Caring For Your Smile After Braces

After months and months of waiting, it’s time to visit your orthodontist to take off your braces. Once braces come off, you can dig into all the foods you missed and enjoy easier dental hygiene practices. Best of all, you will be able to show off your beautiful megawatt smile to the world. Our Gainesville orthodontist, Dr. Mullally, has a number of important tips to note for taking care of your teeth post-braces to maintain a glowing, healthy grin. Studio32 Orthodontics answers common questions patients frequently ask regarding how to care for teeth after braces come off. Contact our office for more information on recommended dental care practices or to speak with an orthodontist.

Will My Teeth & Gums Feel Sensitive?

The days following braces removal can be different for each patient. Yet, the majority of patients notice that their teeth feel slippery on the tongue immediately after braces come off. Patients can also expect a certain degree of tooth and gum sensitivity. While it may be tempting to eat all of the sticky, brittle, and sweet foods that you had to avoid while wearing braces, it’s important to be patient with your new smile. Teeth and gums take time to adjust to life without braces. To accommodate them, choose foods and drinks you would normally consume with braces. Then, slowly incorporate other types of foods and drinks as your oral sensitivity dissipates. For recommendations concerning the best foods and beverages for your new smile, contact your Gainesville orthodontist.  

Should I Get A Professional Cleaning?

Scheduling regular dental care appointments are important for individuals with and without braces. Having your braces taken off is the optimal time for a thorough dental examination and professional teeth cleaning. Now that the orthodontic appliances are gone, your dentist will be able to inspect your teeth and gums much more thoroughly. Because braces can make it difficult to adequately remove leftover food particles and plaque build-up, your teeth may have developed cavities during orthodontic treatment, possibly requiring follow-up appointments with the dentist. Now that your teeth are completely exposed it’s the best time to remediate any dental health issues and optimize your overall oral health. Contact us for tips on avoiding cavities and other oral problems while wearing braces.  

Do I Have To Wear A Retainer?

Wearing your retainer is one of the most important steps in caring for your smile after braces come off. A retainer is a custom-made orthodontic appliance that is designed specifically for your unique smile. There are two types of retainers — permanent and removable. Permanent retainers are fixed with cement to the back of the top and/or bottom teeth to prevent the teeth from moving. Removable retainers have the same purpose as permanent retainers, but can be taken out at any time and are similar to removable orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign. Because removable retainers are not fixed on the teeth, it can be easy to forget to wear them, but maintaining a perfect smile requires regular, consistent use and proper daily care of the retainer. When you first get your braces off, you will have to wear the retainer all day, every day. Over time, your orthodontist may only require you to wear it each night. The team with Studio32 Orthodontics can provide you with tips on proper retainer care — contact us today!

How Should I Care For My Teeth?

Among the many benefits of having a new smile is that daily dental hygiene is typically easier for patients after braces come off. With a completely clean canvas, daily flossing and brushing is a simple process requiring only minimal time. It’s important to note, however, that taking special care of your gums is vital after any orthodontic treatment. Sometimes, while wearing braces, gums become neglected because flossing takes more time and is more difficult to perform. As a result, some people develop receding gums and other gum-related issues. To avoid this, be diligent in your periodontal care by flossing daily, manually massaging your gums, wearing your retainer as directed, and using a toothbrush with soft bristles. According to orthodontics experts, electric toothbrushes are typically gentler on gums than manual toothbrushes.  

Can I Get My Teeth Professionally Whitened?

After braces come off, some orthodontic patients may notice small spots of discoloration on their teeth. Minor discoloration of the teeth is completely normal and any noticeable differences in color and tone should even-out over time with daily oral care. Changes in shade and color of the teeth occur due to brackets and other orthodontic appliances covering specific portions of each tooth while leaving other areas exposed. While it might seem tempting to schedule a professional teeth whitening appointment immediately after completing orthodontic treatment, teeth whitening can be extremely harsh on sensitive teeth. Instead, wait for one to two months after your braces come off before attempting any teeth-whitening treatments.

What Complications Can Develop After Braces?

Two common complications that develop after braces are removed are gum recession and jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ. People who have worn braces at any age are more prone to gum recession which happens when the tissue around the teeth either wears away or is pushed back. The main symptoms of TMJ are clicking of the jaw and difficulty chewing. Your Studio32 Orthodontics orthodontist Dr. Mullally will gently examine your mouth and teeth to correctly diagnose any issues.

Do I Need To See My Dentist After My Braces Are Off?

Yes. Regular visits are still a part of good oral hygiene and give your dentist the opportunity to clean previously hard to reach places covered by the braces. Unfortunately, some people develop cavities around or behind the hardware from food and drink residue. Your dentist will proactively identify cavities and any other oral issues, such as shifting teeth and create a comprehensive treatment plan.