Getting your braces removed is a big deal and definitely a time for celebration. However, dental care doesn’t stop when those braces are removed. To keep your teeth straight and beautiful, you’ll need to do some long term maintenance.
It’s not a whole new regiment, but there are some steps you’ll want to adopt to maintain your new smile. Here at Smiles for Life Orthodontics, we want you to be prepared for every step in the braces process, from initial consult to that final appointment to get them removed.
What to Expect
Once the braces are off, you’re likely to be uncomfortable because you’ve gotten used to your wires. Give it a few weeks to adjust. Let your lips remember what bare teeth feel like. Just like getting used to life with braces in the first place, you’ll need to make some adjustments.
You’ll want to learn about the new equipment you will have and rebuild your dental routine. As tempting as it is to jump right into all the foods you weren’t allowed to have with braces, you shouldn’t move too fast into overly crunchy or chewy foods.
Retainers and Equipment
After your braces are removed, your orthodontist will fit a retainer that’s made especially for you. It’s critical to wear that retainer as directed for the first few months after the braces are removed. Your teeth have been slowly moved into position and kept there by wires for a while. Therefore, your retainer will keep your teeth aligned while your jaw and gums adjust to the new position of your teeth.
Taking care of your retainer is almost as important as remembering to wear it. Keep your retainer in its case when it’s not in use, such as while eating and sleeping. Clean it as instructed by your dentist, and don’t forget to store it with a little water inside. Letting it become dry can cause cracking or other damage.
Switching from braces to retainers may make speaking difficult. Your mouth needs to get used to working around a new device and may cause you to slur words or produce a lot of saliva. Practice talking and normal daily functions with your retainer in, and this difficulty will pass soon.
Cleaning and Upkeep
Now that your teeth are straight, you may be tempted to jump into making them pearly white. However, your teeth will most likely be sensitive to harsh cleaners, hard brushes, and drastic temperature changes. Give it a few weeks to a month before you get your teeth whitened. Your dentist will be able to assess when it is safe for you to get a deep whitening.
Your dentist will be able to help you choose the best brush and toothpaste type to keep your teeth healthy and avoid discomfort. You’ll want to schedule regular cleanings and keep up with your routine dental care.
Easing into New Foods
For months, maybe years, you’ve resisted eating taffy and kept clear of jawbreakers and hard pretzels. It’s time to celebrate and binge your favorite taboo foods. But not so fast!
Your teeth will be sensitive to new foods, and you should ease in slowly. Again, your teeth were recently repositioned in your mouth. Eating things that are very chewy, super hard and crunchy could shift them back to their original position. Then you’ll be back where you started.
Also, avoid things that are very cold or hot, because your teeth will be temperature sensitive. The first few weeks after the braces are off can be uncomfortable and jumping right in can push your experience into pain rather than discomfort.
The absolute most important part of getting your braces off is to smile. You’ve spent a good amount of time building your perfect smile, so you should show it off. Spread your smile everywhere you go. Let your beautiful pearly whites lighten someone’s day. Sharing a genuine smile can create a ripple effect of happiness for those around you.
In addition to brightening another person’s day, smiling has shown evidence of bringing up your happy brain chemistry levels. Additional confidence and lower stress levels have been correlated to smiling more frequently. According to this article from Psychology Today, smiling can benefit you in many unexpected ways. Such as:
- You look younger by livening up your face and bringing a shine to your appearance.
- You look thinner by tightening the muscles around your mouth, bringing up your look.
- Smiles elevate your mood by reverse muscle memory triggering the release of happy chemicals in your brain.
- Even forced smiles can give you a boost.
Smiling triggers more pleasure in your brain than chocolate, but chocolate is still yummy.
- Studies correlate a prediction of the success of marriage to the frequency of genuine smiling.
- It makes you seem more courteous and competent, and most of all, more kind to those around you.
- It can predict your lifespan, or so the theory states. Studies have shown that athletes that smiled in their professional photos versus those that didn't live more years.
- Smiles are contagious. When you smile at a stranger, they’ll smile too. You may have also just brightened their day and made it better for them.
Post braces dental care is important to keep you and your teeth healthy and stunning for years to come. We’re happy you’re here at Smiles For Life Orthodontics and want to help you make the most of your smile.
Smiles For Life Orthodontics
Dr. Irelia Machado is so excited to be a part of this journey, and genuinely enjoys helping you find your perfect smile. Through consistent training and a passion for education, she and her team maintain the highest levels of knowledge in the ever-evolving orthodontics field.
They are available to answer questions, address concerns, and share their own experiences around braces and post-braces dental care. Give us a call if you have any questions about any step in this process.