If you’ve been wearing your braces for the last year and a half (or much longer) and you are about to have them taken off, congrats! The end is in sight. You’ve put in the diligent effort to keep your teeth clean and take care of your braces so you can enjoy a beautiful, straight smile. But now that your mouth is metal-free, what should you expect?
- Minor pressure from removing the brackets and remaining glue
- Possible sensitivity of teeth and gums
- Squeaky clean teeth!
When your braces first come off, your teeth may feel slimy, after having been used to feeling metal brackets and wire on them for so long. You may suddenly feel like you have more room in your mouth than you were used to. But you will definitely feel proud of your efforts and excited to flash your new smile.
Getting Fitted For Your Retainer
One of the first steps after having your braces taken off is to be fitted for your retainer. Your retainer will be made by taking a mold of your mouth post-braces to determine how your mouth has shifted during your orthodontic treatment. The mold will help create a retainer that will fit your mouth and provide structure and stability for the new position of your teeth. This step is especially important because your retainer will be your ticket to helping your teeth maintain their straight position long-term. Retainers prevent your teeth from shifting and help guarantee your beautiful smile lasts a lifetime.
If you fail to wear your retainer consistently, or altogether, your teeth may shift back into their old positions, leaving you with a crooked smile and feeling as though your time, effort and money to correct your smile has been wasted. The best practice is to wear your retainer at least nightly or as often as your orthodontist recommends to encourage your teeth to stay in place.
How Long You Have To Wear A Retainer: Explained
Most patients should plan on wearing their retainer daily for at least six to twelve months. This ensures that as your teeth adjust to being on their own without the wire and brackets to hold them in place, they will settle into their new positions and the risk of shifting back to old positions will lessen. At your orthodontic appointments post braces, your orthodontist will determine how long you should plan to wear your retainer based on your progress and how your teeth have settled in. Some braces veterans wear their retainer for only the amount of time recommended by their orthodontist, while others who don’t want to risk their teeth shifting may wear them consistently for several years following orthodontic treatment.
Maintain Good Dental Hygiene
One of the best things you can do for your smile and yourself after all of the effort you put in while wearing braces is to make sure you take great care in cleaning your teeth daily. The best way to ensure good dental hygiene is by brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft bristled brush, flossing once a day to remove plaque and bacteria buildup in hard to get spots, and using mouthwash to help prevent future cavities.
Keeping your retainer clean is also an essential part of your dental hygiene routine now. You should rinse your retainer with warm water after you take it out of your mouth and your orthodontist may even recommend gently cleaning it with your toothbrush as well to remove any built up bacteria.
Orthodontic Care In Fort Worth
If you’re at the end of the road with your braces, congratulations! We hope you are satisfied with your smile and are excited to show it off to the world. If you are just getting started on your journey to straight teeth and don’t know where to turn, Dr. Barron and the staff at Ahava Orthodontics would love to support you on your journey. Contact our office today at 817-926-9777 to schedule your first appointment on the path to a straight, healthy smile.