Can Invisalign Substitute for My Retainer?

I just finished my Invisalign treatment. I really loved it. I thought I would be embarrassed, but my friends thought it was cool, especially because they couldn’t see it until I took it out to eat. It was kind of fun having everybody like it so much. Now I’m supposed to wear a metal retainer and I’m not too keen. Is it possible for me to just wear my last pair of aligners as a substitute for a retainer? If so, will you tell my mom so she’ll cancel the appointment?

Arabella M.

Dear Arabella,

I’m glad you enjoyed your Invisalign treatment so well. It has a very high patient satisfaction rate. People love the fact that they’re invisible as well as how comfortable they are. ¬†They’re marvelous at doing the job they were intended to do, but being a retainer won’t work.

Each pair of aligners is designed to last about two weeks. They will start wearing down. Even if they didn’t, you would eventually want to change them just for hygiene’s sake. Though you can’t use the aligners the way you’d hoped, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a mouth full of metal. There are many retainer¬†options these days.

  • Retainers with clear plastic. There are some which just go around your teeth and others which cover the top of your mouth as well. Some of these can even be customized with colors or your favorite sports team logo. Though, you’re going for invisibility so that may not be a positive factor for you.
  • Lingual retainers. These are made of metal, but they are attached to the backs of your teeth where no one can see them. Your friends might also think that is cool.

I wouldn’t cancel your appointment. Instead, I’d talk to your orthodontist about what you just told me. He or she will be able to find something you’ll be happy with.

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