Ah, the moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here: your braces are getting removed, and you can enjoy the straight smile you’ve always wanted. However, your work isn’t completely finished! After spending a significant amount of time and money on the beautiful of your dreams, there are some necessary steps you should take in order to protect your investment! Read on to learn what you can expect when it comes to life after braces as well as what you can do to care for your new smile.
The Important Final Phase of Braces
The last part of your orthodontic treatment is called retention. Once your smile is straight, your teeth, bone, and gums must get used to their new position. Especially during the first few months after getting your braces removed, your teeth will naturally want to return to their original alignment. That’s why it’s vital that you wear a retainer as your orthodontist instructs. These custom-made oral appliances keep your teeth aligned by reducing their ability to move.
Getting Your Retainer
Right before your braces are removed, your orthodontist will talk to you about retainers. Based on your case, they will recommend one of these three different types:
- Removeable retainers for both arches
- One fixed wire retainer and one removeable
- Fixed wire retainers for both arches
A few days before your braces are taken off, your orthodontist will collect special images and impressions of your smile, which will be used to create your personalized retainers. The amount of time you’ll need to wear your retainers will vary based on your teeth. Some patients must wear their retainers for years while others won’t need them longer than 12 months. Usually, you’ll be able to switch to wearing them only during the nighttime once your teeth become more adapted to their new positions.
Caring for Your New Smile
Life with retainers is easier than having braces, however there are some steps you should take in order to stay healthy and smiling:
- At-home oral hygiene: Remember to brush twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque and bacteria that build up on your smile.
- Visit your orthodontist: Checkup appointments are valuable because they allow your orthodontist to ensure that everything is going smoothly. If there is an issue, they can address it early on. Plus, this is how you know when you can switch to using your retainer only at night.
- Care for your retainer: Follow your orthodontist’s instructions for retainer maintenance. Clear plastic retainers are most popular, but they do require some extra cleaning to keep them almost invisible!
Don’t let the straight smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve slip back into misalignment! Now that you know what to expect, you can protect your beautiful pearly whites and enjoy the grin you’ve always wanted for years to come.
Meet the Orthodontist
Dr. Stan Drabik is a highly trained orthodontist with well over 20 years of experience. He completed his orthodontic certificate at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and he uses his expertise to offer all the orthodontic services you need. For any questions, he can be reached through his website or at his Webster or Rochester locations.