Lapeer residents ask, "How long do results from Invisalign treatment last?"

By now, you may have heard that Invisalign's straightening aligners must be worn at least 20 to 22 hours a day to achieve desired outcomes. You may also know that teeth may be straightened or bite problems corrected within about 1 year with this modern type of orthodontia. What you may not realize is what happens after treatment. Dr. Ingber and his team can walk through what to expect after the last set of aligners has been worn. They can also discuss how long those Invisalign results may last, and how to maintain the results achieved with this treatment courtesy of a visit to the Metropolitan Dental Center's Lapeer area office.

The issue of "relapse"

Some of MDC's Invisalign patients may have worn traditional braces as children. Now that they are adults, they may have noticed some shifting. Their formerly straight teeth are now crooked. This "relapse" happens because teeth can move back to their original position if the new location of the tooth is not properly retained.

The aptly named "retainer" is needed to prevent teeth from relapsing back to their original crooked state. The good news is Invisalign is an ideal solution for adult patients who may cringe at the thought of wearing the same types of metal braces worn as children. They don't need to wear conventional orthodontics.

With Invisalign, they can regain a straight-toothed smile, and they can do so without anyone knowing they are straightening because the aligners worn to move teeth incrementally into proper place are clear. Furthermore, the aligner trays are made from a smooth plastic. These trays don't irritate soft tissues the way that metal brackets and wires can. Another big benefit is that Invisalign's straightening device can be removed for eating and cleaning, as long as they are worn for the required daily time as prescribed by Dr. Ingber. The most common cause of Invisalign failures is not wearing the trays as recommended.

Preventing "relapse"

Regardless of if you straighten with conventional braces or newer methods such as Invisalign, all orthodontic appliances require teeth be retained with an orthodontic retainer. By wearing a retainer, teeth won't move following treatment. This appliance is designed to stabilize the teeth post-braces or post-Invisalign.

In fact, as a unique treatment Invisalign has its own type of retainer branded as Vivera®. These retainers are made from a proprietary material that is reportedly 30 percent stronger than most clear materials used to make retainers. This strength and durability is vital to retain your teeth's final position effectively. Just as with Invisalign you should forget the retainer is in your mouth, because it is made from the same type of technology used to design the aligners so the retainers will fit your mouth comfortably. A precise fit also means the appliance can best maintain tooth placement after treatment.

Metropolitan Dental Center has many orthodontists in-house. These specialists can determine if your case is best suited for retainers, and if the retainers should be worn on both the upper and lower teeth. Other alternatives such as porcelain veneers and cosmetically pleasing conventional braces may be suggested.

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