Published on May 17, 2019, Updated on May 17, 2019
You or your child have waited years to finally get your braces removed, and the day has finally come. Before removal, there are a few things that a patient should be prepared for so that there aren’t any surprises after leaving the orthodontic office. Some patients will have plaque buildup on their teeth from their braces, while others will need to continue wearing a retainer for a determined amount of time after braces. Whatever the situation, there are a few tips to know to maintain the progress that the braces have made while you had them, while keeping your teeth healthy and strong at the same time. Read on to find out what to expect when getting your braces removed, and what you can do to maintain your beautiful, straight teeth!
While your child has waited months, if not years, to get their braces removed, the removal process itself is simple and fairly quick. Whether your child has clear brackets or traditional metal braces, the removal process is basically the same. To remove braces, it typically takes around one hour from start to end, and then you’re good to go! The orthodontist will use pliers to remove the brackets, then thoroughly scrape and clean each tooth to remove all the remaining glue. Most patients will feel some pressure during the removal process, but very few ever experience pain. After the brackets are removed and your teeth are cleaned, the orthodontist will then take a mold of your teeth for your retainer. Following that, expect to receive some tips from your orthodontist about using and caring for both your retainer and your teeth after you’ve finished orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontic care doesn’t stop once you get your braces removed, but continues throughout the rest of your life as you maintain good oral health by cleaning your teeth thoroughly and wearing your retainer regularly.
Most, if not all, orthodontic patients will be required to wear a retainer after their braces are removed. Many orthodontists recommend wearing the retainer for years, if not indefinitely, to prevent teeth from shifting over time. Retainers are an essential part of orthodontic treatment because they hold teeth in the correct position once braces are removed. Many times, the teeth are going to be a bit loose and unsteady in their new positions, so retainers make sure that teeth stay in the position that they’re supposed to be. Additionally, as we age, our teeth go through a process called physiological drift, which occurs as we get older and the width of our smiles gets narrower, causing our teeth to crowd. Retainers fight against this process to keep our straightened teeth in the same location that they were when we originally got our braces removed. There are a number of reasons why patients should wear retainers and for how long, but remember, your teeth will stay straight dependent upon how consistent you are about wearing your retainer.
Having a good oral health regimen after your braces is just as important as a good routine during treatment. Especially for children, meeting regularly with the dentist twice a year and having consistent brushing and flossing each day will prevent tooth decay and cavities from forming. Make sure that your child is brushing with fluoride toothpaste to give their teeth the strength that they need to last a lifetime. Check in occasionally with your child’s orthodontist to make sure that the retainer is fitting properly still or if any adjustments need to be made. Schedule a dental cleaning to manage the areas of your teeth that have been neglected over the years due to the location of the brackets and wires. Additionally, ease into eating the crunchy and forbidden foods that you have been missing out on for the past few years. Our teeth and gums are normally pretty sensitive after braces are removed, so they might take some time readjusting to harder-to-eat foods.
At Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we are dedicated to you and your children’s oral health needs. From braces to retainers to surgical orthodontics, we can provide the services that your family needs to receive the best smile that they deserve. For a consultation, call our office at (720) 887-6003. Our experienced team is happy to help you with whatever questions or concerns that you may have. Call today to make that first step towards a healthier smile!