Invisalign dentist

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.

Invisalign dentist
My Orthodontist _ Dr Brett Kerr

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. (update: I think he’s now retired sadly!)

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.

9 thoughts on “Chatting to My Invisalign Orthodontist: Vivera Retainers and Refinements”

  1. This blog is refreshing. I was told treatment was 12-18 months. Not so, after 24 months wearing Invisalign it’s time for retainers that were not included in the original costs. Ouch, just under $1000. her in Florida, USA. I’m going with the removable retainer. It’s your mouth, your money, and your future smile so ask your dentist all the questions you want answered. Thanks Susanne

  2. >Invisalign has many good features but the company should be more careful with how the orthodontists use it with their patients.
    My orthodontist in Manhattan didn't tell me what was included in Invisalign when I signed up, such as refinements and never even mentioned Vivera retainers. Invisalign should require the orthodontist to send them a form signed by the patient that outlines specifically what is included in Invisalign treatment.
    My orthodontist never took a cephalogram before treatment, which is standard for an orthodontist to do before braces. I didn't know that at the time.
    He charged me $500 for "mid course correction" but never took new molds and didn't explain what the difference is between refinement (which are free with Invisalign) and mid course correction, which he charged big bucks for.
    When we completed the aligners and got to retainers, the Invisalign retainers he ordered (which were the last aligners in a slightly harder material) actualy moved my teeth instead of reatining them. So he charged me again to make his own retainers, again big bucks, and never even mentioned Vivera as an option.
    I feel cheated and would never recommend him to anyone. I also feel that Invisalign should do more oversight to make sure that unethical dentists like him don't cheat their patients.

  3. >I started my invisalign today. I was told that my teeth should be finished in about 20 weeks. I wasn't aware of refinements, so I have something to discuss with my dentist in two weeks. Kat in USA

  4. >I just started my invisign yesterday. I have enjoyed your blog very much and get alot of incite on different things. Looking forward to more of your posts. Thank You!

  5. >Hello,
    Does your ortho offer the Essex retainers? I had one in between my fixed braces and invisalign. I wore it for the 6 weeks whilst the invisalign were being made. I found it very good and my teeth didn't move at all. In fact, my ortho said that it's almost identical to invisalign (but slightly thinner/less shiny material) so he was happy I was getting experience with such a device so I'd be a pro when the invisalign arrived. He was right! I found it to be very similar and so I was prepared for the invisalign.
    I would totally recommend the essex retainer system if you can get it in Oz. I have not heard invisalign made their own retainer system? I was just told we could use the last set as a retainer?

  6. >I just started my Invisalign trays today. Thanks so much for the info about the retainers. I'll be sure to give my teeth some time at the end of my treatment to decide if I want any refinements.

  7. >Hi, thanks for getting back to me. The fixed retainer I will have is made from a kind of resin the same colour as my teeth. I saw a model and it looks quite smooth and thin but I've not read about anyone else using this kind of retainer.

  8. myhollywoodsmile

    >Hi there,
    I think if I requested a fixed retainer my ortho would be happy to give me one. We have only ever discussed removable retainers, as I am absolutely certain having seen the pictures of fixed wires behind the teeth that this isn't an option I would be happy with. I don't have any problem wearing a retainer at night for the rest of my life (which, let's face it is what it will be!)
    Having said that, ask me again in two years, perhaps by then I'll be ready to change my mind.
    Next time I go and see my ortho in a few weeks I'll ask about the reliability of fixed retainers.
    Thanks for your comments, much appreciated!

  9. >Hi, I've been following your blog since I got my Invisalign in February. I live in Italy but go to an English dentist here as invisalign isn't widely used in Italy. I'm quite interested in your comments on the retainers as my Dentist hasn't given me any options other than a fixed retainer behind my teeth. On the one hand I'm happy with that as I'm sure I'll have had enough of plastic trays by the end of my treatment but on the other I'm worried that maybe it isn't as reliable. Has your dentist mentioned anything about having a fixed retainer?

    Great blog by the way, it's been nice to read about another person's experiences

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