After months and months of waiting, it’s time to visit your orthodontist to take off your braces. Once braces come off, you can dig into all the foods you missed and enjoy easier dental hygiene practices. Best of all, you will be able to show off your beautiful megawatt smile to the world. There are a number of important tips to note for taking care of your teeth post-braces to maintain a glowing, healthy grin.
5 Steps for getting your braces removed
After many months of wearing fixed braces you’re probably excited about the prospect of having your braces removed – but what should you expect from the procedure?
Separating the brackets from the teeth
First, your orthodontist will slightly deform the base of the brackets using pliers by squeezing them gently. This weakens the glue holding them in place and separates the bond. Your dentist will do this for each of the brackets first, top and bottom. This shouldn’t hurt, but rather you will just feel gentle pressure on the teeth.
Removing the remaining glue
After the brackets have been removed there will be some bonding glue left behind on the surface of the teeth. This will need to be thoroughly cleaned off by your orthodontist with a special instrument. Removing the residual glue typically takes between five and ten minutes, depending on how much has been left behind on your teeth. Again, this won’t hurt, but if you have sensitive teeth there may be some mild discomfort.
Make a retainer mould
After having braces removed, most people will be required to wear a retainer for some time afterwards to hold their teeth in the new positions. Your dentist may recommend wearing a retainer for a few years – or even indefinitely – but each patient’s case is different. This first requires a mould to be made so that your retainer will fit the new shape of your teeth. Your orthodontist may choose to do this the week before, or the week after, your braces are removed.
Caring for your teeth post-braces
After your braces have been removed your gum tissue may be slightly inflamed, however this should subside after a few days of good brushing and flossing. Be sure to maintain a thorough dental hygiene regime beyond that as well. Initially, the newly exposed enamel may be slightly more sensitive than usual, so don’t jump straight into eating the crunchy and chewy foods that you were advised against while you had your fixed braces. Most importantly, remember to always wear your retainer when you’ve been advised, otherwise you risk undoing all of the good work your fixed braces did.
Enjoy your new teeth!
You’ll have waited a long time to reap the benefits of your fixed braces, and now they have been removed you can finally enjoy the feeling of having straight teeth– just remember to look after them every day!
Will it Hurt?
Because the orthodontist will have just pulled pieces of metal off of your teeth, you may feel some soreness, but it won’t be at the level of soreness as when you first got braces. If you do experience soreness, OTC pain medication can easily help it.
How Long Will Removal Take?
Usually, the braces can be completely taken off in a single appointment and removal often takes about an hour. During removal, the orthodontist clips the brackets and uses a scraper or polisher to remove the glue from the teeth.
What Complications Can Develop After Braces?
Two common complications that develop after braces are removed are gum recession and jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ. People who have worn braces at any age are more prone to gum recession which happens when the tissue around the teeth either wears away or is pushed back. The main symptoms of TMJ are clicking of the jaw and difficulty chewing.
Will My Teeth & Gums Feel Sensitive after brace?
The days following braces removal can be different for each patient. Yet, the majority of patients notice that their teeth feel slippery on the tongue immediately after braces come off. Patients can also expect a certain degree of tooth and gum sensitivity. While it may be tempting to eat all of the sticky, brittle, and sweet foods that you had to avoid while wearing braces, it’s important to be patient with your new smile. Teeth and gums take time to adjust to life without braces. To accommodate them, choose foods and drinks you would normally consume with braces. Then, slowly incorporate other types of foods and drinks as your oral sensitivity dissipates.
Risks if I Remove Braces Myself
Are there any risks to removing the dental-braces on your own? There are a number of angles you can look at it. If someone is knowledgeable about dental-braces, they can find their way around the dental-braces and remove them without any damage to the teeth. But during the process, there is an amount of risk that something could potentially go wrong. That potential is very serious.
When you consider self-removal of dental-braces, there is a high possibility of losing your permanent teeth. This is possible because you might get the tooth at its vulnerable point when it is moving to the desired location. When a tooth is moving, it is shifting its position in the upper bone, which makes it lose and it can come out when you are removing the dental-braces with some force.
Formation of Cavities
When the tools you use cause abrasions, chips or scratch on your teeth, it can be easy to attract bacteria to hide and grow on your teeth because of the cavities created. Cleaning the teeth will be hard at this point. When you take the dental-braces off in a harsh manner, you might reduce the tooth’s enamel quality.
If you remove the dental-braces, the teeth will not have something to show them how they are supposed to be aligned. The teeth are going to be free to move in whatever direction they please; this is why patients always have to use a retainer after their treatment procedures, to keep the teeth in their destined location until they are not required anymore. The teeth can move around in any direction within a week because of the pressures and stresses in the mouth without the dental-braces which hold them into space.
Self-Removal is Very Painful
You might feel as if the discomfort is too much, maybe even tough compared to the pain you received when the dental-braces were being placed. But if you want to experience real pain, then try removing the dental-braces on your own. The use of ad-hoc tools always results in pain. The right orthodontic tools are efficient and ensure that there is minimal pain during the complex installation process.
During the self-removal process, the gums may start to bleed, and you will be at risk of dental infections due to the open wound. Since there are very many types of bacteria in the mouth, it is easy to contract an infection.
How to Take Care of Your Teeth After Braces
Good dental care is just as important after your braces are off as while you’re wearing them. Learn proper post-orthodontic hygiene habits and how to keep your teeth healthy and straight for the rest of your life.
Why take care of your teeth after braces are removed?
There are a few challenges people deal with after their braces come off, so being diligent about your dental hygiene habits is important. The most compelling reasons to take special care of your teeth after your braces come off are to:
- Ensure your teeth stay straight
- Avoid tooth stains and plaque build-up near where the brackets used to be
Do I Need To See My Dentist After My Braces Are Off?
Yes. Regular visits are still a part of good oral hygiene and give your dentist the opportunity to clean previously hard to reach places covered by the braces. Unfortunately, some people develop cavities around or behind the hardware from food and drink residue. Your dentist will proactively identify cavities and any other oral issues, such as shifting teeth and create a comprehensive treatment plan.
Get a thorough professional cleaning and exam
If you’ve had braces, you know how difficult it can be to brush and floss well. The longer you’ve had your braces, the more likely it is that plaque and stains have accumulated and settled on your teeth. A professional dental cleaning is the best way to remove them, and there’s no better time for a thorough cleaning and exam than right after braces.
Try a teeth whitening treatment
Treat yourself to a professional whitening! You’ve spent months ( maybe years) wearing braces and now that big moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here — your braces are coming off!
It’s not uncommon for people to see their new, straight teeth for the first time and feel a little disappointed when they see yellowing, stains, and other discolorations that can occur during orthodontic treatments. After all your patience and hard work, professional teeth whitening is a great way to put that sparkle back into your smile.
You can also incorporate a whitening toothpaste into your care routine to help improve the appearance of your teeth slowly.
Be diligent about your at-home dental routine
You’ve made a big investment in your teeth. Good daily dental hygiene habits will help you maintain a healthy and beautiful smile you’re proud to show off.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or when the bristles appear frayed.
- Floss once a day to remove plaque and food particles that your toothbrush can’t reach. Make sure to floss every single space between teeth.
- Mouthwash is optional, but if your teeth need a little more protection than just brushing and flossing, talk to your dentist about the best mouthwash options for you.
- Clean your retainers. Make this part of your daily routine. Once it becomes a habit, it won’t feel like a bother anymore.
- Rinse your mouth with water regularly. Rinse with water after you eat anything sugary and after coffee, tea, and other stain-causing foods. This helps prevent stains and keeps your teeth white.
How to Keep Your Teeth Straight After Braces
Having your braces removed once treatment is complete is an exciting moment for sure, but your doctor do have to bring you back down to earth by explaining that if they choose not to wear a retainer, then there’s every chance that their teeth will move back into their old position, and all of their hard work will have been for nothing. No-one wants that to happen so it’s really important to wear a retainer as instructed by your orthodontist.
Why do teeth move after braces?
Braces are used when undergoing teeth straightening to move your teeth into a more desirable position and once they’re taken off, elastic fibres in the gum attempt to pull the teeth back to where they were, in a process seeed ‘orthodontic relapse’. It takes some while for your teeth and gums to settle down. The jaw also continues to grow and this can encourage the teeth to move after you reach the end of your treatment. You’re most at risk of your teeth reverting to their original position soon after your braces are removed, but rather than wear your retainer for just a few months. Don’t worry, retainers are discreet and comfortable. There are two types of retainer removable and fixed. So let’s take a quick look at both
Here’s what to expect with a retainer:
- Your orthodontist will most likely take impressions of your teeth as soon as your braces are off. This impression is used to make your retainers.
- Most orthodontists will tell you to wear your retainers full-time to start, and eventually transition to wearing them only at night.
- It may take a week or so to get used to wearing your retainer, but soon you’ll hardly even notice it’s there.
These resemble a thin, transparent gumshield which fits tightly over your teeth to keep them in position. They’re custom-made by taking an impression of your teeth once the braces have been removed. In most cases they’re worn just at night when you go to bed, but your orthodontist will discuss this further with you.
Removable retainers have a nasty habit of going missing, so for peace of mind you might prefer to wear fixed retainers. These consist of a thin stainless steel wire which is bonded permanently to the back of your front teeth. This will usually be fitted as soon as your braces are removed, and prior to taking an impression for a removable retainer. You’ll soon get used to the retainer and it can’t be seen by anyone either. You will need to be extra vigilant when brushing your teeth, however as plaque can form beneath and around the wire.
Take good care of your retainers
Clean your retainers at least once a day or as instructed by your dental care provider. You don’t want to put a bacteria-filled retainer back into a freshly-brushed mouth.
Many retainers can be easily cleaned in the sink with regular toothpaste and a toothbrush. However, for other retainers, you may need to use mouthwash or denture cleaner. If you’re not sure, ask your orthodontist about the best method for keeping your retainers clean.
Pro tip: Carry a retainer case with you all the time. During meals, many people simply wrap their retainer in a napkin and set it aside. This is how retainers often get accidentally thrown away! A plastic retainer case is much less likely to be mistaken for an old napkin and get tossed.