What Is Invisalign Retention Phase?

Committing to bettering your smile takes dedication; you and your orthodontist work together to collaborate on reaching your ultimate grin goals. Invisalign is the preferred option of many people seeking orthodontic treatment as the clear aligners and fast-tracked treatment provide flexibility and minimal interference. 

Even though the clear aligners may be a more convenient fit than traditional braces, the aftercare protocols are generally the same as getting metal braces. When your Invisalign treatment has come to an end, most orthodontists will prescribe post-treatment routines to keep retention rates on track. According to a 2010 survey, 58% of practitioners urge their patients to wear removable retainers. Your teeth will naturally want to shift back to their natural positions, so making sure you follow all recommended protocols will ensure you can stabilize your smile.

What Is the Retention Phase?

The Retention Phase refers to the vulnerable state of a person’s mouth after receiving orthodontic treatment. Once braces are removed or Invisalign treatment has ended, your teeth will lack the definitive pressure and stability provided by traditional metal braces or clear aligners. Fibers that attach to the roots of your teeth to the bone around the teeth have been stretched and torn throughout orthodontic treatment. As a result, the fibers are relatively unstable as they’re “new” to the free-standing smile game and they’ll need some extra support to adjust. This is where retainers come into play and serve as the MVPs of the retention game.

Hawley retainers are the most widely-known option, as this model has been around the industry the longest. These retainers are removable and made of plastic and metal to fit your mouth’s exact structure. Hawley retainers have wires that lay on top of your front teeth while loops near your canines can be adjusted once your teeth begin to stabilize after having your braces removed. You’ll have to wear your retainer regularly at first, but the length of daily wear will decrease over time.

Clear Retainers for the Retention Phase

What Invisalign aligners are to traditional metal braces, Vivera retainers are to Hawley retainers. A newer, more convenient model, Vivera clear retainers offer the same “invisible” appearance as Invisalign and are a comfortable, removable option to consider for post-orthodontic care. Vivera retainers are from the makers of Invisalign, so they’re proven to be a great fit for many patients looking to streamline their treatment.

Most patients are comfortable shifting to Vivera for a post-treatment option as they are already accustomed to the cleaning, care, and appearance of Invisalign. The makers of these clear retainers also note they are “30% stronger and twice as durable” as other options on the market.

As far as the retention phase is concerned, this is not lessened or lengthened by using all plastic versus plastic and metal retainers. The brand notes “retention protocols are prescribed by the doctor and can be different for your unique conditions and treatment plan.” Having a conversation with your practitioner will solidify your unique protocols and help you better understand the steps needed to give your smile a smooth transition in the final phases of treatment. 

At Milnor Orthodontics, we are thorough with continued care. When a smile joins our gallery, we strive to make sure that it stays in its “after” condition and does not shift back to its previously crooked state. There is much responsibility that comes with the retention phase; it is key in building up stability and maintaining your results. 

Make sure you’re clear on what it will take to keep your smile in pristine condition by having a post-treatment conversation with us today.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.