Orthodontic retainers are essential after orthodontic treatment to hold the teeth in place. Teeth are mobile structures, and because they can be moved, they continue to move throught your lifetime. Retainers are worn in order to keep them in a desired position. If retainers are not worn, teeth will move and shift back to wherever forces dictate.
HOW LONG DO I NEED TO WEAR MY RETAINERS?
This is the question that everyone asks, and the answer is, AS LONG AS YOU WANT YOUR TEETH TO BE STRAIGHT. Unfortunately it's probably not what you want to hear, but teeth are very active, and are not embedded in bone, but have ligaments, which make them mobile.
They may not get crooked in one day, but they can move in less than one day and once that retainer doesn't fit, it's too late.
After getting your teeth straightened, it is normally recommended to wear your retainers all day and all night for about 3-6 months, depending on what your dentist recommends. After that most people are ok just wearing them at night.
If it has been years since you've been out of ortho, it is probably ok to wear your retainers a couple of nights each week, but the dangerous part of not wearing them every night is that it's easy for 1-2x/week to turn into 1-2x/mo, and then they get lost and your teeth shift; so wearing them every night is a good habit to stick to.
After ORTHODONTIC treatment, it is VERY IMPORTANT to have a ORTHODONTIC RETAINERS made. There are 2 basic types, REMOVABLE, and BONDED.
Many orthodontists bond a wire to the backs of either the upper and or lower front teeth, in order to hold them in place. This can be left on indefinitely. These are often done because the main drawback to removable retainers is noncompliance.
If you do not wear your retainer, it does not do any good, and your teeth will move back to how they were!! It may seem like a hassle, and while you need to wear your retainer every night initially, after about a year or so, you only really need to wear it 1-2 times each month.
This is a clear, plastic retainer that is almost unnoticible when wearing.
This retainer is made of acrylic and wires. Both retainers will work fine, as long as you wear them!
The main drawback?
YOU NEED TO WEAR YOUR RETAINER FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!
REMOVABLE RETAINERS can be either CLEAR PLASTIC, or WIRE and ACYLIC. EITHER ONE SHOULD WORK FINE.
Vivera retainers are clear plastic retainers made by Align, who is the same company that makes Invisalign. They are similar to standard clear, essix retainers, except that they are a different material that is a bit stronger. That said, they are only intended to last about 1 year with nightly usage, so if you are wearing them 24 hours per day, they will only last about 6 months.
You normally get 4 sets after your Invisalign is completed, but they likely will need to be replaced after about 2-3 years.