Today is the big day! You’re getting your braces taken off! This day has been circled on your calendar for months, maybe even years. You avoided all the right foods, took great care of your teeth, and wore your rubber bands daily. It was hard work getting this smile to look so good!
Now that your braces are gone, let’s go over some things you need to do to keep your smile in top-notch shape.
Is my retainer really necessary?
Teeth have excellent “memories,” and, more often than not, they are unhappy that we moved them. When your braces are off, your teeth will try to return to their original positions. That’s why you need to wear a retainer!
A retainer is designed to hold your teeth in place and can be fixed or removable. If your retainer is removable, it is critical to wear it as prescribed by Dr. Chandler or Dr. Anderson! Neglecting or forgetting to wear your retainer gives your teeth time and room to shift. If this happens enough, your teeth’s movement might warrant a restart in active treatment.
It might be hard to feel motivated or excited to wear your retainer, especially with the thrill of removing your braces, but it’s essential to wear it appropriately to keep your teeth aligned. The more you wear it, the quicker any discomfort subsides as it blends into your routine.
Okay, okay, I’ll wear it. But how do I take care of it?
Taking care of a retainer is super easy, and cleaning it only takes a few minutes!
You’re going to be wearing your retainer a lot. In order for it to safely and effectively do its job, you will want to clean it regularly and keep it in good shape. The best way to maintain a retainer depends on the kind of retainer you have, so be sure to ask Dr. Chandler and Dr. Anderson for cleaning instructions when you receive your appliance.
When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should be in its protective case! The case protects your equipment from physical damage and germs. You might be surprised to find out how many retainers accidentally end up in public trashcans, chewed up by a beloved pet, or stepped on after falling to the floor. Putting your retainer in its case makes it easier to keep up with and guards it against microscopic dangers.
No braces mean I can floss less, right?
Wrong! Getting your braces off does not mean you can start skipping out on your oral hygiene! When you’re in active treatment, we continuously stress the importance of maintaining a consistent routine. Good habits rid the mouth of bacteria and plaque that cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease or other infections, and even tooth loss!
In retention (the process of keeping teeth in their current positions), it’s crucial to keep the following practices to keep your smile looking fantastic!
- Brushing and flossing twice a day!
- Using quality toothpaste and mouthwash! Poor products can erode your enamel and hurt your gums. Ask your orthodontist or dentist for recommendations that best suit your needs.
- Refraining from overbrushing or brushing too hard. Brushing for too long or with too much force can wear down the enamel and push your gums down. Try an automatic toothbrush with a timer and pressure sensor to help improve your technique for the perfect time-to-pressure ratio.
- Rinsing your mouth with water after meals to remove any residue that might stick to or stain the teeth.
- Continuing to use your water flosser! These devices use streams of water at various pressures to clean the mouth of plaque and stubborn food particles.
- Replacing your toothbrush head every three months and the tip of your water flosser every six months.
Do I still have to see a dentist or orthodontist?
Yes! Especially during the early months of the retention process, it’s important to come to your checkups so we can ensure your retainer is doing its job and your teeth are staying in place.
It is also vital to attend your regular cleanings with your dentist. At these appointments, your teeth will get professionally cleaned, and your dentist will check for cavities, infections, illness, and other complications. Then, if necessary, they will administer treatment and help create a prevention plan with you. Attending these appointments on time allows your dentist to find issues before they permanently damage your smile.
Foothill Orthodontics is Here For Your Post-Treatment Needs!
When you’re a patient at Foothill Orthodontics, your care starts from the moment you make your first phone call and lasts forever. Our passionate and dedicated team is here for you every step of the way.
If you ever have any questions about your oral health or need a new retainer, please feel free to reach out to us to make an appointment. We look forward to seeing your smile transformation!