You have been waiting months, even years, for this and it’s finally here! It’s time for your braces to be removed! You may be thinking of the freedom this means for you: no more passing on the popcorn at the movies, no more dental floss gymnastics trying to get to your teeth and gums around all those brackets and wires, no more sleeping in headgear. While all this is true, and there may be less work involved in your daily brushing and flossing routine without all the hardware, how exactly do you care for your teeth after braces? Let’s look at what to expect from your appointments and tips to keep in mind going forward to keep your teeth in tip-top shape.
What to Expect from Your Final Appointment with Braces
Your orthodontist will let you know in advance that your braces are coming off, so you’ll know before the final appointment. It only takes about an hour to remove your braces but in some cases, your orthodontist may notice an issue that might require extra time.
It isn’t painful to have your braces removed, but it may be slightly uncomfortable. It’s possible you may hear some cracking noises but don’t worry, it isn’t your teeth, just the cement that was used to hold the brackets to them! There may be some pesky bits of cement remaining your teeth once your braces have been removed. It will need to be scraped off, but that won’t be painful either. In fact, it won’t feel much different than getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist. Be sure to tell your orthodontist if you feel any rough or sharp spots so that they can be sure to remove them.
Even though your braces are being removed, you’ll still have more orthodontic appointments. It’s important for your orthodontist to monitor your teeth after braces to make sure they don’t shift back. It can – and does – happen when patients don’t use their retainer!
What to Expect from Your Teeth After Braces
You may find that you can’t stop smiling at yourself in the mirror and running your tongue over your straight, smooth teeth. It may even feel like they are too smooth after all that time behind wires and brackets!
Not only will you notice how smooth your teeth feel, many patients notice that their teeth feel sensitive. Since they have been covered by braces for months or years, it is common to experience some sensitivity. You may find that food or beverages with extreme hot or cold temperatures may trigger sensitivity. Do your best to find options that aren’t uncomfortable to eat or drink until this sensitivity fades.
Additionally, eating will most likely feel weird, too. Keep in mind that it took time to get used to having braces, so it will take some time to get used to not having them. It will be a good feeling to eat some of the foods that were “off limits” while wearing braces. Just don’t go overboard on your favorite sticky candy or food that you couldn’t eat while you had braces now that you can have them again. Remember, sticky, gooey, sugary foods still lead to cavities whether you have braces or not! Depending on your oral care while you had braces, it’s possible you may have developed cavities that need treatment. It’s important to continue regular dental visits to take care of your teeth after braces.
Important Tips for Teeth After Braces
The most important tip that cannot be stressed enough: wear your retainer! It is absolutely necessary to wear your retainer. A retainer for teeth after braces isn’t optional. Your treatment will regress if you don’t wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist. Without something holding them in place they will gravitate to their old position in your mouth and those years of braces, not to mention the financial investment, will have been for nothing.
What does that mean? It means not wearing your retainer may result in you needing to undergo new treatment! So wear it as often as you can. Most are removable, so depending on your orthodontist’s direction you can eat, talk or attend special events without your retainer. Sometimes it is only necessary to wear them at night. Just be sure to follow the guidelines your orthodontist gives you as each person’s needs are different.
Your teeth will settle slightly after treatment, even with retainer use. This is normal so don’t let it cause stress. Using fluoridated toothpaste can help reduce sensitivity you may have and can help ease the transition to a braces-free life once your braces are removed.
You’ll want to be sure to schedule a standard dental appointment after your braces are removed. It is best to get a complete examination from your dentist in case you developed cavities or other issues that your braces may have hidden.
Taking good care of your teeth after braces is just as important as caring for them while you had braces. Remember to brush, floss, take good care of your retainer and wear it regularly for a straight, healthy smile for years and years to come!
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