I Completed My Treatment with Invisalign. Now What?
close up of woman's mouth wearing a retainer, Sacramento, CA

How to maintain straight teeth after Invisalign

Dr. Michael H. Payne and the team at American River Orthodontics advise their patients in Sacramento, CA to wear a retainer conscientiously (often every night while sleeping) after their orthodontic treatment with Invisalign is complete. Wearing a retainer is an important step in orthodontic treatment to keep teeth straighter longer. Teeth tend to drift back into their incorrect original positions even after years of wearing Invisalign. A retainer helps patients maintain their healthy, attractive, hard-earned smiles and keep their treatment goals intact for as long as possible.


Teeth aren’t rigidly set into the jawbone. They’re held in place by a collection of fibers called periodontal ligaments. It will take some time after orthodontic treatment with Invisalign for the ligaments to adjust to the teeth’s new position. Wearing a retainer will help keep the teeth in place as the ligaments adjust. Wearing a retainer at night (while sleeping) is most effective because that’s when the ligaments want to move; while you’re asleep.

Patients are often fitted for a retainer after Invisalign treatment has been completed. Bite impressions and X-rays may be taken to determine the success of the treatment. This information is used to create a retainer that is created specially to fit the teeth.


Retainers are available in several different forms. A removable retainer is made from colored acrylic that is molded to fit your mouth. A metal wire wraps around the teeth to help keep their new position and can be adjusted to correct minor tooth movements. A clear plastic retainer, similar in appearance to Invisalign trays, are also available. They’re made of thin, clear plastic which is custom molded to fit your teeth and appear virtually invisible. They are less durable than traditional retainers, and can warp if immersed in hot water. Fixed retainers are an option for those who have a high risk of tooth movement or reversion. A wire is bonded to the back surface of the teeth, making it virtually invisible, and is used for periods of months or longer.


Retainer maintenance is crucial to its function. Keep the retainer in its case when not in use so it can’t be lost. Clean it with regularly with toothpaste and a brush. (Whitening toothpastes may scratch the plastic aligner). Denture cleaner comes in tablet or powder form and are effective at cleaning plastic or removable retainers. A fixed retainer requires conscientious brushing and flossing behind the teeth. Floss picks are especially handy here.

Successful orthodontic treatment results require more than a course of treatment with Invisalign. It’s always important to wear your retainer after your treatment with Invisalign clear aligners. Long term results are dependent on the patient wearing a retainer consistently to keep the teeth from reverting back to their original misaligned position.

Dr. Michael H. Payne and American River Orthodontics help their patients in Sacramento, CA get and keep a straight smile and a healthy mouth. They know that the longevity of orthodontic treatment results depends on a conscientiously worn retainer to keep the teeth’s new position steady and secure. For more information, or to schedule an initial consultation, contact American River Orthodontics today at: (916) 486 – 4233

Dr. Michael H. Payne and the team at American River Orthodontics are experts in Invisalign. If you have any questions pertaining to braces, clear braces, Invisalign, or Invisalign Teen in Sacramento, CA, Roseville, CA, Arden-Arcade, CA, Rancho Cordova, CA, Rosemont, CA, Sacramento County, CA, or the 95864 zip code area, or would like to schedule a complementary consultation with Dr. Michael H. Payne contact American River Orthodontics at: 916-486-4233


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