Your dentist may recommend Invisalign® aligners and retainers to improve your smile. Although both products help you achieve straightened teeth, they play separate roles in the process. Use this guide to learn the differences between the two so that you know why each is essential.
Invisalign is a clear aligning tray that applies firm pressure to slowly and gently straighten teeth over a prescribed treatment period. The treatment course is determined by your smile’s condition, lasting anywhere between a few months to several years.
A dentist will take impressions to fit you for the trays, and they may apply small attachments to select teeth so that they can latch properly. Each set of trays is used for 22 hours a day for two weeks before moving onto the next set. During this period, you will visit a dentist regularly to ensure the teeth respond well to the aligners. After the treatment, a dentist will make impressions of the straightened teeth to prepare them for retainers.
Wearing retainers prevent your teeth from moving out of their new positions. While they look similar to Invisalign trays, they do not require buttons to latch to the teeth because they are not meant to shift or straighten your smile. Like the aligning trays, retainers slip directly over the teeth.
Unlike Invisalign, you do not need to replace the retainers, although the dentist may recommend keeping at least a few sets handy. Unless otherwise specified, you only need to wear them during the overnight hours to maintain the newly straightened teeth.
If you want to upgrade your smile, turn to Dentaworks Hawaii in Honolulu. Dr. Douglas P. Chang, DDS, has served the community for over 35 years, and he and his team provide their patients with effective cosmetic dentistry treatments, including Invisalign and retainer fittings. Get more information about their services online, or call (808) 528-1200 to schedule an appointment.