Today’s the day! You’re getting your braces off! You’ve waited months, maybe even years, for this moment. On your orthodontic journey, you probably suffered from cravings for off-limit foods and some discomfort — perhaps even felt self-conscious about your braces. But you did it, you stuck it out, and now you’re getting your braces removed! Our entire team at KBL Orthodontics is proud of you and so excited to help you transition to the next step!
As you move from active treatment (braces) to retention (the process of keeping your alignment in place), we have some important tips and tricks to keep your smile looking as good, if not better, than it did on braces removal day.
Proper oral hygiene is key!
Throughout treatment, we likely stressed the importance of developing a good oral hygiene routine so that your teeth would be happy and healthy when we removed your braces. Well, now we would like to stress to you the importance of maintaining that oral hygiene routine so that you keep your smile happy and healthy! Here is a list of some practices you should continue or begin when in retention:
- Brush and floss twice a day!
- Use quality toothpaste and mouthwash. Products that aren’t right for you can erode your enamel and wear down the gum line.
- Don’t overbrush or brush too hard. Brushing too long and with too much force can wear down the enamel and recede the gum line. Try an electric toothbrush with an automatic timer and pressure sensor to help improve your brushing technique.
- Adjust your diet to avoid acidic or sugary substances that harm the teeth.
- Rinse the mouth with water after eating to remove any residue that can stick to or stain the teeth.
- Use a water flosser! These devices help rid the mouth of anything left behind by brushing and flossing. They are perfect for those hard-to-reach places and stubborn food particles.
- Replace your toothbrush head every three months and the tip of your water flosser every six months. Unclean tools are less effective!
Remember — a consistent routine with good habits rids the mouth of bacteria and plaque that can cause tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, or even tooth loss, among other things. If you would like personalized guidance or product recommendations, contact Dr. Lewis at KBL Orthodontics or your trusted dentist. Both offices are happy to help you improve your oral hygiene regimen.
Wearing your retainer is a necessity!
When your teeth have reached their final positions and we take your braces off, your mouth will likely need more time to stabilize around the teeth. During the stabilization period, your teeth, unless stopped, will try to shift back to their original positions. This is called regression. To prevent this, we will give you a retainer.
A retainer is an orthodontic appliance that can be fixed or removable, like the Hawley or essix. It is designed to hold your teeth in place as your mouth gets situated around the teeth and fills the gaps where they used to be. Neglecting or forgetting to wear your retainer gives your teeth the time and freedom they need to regress. If they shift enough, you might have to undergo active treatment again.
Don’t forget to clean your retainer!
You’re going to be wearing your retainer a lot, and in order for it to safely and effectively do its job, it needs to be clean and in good condition. Fortunately, they’re low-maintenance appliances!
The proper cleaning routine for your retainer depends on the kind of retainer that you have. Like your mouth, your retainer can gather bacteria and plaque and cause the same issues. A clean retainer is a must for a healthy you! Be sure to ask Dr. Lewis for instructions when you receive your appliance.
Retainers are small and easy to lose and damage. When you are not wearing them, put them in their protective case! The case safeguards your retainer from germs and physical danger and decreases the chance you might lose it. You might be surprised to find out how many retainers get chewed up by pets or left behind in public spaces, never to be seen again. So, take your case with you everywhere you go!
Follow-up appointments and dental cleanings keep you healthy!
When you enter retention, you’ll have to go to follow-up appointments with us at KBL Orthodontics so that Dr. Lewis can monitor your alignment’s stability and ensure that your retainer is doing its job.
We also strongly encourage you to attend your regular dental cleanings with your dentist. Your teeth will be professionally cleaned and X-rayed! The dentist will also look for signs of tooth decay or disease, among other things. If necessary, they will administer treatment and devise a prevention plan. These visits are vital for the health of your mouth and maintaining your smile after braces, so be sure to make your appointment!
Have questions about retention or oral healthcare? KBL Orthodontics is honored and thrilled to continue working with you in your retention phase. We are dedicated to and passionate about providing outstanding customer service and orthodontic care to you and your family at every stage of your orthodontic journey. If you need to schedule a follow-up appointment with our talented team, require a new retainer, or just have questions about retention or orthodontics, please reach out to us!