After spending months, or even years, diligently caring for your teeth while wearing braces, the last thing you want is to be handed a list of care instructions for what to do after your braces are removed. Unfortunately, that is exactly what will happen, but it is being done for a good reason – to keep your teeth healthy and straight.
Why Caring for Your Teeth is Important After Wearing Braces
Once your braces have been removed, your teeth will still want to shift and change, it is a natural process. Properly caring for your teeth after wearing braces will help you to decrease your chances of having your teeth shift into worse positions.
Teeth won’t always “go back” to where they used to be, but teeth always have a tendency to move and it won’t be to a better position. If poor compliance leads to negative tooth movement, you will be faced with a difficult decision: accept the shifting that has occurred and hold them in their new positions or undergo orthodontic treatment again. It is better not to be faced with deciding between these less than ideal options.
How to Care for Your Teeth After Wearing Braces
Some aspects of caring for your teeth after you have worn braces are no different than how you cared for your teeth before braces or while wearing braces. You will still need to brush and floss regularly, as well as having regular cleanings with your dentist. However, there are a few new things, such as having to wear a retainer and regularly cleaning your retainer.
Basic things you will have to do to care for your teeth after wearing braces include:
- Brushing at least twice a day. Ideally, you would brush after every meal and after snacks, but not everyone has the ability to do so throughout the day. Brush a minimum of twice a day.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Schedule regular examinations with your general dentist to check for any potential problems such as cavities or gum disease.
- Schedule regular cleanings, at least every six months, with your general dentist
- Avoid engaging in certain bad habits, such as chewing ice or biting on your pencil, that could chip or damage your teeth
Some things that you will have to do that you didn’t before wearing braces include:
- Wearing your retainer on a daily basis. Usually, when your braces are first removed you will have to wear your retainers close to full time for a period specified by your orthodontist. This prevents your teeth from shifting and moving around. After a while, you will be able to transition to only wearing the retainers at night.
- Regularly clean your retainers. You can brush the retainers with toothpaste. This should be done at least twice a day if you wear the retainers all day. Once you wear the retainers only at night, you can soak them in undiluted white distilled vinegar every day and brush them occasionally with the toothbrush. Vinegar is an excellent disinfectant and helps keep tartar from building up on the retainers.
- Check the retainer for any damage. If you notice any damage on your retainer, schedule a visit with your orthodontist. He or she may be able to fix your retainer or you can have a new one made.
- Consider a professional whitening treatment with your general dentist. If teeth are well cared for during treatment, there should not be any damage. However, the natural coloration and shading of teeth can vary quite a bit and some people prefer super white teeth. After braces are removed you can schedule a professional teeth whitening treatment if you desire whiter teeth.
Reddick Orthodontics wants all of our patients to keep their smiles healthy long after wearing braces. That is why we provide detailed instructions on how to care for your teeth after your braces are removed. After reviewing the instructions, should you have any questions about dental care after braces, our staff will gladly answer them for you.
Have additional questions about dental care after braces? Feel free to call our office. We will gladly answer any question you may have!