Invisalign is the brand name of a popular type of clear aligner used for orthodontic treatment. 

Although clinical research is limited, there are studies that show Invisalign is an effective orthodontic  treatment

In this article, we’ll be answering whether the results of Invisalign are permanent. The short answer is that Invisalign results are long-lasting but may not be permanent. The biggest determining factor in effectiveness is patient commitment and compliance with post-treatment instructions.

What Is Invisalign Treatment?

Clear Invisalign tray over teeth

Invisalign is a type of clear dental aligner. They can handle many of the mild to moderate issues that braces have traditionally been used to treat, such as crooked teeth, tooth gaps, and bite problems. These clear aligners are removable, but should be worn as much as possible – at least 22 hours a day, only removing them for cleaning, eating, and for drinking anything other than water. Like braces, treatment time will vary by case, often from a few months to as much as one or two years.

Just as with braces, a retainer is often used after treatment ends to maintain the desired results. These help the jawbone to keep the teeth in their new straightened positions. Retainers may be used full-time in the beginning, and then just at night after some time has passed, varying from case to case.

Invisalign Is Designed to Be a Permanent Solution

Generally speaking, dental aligners are meant to be a permanent solution. As with any other dental procedure or treatment, patient’s aftercare compliance and home dental maintenance help determine how effective results will be.

Carefully following your dentist’s instructions for retainer usage will help ensure these results, especially for adult patients as their jawbone is no longer growing, allowing the teeth’s new positions to stay permanent with proper care and upkeep.

When Invisalign Results May Not Be Permanent

All that being said, there are situations where the results of Invisalign treatment might not remain permanent.

Complex or Severe Misalignment

Dental aligners work very well for patients with mild to moderate misalignment issues, but for those with more complex issues, Invisalign treatment may not be enough. Traditional braces may be required to permanently resolve the issues.

Poor Commitment 

Invisalign results rely on patient compliance, during and after the treatment. 

Wearing your aligners for the required amount of time and properly cleaning them and your teeth are essential for successful results. 

Additionally, compliance with your dentist’s instructions on retainer usage after treatment is finished is essential. Wearing a retainer keeps your teeth in their new position once you are finished with your aligners. Those patients who have trouble complying with these instructions can see their teeth shift out of position. Improper retainer usage is the biggest reason for orthodontic relapse.

Some people might stop wearing their retainer for a time, and then recommit to wearing it. In this case, it may be possible to move the teeth back to their realigned position once again, but it can cause some discomfort. The longer a patient goes without their retainer, the more likely it is that it simply won’t fit them again, making it necessary for additional orthodontic treatment.

Other Reasons You May Need to Repeat Invisalign Treatment

  • Missing teeth – having a gap in your smile can cause teeth to shift to fill in the gap from the missing tooth, potentially reversing some of the effects of Invisalign treatment. 
  • Impact injury – any injury to your mouth or teeth can cause your teeth to shift and become misaligned.
  • Gum disease – periodontitis, or gum disease, can lead to the inflammation of the gums around your teeth as well as to eventual bone loss, causing teeth to loosen and shift.
  • Teeth grinding –  when we grind our teeth, it puts pressure on the gums and jaw and can cause teeth to shift out of place. Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth as it can occur in their sleep.
  • Aging and everyday pressures – teeth can still move slightly through time and use. Wearing a retainer as instructed helps slow this down. 

In general, if you follow your dentist’s care instructions during and after the Invisalign treatment, the results should be long lasting. 

Teeth can shift over time, and it may be necessary to consult your dentist about touch up treatments after some time has passed, where you may possibly be asked to wear aligners for a short period of time, or wear a retainer more frequently, to address any shifting that may have occurred.

Follow Instructions for Long-Lasting Invisalign Results

As with any dental treatment or procedure, following your dentist’s instructions carefully will produce the best and most long-lasting results.

  • Wear retainer as instructed – this will help keep your teeth in their new straightened positions.
  • Schedule regular dental visits – your dentist can keep a good eye on the results of your treatment and see if any adjustments need addressing over time, as well as catch signs of gum disease or tooth decay early to keep them from affecting your alignment. 
  • Proper home dental care – brushing twice a day and flossing daily can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can cause teeth to shift.
  • Mouthguard – wearing a mouthguard if involved in activities with a high risk of injury can help protect your realigned teeth.
  • Teeth grinding treatment – if you suffer from teeth grinding, ask your dentist what the treatment options are so that you can keep your smile fixed where it needs to be.

Get Invisalign Treatment at Bunker Hill Dentistry

Bunker Hill Dentistry proudly serves the Greater Houston Area. Our mission for every patient is total client satisfaction.

If you think that Invisalign treatment may be a good course of action for you, give us a call or schedule an appointment with us. We will discuss if Invisalign is the right option and what commitment is needed for long-lasting results.

Learn more about getting Invisalign at BHD