clarify.

Doctor Answers 5

Please follow your providers recommendations...

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Its best to follow what they say. We are not the ones who did your treatment so we cannot tell you something that your dentist already said. Certainly wear it full time for a minimum of 3 months, longer if possible.

Los Angeles Dentist

Your Retainer is Your Best Friend

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In my opinion, retention is more critical with Invisalign than it is with traditional braces.  I believe braces' results are more stable than those of Invisaligns.

The key to a successful Invisalign result is retention.  You should wear your retainer faithfully as directed by your orthodontist. 

Tony Cucalon III DDS
San Francisco Orthodontist

Retainer wear after ANY ortho (including Invisalign) is needed

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Initially after moving teeth, the supporting bone is not very dense.  Over time, the bone firms up and retention is not as frequent (leading to nighttime wear, usually while sleeping).

It is up to each patient how much they want to do.  If they are told 12 hours and only want to commit to 8-9, they can do that.  They MIGHT find that the teeth move quite a bit with less than recommended wear, so results may vary.

I describe night time use like "magic pajamas".  If I was to say you could be skinny for the rest of your life if you wore certain PJ's, would it be worth it?

Retention and retainers are a personal choice, but not wearing retainers enough may compromise results.

Retainers After Invisalign: When To Wear and For How Long?

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Once you have completed your Invisalign treatment, it will be necessary for you to wear retainers at night while you sleep.  This keep the teeth from moving back to their original position.

Invisalign Retention Protocol Varies

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The amount of retainer wear after you have completed invisalign will depend on a few factors. It can depend on the initial position of your teeth, the doctor treating your case, the relapse potential of your teeth, as well as the type of retainer you are wearing. 

In cases that I treat with invisalign in my office who are in retainers, after a certain amount of full time wear, I advise them to wear their retainer at night for the rest of their lives, or as long as they want their teeth to remain straight!

Gabriela Hricko, DDS
New York Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.