Caring for Your Smile Post-Braces

Just got your braces off? Wondering what’s next for you and your mouth? This helpful orthodontics guide will outline the most important practices post-braces so you can maintain a healthy, straight smile for years to come. 

Adjusting Without Braces 

Getting your braces off is a good feeling. All the painful adjustments, dos and don’ts, and waiting for a straight smile is over. But once they’re off, you want to make sure you maintain your beautiful smile. 

As soon as your braces are removed, a thorough cleaning is required. This will help remove stains and plaque buildup. It’s impossible to get all the spots that need to be cleaned on your own, so you should make sure you schedule an appointment for a cleaning at your orthodontics office. 

Once your braces come off, it’s common to experience pain for a few days, or even weeks. The pain should soon subside, though. If you experience further problems with your teeth or gums after post-braces, it’s important to contact your orthodontist or dentist. If you play any kind of contact sports, then you need to make sure your mouthpiece fits right. If your existing mouth guard doesn’t fit you properly, it’s time to get fit for a new one.

After all the work you went through to get a great smile, you want to be sure to keep it that way! 

Wearing Your Retainer

The best way to make sure your teeth stay in good shape after getting your braces off is to wear your retainer. The worst thing you can do is get your braces off and never wear your retainer. The last thing you want is your teeth shifting and undoing the entire process you just completed, and likely spent a large amount of money on.

There are a few different types of retainers available. The most popular are the permanent, glued retainer, clear removable retainer, and classic metal retainer, also known as the Hawley retainer. 

  • Permanent (or bonded) retainer: This type of retainer is permanently fixed to the top or bottom of your teeth. It’s harder to maintain, but it’s also harder to damage. You won’t lose it because it’s attached to your mouth, and it’s unlikely to affect your speech. If you have any issues with your permanent retail, you should visit your orthodontist. 
  • Clear, removable retainer: This retainer is also known as the invisible or Essix retainer. This type of retainer is  removable, clear, and plastic. It’s virtually invisible and less bulky, but it can become discolored and warped easily. If it breaks, you can’t fix it; you’ll have to replace it. 
  • Hawley retainer: This is a wire retainer made of metal and acrylic. More durable than plastic options, it can be adjusted for size, and it’s repairable. The wire may irritate your lip or cheeks, and it could affect your speech more than other retainers. 

Your orthodontist can help you determine which retainer is best for you. For the best results, you’ll want to wear your retainer the majority of the time after you get your braces off, especially for the first 4-6 months. This may vary depending on your needs and the recommendation of your orthodontist. 

Proper Oral Care & Hygiene Post-Braces

When it comes to taking care of your mouth post-braces, remember to…

  • Floss every tooth
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash
  • Clean your retainer every day
  • Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months
  • Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush

These things are all easy to do and create good, life-long habits for your oral health. After you’ve had braces, these steps are especially important to follow after reintroducing sticky, hard, and crunchy foods back into your life. 

Orthodontics Services in St. Augustine

After your braces come off, it’s easy to slip back into your old habits. But instead of doing that, you should build new, healthy habits. Not only do you want to get your money’s worth from your orthodontics treatment, but you want your teeth to remain as straight as the day you got your braces off. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call today at 904-295-0197 or contact us for more information. Our orthodontics services are available to those in St. Augustine, St. Johns, and the surrounding FL communities.