Although all orthodontic treatments are intended to help you achieve straighter, healthier teeth, each treatment has characteristics that set it apart! One of the most common misconceptions that many people have after having their braces removed is that their treatment is finished. This could not be further from the truth; in fact, the next step in your journey has only just begun!
Here are five things you should know about what happens after your braces are removed or your clear aligner treatment is finished:
1. You will be able to wear a retainer!
After braces or clear aligners, your orthodontist will fit you with a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made orthodontic appliance that aids in the stabilization of your teeth’s final position after braces or clear aligners treatment is completed. Retainers can be fixed in place, or they can be removable.
The most common type of retainer is a thin, translucent plastic retainer (like clear aligners) that prevents your teeth from shifting and undoing all of your hard work in making them beautiful! Your retainer should be worn as directed by your orthodontist.
Because the teeth are in bone (rather than stone), retainers must be worn at night for the rest of one’s life to ensure that the teeth do not move and return to their pre-treatment position. When your braces or clear aligner treatment is finished, your orthodontist will tell you everything you need to know about wearing your retainer!
2. You may require a professional dental cleaning.
Depending on the type of orthodontic treatment you chose, you may need to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned after your braces are removed.
While discoloration can be as simple as food and beverage staining, poor oral hygiene and excessive soda consumption are the leading causes of post-orthodontic decalcification (white spots).
After treatment, your orthodontist will advise you on the best way to have your teeth cleaned and/or whitened!
3. You may experience tender teeth and gums after wearing braces.
After having their braces removed, patients can expect mild to moderate tenderness in their teeth and gums. This sensation, however, should pass in a few days to a week! Warm saltwater rinses and over-the-counter Tylenol can alleviate pain.
4. Your braces removal appointment should only take one hour!
The length of your exciting braces removal appointment will be determined by your specific case, but braces can be removed fairly quickly in general!
Your orthodontist will then take x-rays and photographs of your post-braces results. To create your retainer, they will also need to take some more impressions.
Finally, your orthodontist will show you how to put your retainers on and care for them.
5. You should not feel any discomfort.
Having your braces removed is really a simple procedure! The process is painless, with the exception of some minor pressure while your braces are being removed. Your orthodontist will use a specialized tool to squeeze off the brackets that are attached to your teeth to remove your braces. Your orthodontist will apply just enough pressure for them to pop off easily. Any remaining cement residue on the teeth will be polished away.
If you are interested in Orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, please visit the Texas Association of Orthodontists’ online directory and find a specialist near you.