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All the below content has been written by Dr. Sandip Sachar.
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Invisalign Dentist NYC: Retainer
What is a retainer?
A retainer is an oral appliance that is worn over the teeth after orthodontic treatment is completed. It is used to maintain the teeth in their new position after we have moved them, and to prevent them from moving back out of alignment.
Will I need a retainer after my Invisalign treatment and why?
Every patient that undergoes Invisalign treatment should use a retainer after their treatment is completed.
Believe it or not, many patients that we treat with Invisalign have had braces in the past and neglected to wear their retainer as instructed, and have experienced relapse. Relapse occurs when the teeth move back out of alignment. When patients do not wear their retainer, there is a tendency for the teeth to move from their new position after the treatment is completed, back to a position out of alignment. We recommend that all of our patients get a retainer to protect their investment of time and money in order to keep their beautiful new smile, and maintain their straight teeth.
After completing Invisalign treatment, our patients are usually very happy and satisfied with their new smile. It seems that it would be a waste of time and money if their teeth would move back toward the original out of alignment position due to relapse. By simply using a retainer, you can prevent relapse.
Do I need a Vivera retainer made by Align, the parent company of Invisalign?
A Vivera retainer is a clear, removal retainer. For every patient that undergoes Invisalign, we recommend that they wear a retainer after their treatment is completed. For most patients we recommend the Vivera retainer. The Vivera retainer is made by Align, who is the parent company of Invisalign. The Vivera retainer is basically a copy of your final trays that were used to move your teeth. The Vivera retainer is made of the same durable material as Invisalign trays, and according to Invisalign, “It is twice as durable, and 30% stronger than any other clear retainer”.
The Vivera retainer is custom made from a mold of your teeth in order to fit exactly over your teeth that are in their new position. We order your retainer from Invisalign. This way, your retainer will fit perfectly and be comfortable. For most patients, the Vivera retainer will last between 1 and 3 years depending on many factors.
We recommend that our patients bring their retainers with them when they come in for their routine cleanings and checkups. At each subsequent visit, we will evaluate your retainer, looking for wear, chips, cracks or other reasons that may necessitate replacing it. When it is time to replace a retainer, we will order a new one from Invisalign. We may take a new mold when we replace your retainer.
What are the different types of retainers?
There are a few different types of retainer options to wear after Invisalign treatment. As stated above, for most patients we recommend the Vivera retainer that is made by Invisalign. Other options include the Hawley retainer, and the fixed or permanent retainer.
The Hawley retainer is a traditional retainer that has been used for many decades. It is made out of metal wire and acrylic. The Hawley retainer can last longer, with 5-10 years, or more of life expectancy, whereas the Vivera retainer is usually replaced every 1-3 years. The Vivera retainer is a tray that covers all the teeth, in all directions which better holds the teeth in place. The Hawley retainer uses a metal wire to hold the teeth in place, however, it is not completely surrounding the teeth, leaving some room for motion. The Vivera retainer is also less noticeable than the Hawley retainer. The Hawley retainer utilizes a piece of acrylic that goes along the palate. This can be more uncomfortable than the Vivera retainer, which does not cover the palate and only covers the teeth.
The Fixed retainer, also called the “permanent retainer”, utilizes a metal wire that is bonded on the inside of the teeth. It holds the teeth in place, protecting them from relapse. The fixed retainer is done once, and lasts a very long time. We recommend the fixed retainer with compliance is a concern. Patients do not need to remember to put the retainer in, as it is always in place. One disadvantage of the fixed retainer is inability to floss easily. For patients with a fixed retainer that cannot floss efficiently, or for patients who choose not to floss every day, we recommend that they come in 4 times per year for their professional dental cleanings, instead of twice per year.
What is the Vivera retainer made out of?
Just like your Invisalign aligners, the Vivera retainer is made out of a clear material containing medical grade, high molecular weight, polyurethane resin material that is BPA-free. It is completely safe has been FDA approved since 1998.
When should I wear my retainer?
After you complete your Invisalign treatment, we will give you detailed instructions on how to use your retainer. For some patients, we instruct them to wear the retainer only at night, starting right away. For patients that have had more complex cases, we may recommend wearing your retainer for 12-22 hours per day for the first 6 months. After the first 6 months, we then advise patients to start wearing their retainer at night only.
For many patients, after wearing the retainer for 4-5 years, we may then recommend only wearing the retainer 2-3 times per week.
How long will need to wear my retainer?
Every case, and every patient is different. We advise patients that they must wear the retainer for a long time after their treatment is complete. We will reevaluate you every 6 months at your routine checkups and cleanings.
How do I clean and care for my Vivera retainer?
Just like your Invisalign aligners, we recommend that you brush your Vivera retainer and rinse them with water.
How long should my retainer last?
Your Vivera retainer should last 1-3 years with normal use and cleaning. We advise patients to bring their retainer to our office every 6 months during their routine checkups and cleanings for us to evaluate it.
What do I do if I lose or break my retainer?
If you lose or break your retainer, we recommend calling our office and coming in for a consultation where we will take a new mold and order your new retainer.
What is the cost of a retainer?
At Sachar Dental NYC, we include your first retainer in the cost of your Invisalign treatment. The average cost of an Invisalign, Vivera retainer in NYC, is between $300 and $800 for the top teeth, or the bottom teeth, or double that for both. Our charge at Sachar Dental NYC is $350 each.
Does dental insurance cover the cost of my retainer?
Most PPO dental insurances will cover the cost of your retainer at 50%-60%. As always, at Sachar Dental NYC, we will check your insurance benefits and let you know what your out-of-pocket expenses will be prior to any treatment. At the time of your visit, we only will charge you for your out-of-pocket percentage for your retainer. We will then submit a claim to your dental insurance and receive the insurance payment directly from them.
Can I use flexible spending dollars or a medical savings account for these charges?
Yes, you may be able to use your medical savings accounts or flexible spending dollars to cover charges related to your Invisalign treatment. At the time of your service, we will provide you with all the necessary documentation and receipts.
Do you offer payment plans for Invisalign retainers?
At Sachar Dental NYC, we offer interest free financing through Lending Club and Care Credit. In 15 minutes, we will let you know if you are approved for interest-free financing. These options will enable you to make payments over the next 12-18 months without any interest charged.
Why are we the best invisalign dentists in NYC for your post-Invisalign retainer?
All the cosmetic dentists at Sachar Dental NYC are Invisalign Certified and are experts in straightening teeth. When it comes to retainers, we are equally as skilled at choosing and fabricating the right retainer for you. And, as always, our dentists and dental assistants are empathetic and compassionate and have excellent bedside manner.
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