Braces are one of the most widely preferred orthodontic treatments for teeth straightening across all age groups – be it kids or older people. From getting white ceramic braces to traditional ones, these orthodontic appliances have come a long way. Crooked, crowded, misaligned or improperly spaced teeth – all can be rectified with the help of braces. As per your orthodontic condition, you may have to keep them on for at least 18 months or even more. Besides, you also need to stick to certain dietary restrictions and follow a strict oral hygiene routine.
However, once the braces are removed after the completion of treatment, you need to keep certain important factors in mind to care for your teeth properly. If ignored, the condition of your teeth may deteriorate and all your efforts may amount to nothing. To begin with, you may notice certain changes in your mouth such as calluses, discolored teeth, etc. Some of these changes may disappear without any efforts from your end. Apart from these, listed below are certain factors which are important when it comes to caring for your teeth post braces:
- Dental Checkup and Cleaning – Ask your dentist about a dental exam and cleaning session shortly after your braces are removed. The dentist will check whether any oral issues have developed or not. Even a simple tartar buildup if neglected can result in serious oral health issues in the long run. This is important because cleaning your teeth thoroughly with braces is quite challenging. Hence, a bit of negligence is inevitable. Once they are removed, the teeth become completely accessible and hence can be cleaned thoroughly.
- Oral Hygiene Routine – You may tend to go easy on brushing and flossing since it is much easier now as compared to it was earlier with your braces on. However, you shouldn’t be negligent about your oral hygiene routine. Choose a brush with soft bristles, since your teeth may be sensitive after removing the braces. Floss daily and lastly, rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash.
- Diet – You need not follow the strict restrictions like those which were prescribed to you when you had your braces on. But, you still need to be careful about what you eat. Avoid eating or drinking anything which is very hot or cold for a few weeks after your braces are removed. Also, do not eat any extremely chewy or crunchy foods for a while. This is just to ensure that your teeth adjust to their new positions properly and their sensitivity isn’t aggravated.
- Teeth Whitening– You may notice certain discolored areas on your teeth and want to go for teeth whitening treatments. However, you need to be a bit more patient and wait for about a month or two before going for any whitening treatments. This is because once your braces are removed your teeth may turn sensitive and any whitening products may cause discomfort.
- Retainers – Once you have your braces removed, the teeth might go back to their misaligned position. To prevent this, it is important that you wear retainers. These help to retain the teeth in their corrected position. They should be worn for at least the first six months post braces. After that, depending on your particular case, your orthodontist will prescribe whether or not you should continue wearing them. Retainers are custom-made and come in three different types:
- Hawley Retainer–It is made from a combination of various metals and acrylic. It is thin and tongue-shaped and is available in different patterns and colors. It is easy to take this retainer off and put it back on.
- Essix Retainer – It is a clear retainer made from plastic and is also extremely easy to remove and wear. It is practically invisible.
- Fixed Retainer – This retainer is directly cemented to the inside of your teeth, mostly canines. You cannot this without a professional procedure.
Ask your dentist about the type of retainer which best suits your needs and how to care for your retainers. It is important to keep them clean to avoid any oral health problems.
Maintaining a high level of dental hygiene while wearing braces and also after they are taken off is essential to retain the hard-earned results. Consult your dentist if you have any more queries regarding how to maintain a healthy smile after having your braces removed.
Author Bio: Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Rome Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health.