There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting your braces off after many long months or years of treatment. It’s a rush of excitement to see yourself with your straight smile, and get used to the slick new feeling of a mouth without metal! But there are some other factors to consider as you set out with your new-and-improved teeth.
Taking care of your teeth is a life-long practice, and that doesn’t stop when the braces come off. That’s why Dr. Juan at Seabreeze Orthodontics wants to share his top suggestions for maintaining your oral health after you finish treatment. Keep scrolling to read all of his best tips!
Brushing and Flossing
You probably could have guessed you need to continue with your brushing and flossing regime once the braces come off. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to do! Just be sure to brush at least twice every day, in the morning and evening, and floss at least once.
If Dr. Juan opted to give you a permanent retainer, then you will need to take extra care to manage the health of that retainer and those teeth, too. A permanent retainer is when a metal wire is stretched across the back of the teeth and cemented into place to keep teeth from shifting after treatment. They are invisible and super easy to care for during your usual brushing and flossing, but it will require you to use a threader to shift the floss underneath the wire in order to floss well.
Now that you aren’t going to the orthodontist so frequently, it’s time to get back into the swing of your regular dental appointments. We recommend that our patients go in about every six months for a deep cleaning of their teeth and to have them evaluated by a dentist. This will ensure that your healthy teeth can last a lifetime, and catch small issues like plaque and tarter build up from growing into bigger ones like tooth decay.
Wearing and Caring for Your Retainer
One of the biggest commitments that you will make after finishing up your treatment with braces is wearing and caring for your retainer. After your braces first come off, it will be essential to wear your retainer at all times for several months. After a while, your teeth will regain some lost bone mass and become more stable, meaning you can switch to wearing your retainer only at night. You can check with Dr. Juan to verify when that shift can take place.
Even after you switch to nighttime-only wear, it is still essential that you continue wearing your retainer. This will not only keep your hard-earned smile intact, but can prevent some impacts of aging, and preserve your teeth for life.
Finally, you have to keep your retainer clean as well. This will mean brushing it at least once a day with a mild antibacterial cleanser like mouthwash or hand soap. Scrub it up with a toothbrush you have set aside for your retainers, and then rinse it well after. This should be enough to keep them in good shape, but if you notice some buildup over time, soak the retainers in a denture cleaning fluid to help lift stuck-on grime.
We hear from many patients that they are eager to try teeth whitening once braces come off, and we have a few tips. Depending on your budget and goals, you may want to a less expensive versus a more effective option. The easiest way to try whitening is with a toothpaste or store-bought kit. These can be less expensive and more effective tools to help get your teeth a shade or two lighter.
If you have more serious discoloration on your teeth after your braces come off, you should probably try a more powerful treatment that you can often get at the dentist’s office. Going in for treatment will typically be more expensive, but will work to get your smile even brighter and work against stains.
If you notice that your teeth are feeling a bit more sensitive than usual after your braces come off, this is a pretty normal reaction. It happens because your teeth enamel has been shielded by brackets for a long time, and they need to adjust to being exposed to the environment again, like hot and cold temperatures. This reaction typically doesn’t last for more than a few days or weeks, so you can wait to consult your orthodontist about it.
Bruxism is the medical term to describe grinding teeth. If you didn’t know, teeth grinding is actually quite a serious problem and can result in many bad outcomes for your oral health. Not only can it harm the enamel on your teeth leading to more tooth decay and cavities, but clenching the jaw regularly can lead to jaw problems and TMJ pain. If you are struggling with regular bruxism, you should consult your doctor to learn about the causes and treatments to help you feel better soon.
Seabreeze Orthodontics is Ready For Your Transformation!
We are ready to get started on transforming that beautiful smile, how about you? If you live in the Myrtle Beach area, we are here to support you through braces or whatever orthodontic treatment works best for you to achieve the smile of your dreams! Our office provides free consultation appointments to potential patients, so feel free to schedule one today to get into our office for a visit soon!