After months and possibly even years, your dentist or orthodontist finally says the words you’ve been longing to hear: “It’s time to take your braces off!” You may immediately begin practicing your new beautiful smile or start dreaming about eating popcorn again. There’s no doubt about it, wearing braces requires a certain amount of commitment and hard work, from keeping your teeth clean with all the equipment around, to going to frequent appointments for checkups. After all the time, money, and energy spent on braces, we want to help you keep your smile bright and beautiful for the rest of your life, so we have written down our top three tips for taking care of your teeth after the braces come off.
But first, what should you expect when you get your braces off? Getting your braces off will take about an hour and it shouldn’t hurt at all. First, your dentist or orthodontist will remove the brackets from your teeth using dental pliers. Next, she will use a polishing instrument to remove the bonding material from each individual tooth. Your teeth may feel a little strange and slippery at first because you are used to having braces on them, but you will get used to it (and love it!) very quickly. Finally, the last thing that will happen is your dentist or orthodontist will use a jelly-like material to make a mold of your teeth. This mold will help her create a retainer for your teeth.
Now here are three practical ways to care of your new beautiful smile.
- Wear your retainer.
After your braces are off, your teeth can still shift and, unfortunately, over time can even become crooked again. This is why your dentist or orthodontist will give you a retainer to wear. The amount of time patients wear their retainer varies; most patients start out wearing their retainer all the time for about three months, and then go down to only wearing it at night. Although you may feel some disappointment that you still have to wear something on your teeth, retainers will ensure your teeth remain straight and just like braces, eventually you won’t even notice it.
- Watch what you eat and drink.
Throughout your time of wearing braces, you were probably very careful about staying away from certain foods like sticky and chewy candies. You may have also avoided sugary sodas for fear of getting stains on your teeth. Even though your braces are off, we still encourage you to be aware of what you eat and drink. Sugary candies and sodas can still wreak havoc on your teeth, attributing to stains and cavities. It’s also important to note that for the first couple of weeks your teeth may be especially sensitive, so you’ll want to stay away from very hot or very cold food and drinks.
- Maintain good dental hygiene.
Even though your teeth are easier to clean now that your braces are off and you may not be as fearful of having food stuck in your teeth, don’t neglect your good dental hygiene habits. It is crucial that you brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minute each time and to floss every day. And the good news? Flossing should be much easier without the extra equipment!
In addition to wearing your retainer, maintaining a healthy diet, and practicing good dental hygiene, don’t forget to continue visiting your dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning and checkup. If you’re looking for a dentist, at Cornerstone Family Dentistry we’d love to help you maintain your straight and beautiful smile, so make an appointment with us today!