Having your braces removed is a big moment in any adult or young adult’s life. Getting your braces removed means not only do you get a beautiful, even smile, but you also get the freedom of being able to feel your teeth with your tongue, the ease of cleaning bare teeth and the joy of being able to eat whatever you want again! But it can also be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve had your braces on for a long time. Here’s what to expect when you get your braces removed.
Your teeth might hurt a little bit
When you first get your braces off, your teeth might be a little sensitive. Removing your braces doesn’t hurt, but your teeth will be used to being held in one position for a while. They may feel a little sore until they are used to being bare again.
Chances are you will probably be given a retainer to wear either at night or around the clock. Though the retainer will keep your teeth in the same position as your braces, your mouth may still feel uncomfortable wearing it at first, because it is not used to the shape of the retainer.
You have to clean differently
There’s no denying that cleaning teeth with braces is a lot harder than cleaning bare teeth, but that doesn’t mean you can be lazy about cleaning your teeth now that the braces are off. You should still brush for two minutes a day and floss at least once a day. If you have a permanent retainer attached to the back of your teeth, your orthodontist or dentist can show you how to use a floss threader and floss around the permanent retainer wires.
If you have a temporary retainer, make sure you clean that once a day, too. If you are instructed to wear your retainer day and night, clean it during meals. The easiest way to do this is to rinse it off and then soak it in a denture soak for at least 20 minutes. Be sure to rinse it well before putting it into your mouth.
You will still need to floss between your teeth, but be prepared for that to feel different too. After all, your teeth are now evenly spaced, and dental floss may fit differently between certain teeth. You may also notice that it is easier for you to get food caught between certain teeth than it was before, because of the way the teeth have shifted. This is one more reason you need to keep flossing after your braces are off!
Your teeth may be a little discolored
When your braces come off, your teeth may be a little discolored. If you didn’t do a great job brushing while your braces were on, you may have some buildup on your teeth around where the brackets were placed. Another common issue braces-wearers face are white spots on the teeth called demineralization. If you have demineralization present on your teeth following your treatment, speak to your dentist about your options.
There are a variety of ways you can treat these spots, but don’t ignore them! Demineralization spots are weak spots on the teeth that can worsen over time. Your dentist can help you decide the best way to address them.
Once your braces are off, plan on visiting your dentist for an exam and cleaning. You will likely need new X-rays, and your dentist will want to see if any cavities have been lurking beneath your braces. Your dentist can also clean any buildup that accumulated around the braces, leaving your smile as shiny and white as it is straight and even.
Don’t skip the follow-up
You just invested a lot of time and money into getting a perfect smile. Don’t diminish your results by skipping the aftercare. Make sure you are wearing your retainer as prescribed and returning to your orthodontist and dentist regularly for adjustments. If you lose or damage your retainer, or if something doesn’t feel right when wearing it, don’t be afraid to call your orthodontist. Many orthodontists will allow you two "lifetime" retainers, so if you lose one they’ll make a second one free. If any wires in your permanent retainer are poking out or coming loose, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor and have them adjusted. Your teeth should look beautiful but you need to be comfortable, too!
Whether you’re considering braces, have them, are getting them off or already have them off, if you have any questions or concerns about your teeth, give Dr. Lederman’s office a call at 516-882-1764.