Welcome to the exciting world of orthodontic braces! If you currently wear braces, you know that they take some getting used to, but are ultimately worth the effort when you see the transformation of your smile. Of course, that transformation is not fully complete until you get your braces removed. This is an exciting moment, but it’s natural to feel curious about what to expect. In this post, we’ll discuss everything you should know about getting your braces off, from the process itself to what you can expect once your braces are off for good.
What To Expect During The Removal Process
When it comes to actually removing the braces, the process is fairly straightforward. Your orthodontist will use pliers to gently remove the brackets from your teeth, followed by removing the adhesive that’s been holding them in place using a special tool. This part of the process should not be painful; if you do feel any discomfort, let your orthodontist know so that they can adjust their approach accordingly.
Once the brackets and adhesive have been removed, they will clean the teeth thoroughly to ensure that no debris is left behind. They will also check to make sure that there are no final adjustments that need to be made to the teeth or bite. In some cases, you may need to have a retainer fitted at this stage. More on that later!
Life After Braces: Retention
Congratulations, your braces are off! But you’re not quite done yet. In fact, the period after your braces are removed is essential to ensuring that the transformation you just experienced is permanent. This is because your teeth will naturally want to shift back to their original position without the support of the braces. This process is called “relapse,” and it happens to some extent to everyone who has had braces.
To prevent relapse, you will likely need to wear a retainer for some period of time after your braces are removed. Retainers come in different forms, but the basic idea is that they are a kind of “placeholder” for your teeth once the braces are gone. They help your teeth maintain their new position while the gums and jawbone adjust to the changes. You may need to wear your retainer full-time for a while, and gradually scale back to only wearing it at night.
It is absolutely crucial that you follow your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to wearing your retainer. Failing to do so can lead to a relapse, meaning you’ll need to wear braces or other orthodontic devices all over again, which can be a frustrating setback.
Aside from wearing your retainer, you can expect that your teeth will feel a bit strange after the braces are off. You may notice that they are sensitive at first, or that you have a new lisp when you speak. These symptoms should subside relatively quickly as your mouth adjusts to this new, braceless reality!
Caring For Your Teeth Post-Braces
Now that your braces are off, it’s also important to develop good oral hygiene habits so that your teeth stay healthy and beautiful for years to come. If you haven’t been brushing and flossing diligently during your time with braces, it’s time to start! Your orthodontist will likely give you guidance on the best brushing and flossing techniques, as well as information on which dental products are safe to use. You may also want to consider getting your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist, especially if it’s been a while since your last cleaning.
Your orthodontist may also give you additional tips for caring for your teeth post-braces. For example, you may need to wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports, or avoid certain foods that could damage your teeth or cause them to shift out of place. It’s important to stick to these guidelines as part of your overall dental health regimen.
How long will I need to wear my retainer?
The amount of time that you’ll need to wear your retainer can vary depending on your individual situation. Some people may need to wear their retainer full-time for as long as a year after their braces are removed, while others may only need to wear it at night or for a few months. Your orthodontist will be able to give you more specific guidance based on your unique case.
Will it hurt to have my braces removed?
Generally speaking, the removal process itself should not be painful. However, you may experience some discomfort or sensitivity in the days or weeks following the removal as your mouth adjusts to being without braces. This is typically short-lived and should not interfere with your daily activities.
Can I eat whatever I want once my braces are off?
It may be tempting to go all-out on the sticky, chewy, and crunchy foods that you’ve been avoiding during your time with braces, but it’s important to ease into your normal diet. Your teeth are still adjusting to their new position, and they may be more sensitive than usual. Start with softer foods and work your way up to anything particularly crunchy or chewy. Your orthodontist may also have specific guidelines on what foods to avoid altogether in order to keep your teeth healthy and in their new position.
Getting your braces removed is an exciting milestone in your orthodontic journey. While there may be some adjustments to make afterwards, the end result is well worth it. By following your orthodontist’s instructions for wearing your retainer and taking good care of your teeth, you can protect your investment in your new, beautiful smile for years to come!