Post-Treatment Care: The Importance of Invisalign Retainers

 Asad A | April 9, 2024

After completing your Invisalign treatment, the journey to a perfect smile doesn't quite end there. We often talk about the incredible impact of the aligners themselves, but let's not forget about the vital role played by Invisalign retainers in maintaining that beautiful smile. 

In this blog, we'll explore why these retainers are crucial and why they're essential to your orthodontic experience.

What Are Invisalign Retainers, and Why Are They Important?

Invisalign retainers are custom-made oral appliances crucial for maintaining teeth alignment after completing Invisalign treatment. They don't allow teeth to shift back to their original positions, ensuring that the alignment achieved during treatment is preserved. These retainers are essential for the long-term success of your orthodontic journey, helping to maintain your beautiful smile.

What are the Types of Invisalign Retainers?

Retainers come in different varieties, each with its own advantages and drawbacks, and the type recommended by your dentist depends on your individual needs.

Fixed Retainers:

Also called bonded retainers, these are attached to the back of teeth using dental cement. Made of a thin, flexible wire custom-fit to your teeth, they stay in place for several years with minimal upkeep. Fixed retainers are suitable for patients undergoing extensive orthodontic treatment and at risk of tooth shifting back.

Removable Retainers:

These can be taken out and put back in as needed, offering versatility. There are several types:

Hawley Retainer:

This is the most common removable retainer. It consists of a thin acrylic base resting on the roof of the mouth with a wire wrapping around the teeth. Custom-made and adjustable, it's tailored to each patient's requirements.

Essix Retainer:

Also known as invisible retainers, Essix retainers resemble clear aligners like Invisalign. They're made of a clear, thin plastic material, fitting closely over the teeth. Nearly invisible, they're preferred by patients seeking inconspicuous retainers.

Vivera Retainer:

Manufactured by Invisalign, Vivera retainers are similar to clear aligners and Essix retainers but made of a tougher material. They're designed to resist staining and last longer.

What is the Role of Invisalign Retainers?

Once your Invisalign treatment is complete and your teeth have been successfully aligned, the role of Invisalign retainers becomes paramount. While the aligners have straightened your teeth, they haven't permanently set them in their new positions. Without proper retention, your teeth may gradually shift back to their original alignment over time. This is where Invisalign retainers step in.

Invisalign retainers help preserve the progress made during your treatment by keeping your teeth in their new positions. They act as a safeguard, preventing unwanted movement and ensuring your smile remains beautifully aligned for years to come. Without the use of retainers, there's a higher likelihood of orthodontic relapse, meaning you may find yourself back at square one, needing further treatment to correct any shifts in tooth alignment.

Why Wearing Your Invisalign Retainers Is Important?

Retainers are important for maintaining the alignment of your teeth after Invisalign treatment. Here's why it's crucial to wear them, along with instructions for their use post-treatment.

Initial Retention Phase

Right after completing Invisalign treatment, the initial retention phase is key. Wearing your retainers during this time prevents the teeth from moving back to their original place. It's recommended to wear your retainers for 22 hours a day and remove them only for meals, brushing, and flossing. It typically lasts three to six months, depending on your dentist's advice and your specific case.

Maintenance Phase

Following the initial phase, you'll enter the maintenance phase. Here, you'll wear your orthodontic retainers solely at night. Aim for a minimum of 8 hours of wear while sleeping or as advised by your dentist. This phase is crucial because teeth naturally move over time. Wearing your retainers at night helps counteract this shifting, ensuring your teeth stay aligned, as achieved through Invisalign treatment.

By following these guidelines and consistently wearing your Invisalign retainers, you can maintain the results of your treatment and keep your smile in its new, improved alignment.

How Do You Clean and Care for Your Invisalign Retainers?

Retainers are essential orthodontic devices used to maintain teeth alignment after braces or other orthodontic treatments. Proper cleaning and care are necessary to ensure they remain effective and hygienic. Here are some tips for caring for your retainers:

  • Regular Brushing: Gently brush your retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mild soap or dishwashing liquid whenever you brush your teeth. Avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and may damage the retainer.
  • Rinsing: After brushing, rinse your retainer with lukewarm water to remove any soap residue or food particles.
  • Soaking: Once a week, soak your retainer in a cleaning solution to kill bacteria and remove stubborn stains or plaque buildup. There are various cleaning solutions available, including retainer cleaning tablets, denture cleaners, and white vinegar solutions. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper usage.
  • Proper Storage: When not in use, store your retainer in its case to protect it from damage and keep it clean. Avoid exposing your retainer to high temperatures or direct sunlight, as heat can cause warping or discoloration.
  • Remove Before Eating or Drinking: Always take out your retainers before eating or drinking anything other than water. Eating or drinking with your retainers in place can trap bacteria or debris, leading to bad breath or other oral health issues.


Invisalign retainers are not just an afterthought in orthodontic treatment; they're the guardians of your new smile. By diligently wearing your retainers as prescribed, you can ensure that the results of your Invisalign journey last a lifetime. Don't underestimate the importance of retainers in maintaining your beautifully aligned teeth!

Ready to prioritize your dental health? If you're in Toronto, visit Invisalign Toronto at Front Street West for expert care. Book your appointment online today! New patients can call (647) 931-2983, while all other callers can reach us at (416) 551-4401.


How long do I need to wear my Invisalign retainers?

You will wear your retainers full-time initially, then transition to wearing them only at night. The duration varies based on your dentist's recommendation and your specific case.

Can I eat or drink with my Invisalign retainers in place?

It's best to remove your retainers before eating or drinking anything other than water. This prevents food particles and bacteria from getting trapped, ensuring the retainers remain clean and effective.

How do I clean my Invisalign retainers?

Clean your retainers regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap or dishwashing liquid. Additionally, soak them in a cleaning solution once a week to kill bacteria and remove stains.


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