How to Care for Your Teeth After Braces

If you or someone you know has recently had their braces removed, you know just how exhilarating it can be! Hard and sticky foods are back on the menu, and brushing and flossing feel like a breeze. We are thrilled for you to enjoy all that life can offer after your braces come off, but we also want to set you up for success as you maintain your oral health into the future.

Dr. Levin at Levin Orthodontics has seen many patients who have successfully transitioned from braces, and he knows all the best tips and tricks for you to enjoy your new, straight smile. He also knows some potential challenges and how to prevent them with habits, care, and support from an orthodontist! Let’s dive in! 

The Basics 

These are a few things you should prioritize when first getting your braces off: 

Dental Cleanings

After having your braces on for the past few months or years, it’s finally time to go see the dentist for a cleaning. Regular dental cleanings are an essential part of your oral health habits, but it’s especially helpful when your braces first come off. Many patients end up having plaque and tarter buildup that they couldn’t see when the braces were on. No matter how great your habits were while wearing braces, some sneaky plaque is really common, so no shame. 

A dental cleaning can help take care of any of that hidden plaque or buildup, and just give you a fresh start with a metal-free mouth.

Regular Oral Hygiene Routine

We hope that you’ve maintained a diligent oral hygiene routine while wearing braces, and if so, then bravo! But remember that keeping your teeth clean is still as important as ever once the braces come off. Continue with twice daily brushes, or more, and flossing at least once per day. You’ll notice how much easier brushing and flossing will seem after getting braces off, and you can also try out other tools like a water flosser. Whatever you choose, just be consistent in order to keep those pearly whites clean!

Wearing and Caring for Retainers

A retainer will be one of the biggest adjustments once you get your braces off, but we know that you’re up for the challenge! Depending on what kind of retainer you have, you will need to remember to wear it as directed by Dr. Levin, store it, and keep it clean. Here are our tips:

For removable retainers like the Essix which is made out of clear plastic, or the Hawley which is made from acrylic and metal wires, you will need to clean them daily. When removing your retainer, rinse it well with lukewarm water, and then scrub with a toothbrush and a gentle cleaning fluid like alcohol-free mouthwash or hand soap. After scrubbing all over, rinse well again and it’s ready to store or wear!

If you have a permanent retainer made of wire cemented to the back side of your teeth, you will clean the retainer during your daily brushes. Scrub well with your toothbrush all around and underneath the retainer, and use a floss threader to floss underneath the wire. And don’t forget to still use caution when eating hard or sticky foods, as you don’t want to break your retainer!

Extras to Consider

Now that you know the most important things, here are a few extras to consider depending on your situation:

Sensitive Teeth

Dr. Levin has noticed that some patients have more sensitive teeth after getting their braces removed. This is because after so many months or years of being covered up by brackets, more of your tooth enamel is exposed to environmental factors like temperature or textures. This sensitivity typically goes away with time, maybes a few days or a week.

Teeth Whitening

Many of our patients are eager to try out teeth whitening once their braces are off. This is especially true for those who have plaque or discolored spots dues to a lack of cleaning while their braces were on. Depending on how stubborn those spots might be, we would recommend a professional whitening treatment at the dentist, but many people get results they love from whitening toothpaste or store-bought treatments. 

Manage Stress and Jaw Clenching

One thing to always pay attention to, braces or not, is if you are regularly grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. This is called bruxism and is frequently caused by stress. Unfortunately, bruxism can have some serious negative impacts on your oral health. It would be so disappointing to get your braces off to only discover more tooth trouble like worn enamel or TMJ pain.

Talk to your doctor or dentist to help find solutions to your jaw-clenching problems as soon as you can to avoid long-term issues. Some options might be oral devices that keep the teeth from clenching at night, or lifestyle changes to help you manage your stress.

Levin Orthodontics is Ready for Your Transformation!

With so many success stories over the years, Dr. Levin can’t wait for you to be the next one. Trust our team with your orthodontics and discover the beautiful smile you always dreamed of! Call our office in Sandy Springs or Marietta to set up a free consultation to learn the next steps and get started!

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