Seabreeze Orthodontics: How to Care for Your Teeth After Braces
One of our favorite things at Seabreeze Orthodontics is when one of our patients gets their braces off! You can just feel the excitement and expectation. How will they look with straight teeth? How will it feel? How will life be different without braces? Our team loves walking through all the details with our patients on how to enjoy life braces-free while keeping their teeth in tip-top shape.
Thankfully Dr. Juan wanted to share with everyone some of his best tips for how to care for your teeth after your braces are off. He has 3 top care tips, and then a few extra essentials that are good to keep in mind. Let’s dive in and learn more!
3 Top Care Tips
Wearing and Caring for Your New Retainer
One of the biggest learning curves once your braces are off is remembering to wear and clean your retainer. Thankfully, it’s an easy habit to pick up and maintain! The first thing to remember is to wear the retainer according to your orthodontist’s instructions. How long you wear your retainer may change over time, so stick to an orthodontist’s guidance in order to preserve your newly straight teeth.
The type of retainer you have will determine how you clean it. Some retainers are permanently fixed onto the back of your teeth and require little extra cleaning outside of your normal brushing and flossing. Removable retainers require a bit more effort, while still being fairly simple! The two most common types are the Essix retainers which look just like an Invisalign retainer and are made out of clear plastic, and the Hawley retainer which is made from acrylic and metal wires that fit on the roof or bottom of your mouth and around your teeth.
You should clean your removable retainers at least once a day with a quick scrub. First, take them out and rinse them with lukewarm water to remove saliva. Then scrub the retainer with a toothbrush and a gentle cleanser like an alcohol-free mouthwash or hand soap. After scrubbing thoroughly all over, rinse well again and it should be clean and ready to store or wear.
Daily Hygiene Routine
Getting your braces off means upgrading to a much easier oral hygiene routine! But just remember that now is not the time to start slacking off and forgetting about your daily brushing and flossing. By keeping your teeth clean every day you will help preserve them as you age, and will help maintain that beautiful straight smile that you worked so hard for with your braces.
Dr. Juan recommends brushing at least twice every day and flossing once. For those that struggle to keep up with flossing, you could try out a water flosser instead! They are easy to operate and use a jet of water to flush out plaque from between your teeth. Find whatever routines are easiest for you to maintain while continuing to keep your teeth well cared for.
Most patients take a break from regular dental cleanings while they have their braces on, but once they’re off, it’s time to head back. Getting a really thorough clean is important, as most people will have some added plaque and tarter on their teeth even if they’ve been diligent about cleaning with their braces on. While you’re at the dentist’s office, go ahead and schedule your next appointment in six months, and get back on track with regular cleanings.
Many people are excited about the possibility of trying out teeth whitening after getting their braces off. We are excited for you, too, and have a few suggestions to help you choose the right whitening product for you.
If you find that you have some discoloration on your teeth after getting your braces off, this might be due to a lack of thorough brushing while the braces were on. To help remove these spots, professional cleaning is recommended. Talk to your dentist about whitening treatments that they might offer. If you are just looking for general whitening, a whitening toothpaste or store-bought strips can work well and are more affordable.
Whether you have braces or not, chronic teeth grinding or jaw clenching can have some pretty detrimental impacts on your oral health. Also called bruxism, grinding teeth can result in a wearing down of your enamel you will want to discuss your options with your medical doctor or dentist, to find a treatment plan that works for you.
One of the less common side effects of getting your braces off can be tooth sensitivity. This happens when your brackets come off and parts of your tooth enamel are exposed to varying temperatures again after a long time. This sensitivity typically lasts only a short time, so don’t be too surprised. Just be prepared to be a little more gentle with your food and drink temperatures for the first few days or weeks.
On the Way to Your Own Bright Smile!
If you’ve been considering orthodontics for yourself, there’s no better time than right now to get started! Dr. Juan and his entire team at Seabreeze Orthodontics are happy to welcome new patients at the office in Myrtle Beach. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation and learn all the steps to get started. Soon you’ll be the one learning to care for your beautiful, straight, braces-free smile!