To the untrained eye, it’s almost impossible to distinguish invisible aligners from retainers. Read on to understand the difference between both devices.

What are invisible aligners?

Invisible aligners are clear and plastic dental trays that straighten teeth discreetly and gently. Unlike traditional metal braces, invisible aligners are removable and easy to clean. You can take them off to eat and drink, then put them back on without anyone noticing you took them off in the first place. That’s how transparent they are.

Invisible aligners are also painless. They’re 3D printed to perfectly fit the shape of your teeth, and carefully filed to create smooth edges. This prevents any gum irritation or blisters that often result from tight metal wires.

While all aligners look identical, they don’t all treat the same cases. At BASMA, for example, we fix mild to moderate cases of teeth crowding and spacing. Other aligner companies can treat more severe cases of misaligned teeth. But before committing to anything, it’s important to take an assessment and find out if you’re a candidate for aligners.


What are retainers?

Instead of straightening them, retainers help keep your teeth in place after any orthodontic treatment. And while aligners require a 22-hour wear time, retainers should only be worn during night time (for 8-10 hours).

That said, retainers come in two different shapes. You can either get them as fixed wires attached to the back of your teeth, or as removable dental trays. Removable retainers look almost identical to invisible aligners. They’re also 3D printed to match the shape of your teeth. At BASMA, we recommend opting for removable retainers to guarantee a more effective post-aligner journey. Find out more about the two types of retainers here.

It’s important to wear your retainers after a teeth straightening treatment or you risk losing your new smile. The pressure exerted by aligners softens the bone tissue in your mouth – and retainers will prevent that soft bone structure from shifting your teeth out of place.

Make sure you maintain that new smile for life!


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