No more holding back. That’s what we want to see when the braces are off. No more hiding your smile, holding back your confidence, or being shy about your teeth. We want to see you smile as big and wide as you like now that the braces are missing, your ivories are improved, and your level of dental health is higher. But if you want to keep that smile straight and strong, there are a few things you need to do in the days, weeks, and months after your braces are removed.
Before we get into the dos and don’ts of after-braces care, here are a few things to expect after your braces are removed. For one, your teeth may be a bit sensitive for a few days or a few weeks after the braces are removed due to exposed enamel. As a result, as tempting as it may be to binge on crunchy and chewy foods that were taboo when you had braces, it’s important to ease back into these new foods. Your teeth, after all, are still adjusting to their new positions.
This brings us to retainers. We know that having your teeth straight and your bite aligned is a great feeling, and we want you to keep it that way. After your braces are removed, your orthodontist will fit you for a retainer and recommend that you wear it for a certain amount of time. You may see some minor shifting of your teeth after the removal of your braces, but the retainer will prevent your teeth from shifting back to where they were.
We really cannot stress this enough. After your braces are removed, you need to maintain that straighter smile, or else the teeth could shift right back to where they started. In very rare cases, your teeth could even fall out. You really don’t want to go through the whole braces process again, do you? Wear your retainer as long as your dentist tells you to, perhaps even longer, if possible, to maintain your straight teeth after braces.
Your retainer should be custom fit to your mouth after your braces are removed, so it should be quite comfortable. You may experience some minor difficulties speaking at first, along with some excess saliva production, but this is normal. Practice talking with your retainer and both of these side effects will go away within a few days. Be sure to clean your retainer with a soft toothbrush (and with gentle toothpaste if your dentist instructs you to do so) each day. Store your retainer with some water to prevent any cracking caused by excessive dryness. When you take your retainer out to eat, do not put it on a napkin. Many people lose their retainers by forgetting it or throwing it away by accident. Put your retainer back in its case and in your pocket or purse to avoid losing it.
Don’t eat anything very hot or freezing cold for a few days to a few weeks after your braces are removed. As noted above, your teeth are going to be sensitive for a little while, so it’s best to avoid needlessly aggravating that sensitivity. It’s also a good idea to avoid heavily crunchy or chewy foods during this time, as your teeth are still adjusting to their new positions.
We know you want pearly white teeth to go with that newly straightened smile, but you need to be patient on whitening teeth after braces. Wait about a month or two after getting your braces removed before attempting any whitening treatments. Your teeth will be sensitive after braces removal, and whitening products can cause discomfort as a result.
After your braces are removed, it is important to schedule a dental exam and cleaning shortly thereafter to ensure that no oral issues have developed and to get rid of any tartar build-up that may have occurred while you had braces (though, hopefully, you stayed on top of your oral health care during the days of orthodontic treatment and these are already minimized). In addition, be sure to floss once a day and brush your teeth and your retainer (as per your dentist’s instructions) twice a day. It is also important to disinfect your retainer using the retainer cleanser recommended by your dentist at least once a week, or even daily, if your dentist recommends you do so.
Smile! You have new reasons to, after all. Your teeth are straight, your bite is aligned, and the clunky brackets are no longer in the way of a happy, comfortable set of teeth.
If you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment or post-braces care, please give one of the orthodontists at BB Braces Braces a call at 770-467-3940 or schedule an appointment by filling out our online form.