The moment is here…your braces are coming off and you’re finally able to enjoy all of the hard work you’ve done. Cue the parade music, cake and balloons! After all of the orthodontist appointments, adjustments, minor discomfort and food restrictions, you’re finally able to wear your smile like a badge of honor.
Congratulations! You should be very proud of yourself. However, maintaining your perfect smile for years to come takes commitment and dedication. Here’s what to expect when you are done with braces.
Wearing Your Retainer
Your retainer will be your best friend once your braces come off, so take care of it and wear it properly. You don’t want to risk your teeth shifting, which is a real possibility, especially in the first year post-braces. Your teeth are getting used to their new positions, which can take some time, so wearing your retainer at this point in treatment is crucial. There are two types of retainers typically prescribed after braces. These include:
- Removable retainers: Specially fitted to your mouth and consisting of either plastic and wire, or all plastic, similar to an Invisalign aligner tray.
- Fixed retainers: Cemented to the back of the teeth and unable to be removed.
Depending on your orthodontist and how your teeth are reacting to treatment, one or both may be recommended for you. At first, your orthodontist will advise you to wear your removable retainer all day every day, only removing it to eat, brush and floss. You’ll then graduate to wearing it every night, and it is recommended that this be a habit you practice for the rest of your life.
Your Oral Hygiene Routine
It’s also advised to schedule a visit with your dentist for a post-braces cleaning and evaluation. Since it is difficult to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine with brackets and wires in the way, your dentist will ensure you’ve been properly maintaining your teeth and give them a good cleaning as well.
You’ll also need to ensure you’re keeping your retainer as clean as possible, so no bacteria gather on it. Using a toothbrush, gently clean both sides of the retainer and be sure to rinse with warm water.
Adapting to Life Without Braces
Life after braces is an exciting time. One of the most anticipated things for patients is going back to eating without braces, but it’s still important to be careful about the foods you eat. You don’t want to damage your teeth with hard, tough foods, especially since they will still be sensitive post-treatment. Be sure you are taking care of your new smile and listening to your orthodontist.
Your braces are coming off! Just remember that your work doesn’t end here. Wear your retainer and take care of your teeth. You’ve worked hard for your straight, healthy smile!