For generations, adults and children have worn orthodontic braces to align their teeth and improve their dental and overall health. Recently, a new alternative to metal wires and brackets (and many of the complications that come with them) was launched. Invisalign® braces, consisting of clear plastic devices molded to your teeth, brought a technologically improved approach to orthodontics.
However, one thing that did not change was the need for retainers after the braces. Even the Invisalign system requires retainers. Vivera®, Invisalign’s branded retainer, differs from traditional appliances and is designed specifically to complement Invisalign braces.
Let’s get a close-up view of the Vivera retainer.
Invisalign braces quickly became popular after gaining FDA approval in 1998. They are clear, there is no metal hardware, the removable trays (aligners) make it easy to eat and to clean your teeth, and they are custom fitted and comfortable. Because they are removable, Invisalign is best for adults and teens.
Invisalign’s superior technology addresses the same conditions as traditional braces—over-, under-, and crossbites, gaps and overcrowding—in less time. They can deliver results in as little as 18 months, and in some cases, as little as six months.
Wearing a Retainer after Invisalign
Despite its advanced technology, there is one thing Invisalign cannot change: once the aligners are removed, your teeth will attempt to drift back to their original places if they do not receive the additional support of a retainer. Your body needs time to generate the new bone and tissue required to hold your teeth in their new positions. You may need to wear a retainer for life.
Several retainer types can be used after Invisalign aligners:
- Hawley: a traditional retainer made of plastic and metal wires
- Fixed (permanent) and Memotain®: wire attached to the back of the teeth
- Essix: a clear, plastic, durable appliance similar to the aligners
- Vivera: Invisalign’s brand for the Essix type of retainer
Choosing a Vivera® Retainer
Vivera is Invisalign’s branded retainer. Made of the same clear plastic, Vivera looks and feels much like the Invisalign aligners. It is 30 percent stronger than traditional retainers and twice as durable. Therefore, it is less subject to damage and discoloration, and it is more comfortable.
Each retainer is custom-made. Your teeth are scanned, and the retainers are produced on a 3D printer. The custom-fit means greater comfort for you. You will receive four sets of retainers—one upper and one lower retainer per set. If you happen to lose or damage one, you will have others to replace it.
Now you’ll need to know how long to wear your Vivera retainer. For the first several months, you will need to wear the retainers for 22 hours per day. The additional two hours are to remove them for eating and for cleaning your teeth. Later you can wear them only at night. That custom-fit comfort certainly comes in handy when you have to wear them while you sleep.
The Vivera retainers pick up where the aligners left off and maintain all that hard work by keeping your teeth from slipping out of alignment on their way back to their original spots. And they’ll do it comfortably and invisibly.
How Much Do Vivera Retainers Cost?
Sources report a wide range of prices for the Vivera retainer. Price quotes can go anywhere from $500 to $1,200. Several factors determine the final cost, such as the provider, where you live, and your specific treatment. Ask your orthodontist for specific pricing.
Like the aligners, Vivera retainers cost more than traditional retainers. However, the cost includes four sets of retainers, eight appliances in total. You will pay less per appliance than you would for single traditional retainers. Also, Vivera retainers are more durable and less prone to damage, so you will be less likely to spend additional money on replacements. In the long run, Vivera retainers are a very affordable option.
If you have insurance for orthodontics, check your plan. You may be covered for Vivera retainers minus a small out-of-pocket amount. You can also use your Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account to pay using pre-tax dollars if you have them.
How Long Do Vivera Retainers Last?
With good care, Vivera retainers can last for several years. These retainers are thicker than the aligners, which are designed for durability. However, even the best retainers eventually wear down. If you do need new retainers, replacement is easy. Information from your original digital scans is on file in your orthodontist’s office. They can simply have a new set 3D-printed for you.
To keep your retainers safe and in great shape, invest in a few cases to store and carry them when they’re not in your mouth.
Vivera Retainer Cleaning
Initially, you will be wearing your Vivera retainer for 22 hours per day. The remaining two hours will be set aside for eating, brushing and flossing your teeth, as well as cleaning the retainers.
It is essential to clean them as soon as you take them out of your mouth so that bacteria and food particles don’t have time to harden. Use a toothbrush to clean the retainers with a bit of dish soap and some warm water. You can also soak them in mouthwash.
Crystals, tablets, foams, and sprays are available specifically for more thorough cleaning. Ask your orthodontist for recommendations.
Are you ready to learn more about Vivera retainers from an orthodontist? Do not hesitate to schedule a complimentary consultation at Loudoun Orthodontics! In the meantime, make sure to check out our blog for more information on orthodontic treatments.
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For over 20 years, Invisalign has brought exciting new technology to the world of orthodontics. You can have your teeth corrected in less time, with greater comfort, without unsightly wires, and with fewer complications. The Vivera retainers, Invisalign’s follow-up to the aligners, continue those benefits while holding in place the work done by the aligners.
Vivera retainers cost more than traditional retainers, but you get more appliances in a set and a more durable product. So you certainly get your money’s worth!
When worn and cared for properly, your Vivera retainers will last for years and keep your smile bright.