Chatting to My Invisalign Orthodontist: Vivera Retainers and Refinements


I don’t know about you, but I’m one of these people that always comes away from appointments with doctors/dentists/orthodontists with a list of questions that I forgot to ask. My last few appointments with my orthodontist have been like that. I intend to write a list of questions beforehand, I procrastinate, I mean to get around to it, and then, in the end, I leave it too late and forget everything I want to ask.

This time however, wasn’t like that. For the first time I managed to actually remember all the things I wanted to talk about, coming away with a lot of good new information.

The first thing we discussed was refinements. I have 17 Upper and 34 Lower aligners on my first run of Invisalign (yes, there will be more!) and I was expecting that I might have to wait until all my lowers were finished before I could start the refinements on the top arch. I was relieved then, to be told that we actually get three attempts at refinement with my orthodontist, so I can start on the tops whilst the lowers are still going. Of course, it’s impossible to know whether I’ll actually need refinements at this stage, but knowing that it won’t impact on the overall timeframe of the treatment means that I may be more of a perfectionist on my top arch than I might otherwise have been. I’m not sure why but I had somewhere along the line convinced myself that there was only one refinement possible, so this was a great relief for me- with a case as complex as mine I have a feeling that we will need a few tweaks here and there.

Secondly, although I have written about my orthodontist a fair amount on this blog, I’ve never before named him as I felt that it wasn’t appropriate without his permission. I do get quite a few emails asking for his details, so I was keen to get them on here if possible. Anyway, another of things that I remembered to ask was his permission to give his name, and it was duly granted. So, if anybody is looking for an orthodontist in Brisbane, Australia, I’m happy to highly recommend Dr. Brett Kerr. His website is here with all his contact details and examples of past cases.

I did also tell him about my blog, which he said he’s going to read- I guess I’ll know whether he liked it next time I visit. If I suddenly need an unscheduled and highly painful round of extensive IPR (filing between my teeth) We’ll know that he wasn’t happy with what I’ve written!!

The other thing we talked at length about was the Vivera retainers that Invisalign offers. For those of you that haven’t heard of them, Invisalign offer a system whereby you receive a new retainer by mail every three months. Previously, some patients had reported that when they had bought two retainers, worn one for 6 months and then switched to the second, their teeth had moved making inserting the second one difficult. In other words, the retainer itself had altered slightly, allowing their teeth to slightly relapse. To prevent this happening the Vivera system was introduced. My ortho told me that he thinks that the system is a great idea, but unfortunately isn’t available in Australia yet. Hopefully, that’s something that might change in the future. Incidentally to those of you in the US it costs in the region of $300 p.a. depending on the orthodontist.

My ortho’s main reservations about Vivera were that once you ask Invisalign to make your aligners they consider your case finished, even if you haven’t used up all your refinement entitlements. In his experience sometimes people do come back a few months after the end of treatment and ask for something extra. If there are still refinements available that weren’t used in the first instance, he can just get another series of aligners made. However, if retainers had been ordered this wouldn’t be possible. A new Invisalign case would have to be opened.

I am on set 12 at the moment and will post more about the trials of those in the next few days. Thank you for all your comments, as ever, they make writing this thing seem worthwhile.