When it starts getting close to the time you will get your braces off, you might be full of questions. What will it feel like? What will I look like? Will it be weird? And the truth is–until you experience it, you just don’t know!
Thankfully there are plenty of things about life after braces that you can learn in advance, and Dr. Varallo from Varallo Orthodontics is excited to share them with you. His first priority is to always make sure that his patients are prepared for every stage of their treatment, even the last one when the braces are gone for good.
Ready to learn a bit more about how to care for your teeth after braces? Below are Dr. Varallo’s top three care tips, and then a few extras that you might not have considered yet.
3 Top Care Tips
Daily Hygiene Routine
Brush and floss your teeth. It never gets old this advice, does it? And for good reason. Since long before you had braces, and long after, brushing and flossing have been the mainstay of good oral hygiene and dental health. Getting braces will certainly help your teeth stay strong and healthy for longer, but it can only last as long as you are diligent about brushing and flossing.
Thankfully it’s easier than ever to care for your teeth now that the braces are gone! Dr. Varallo recommends brushing your teeth at least twice per day in the morning and evening and flossing once daily. If you find flossing difficult to maintain, you can try out a water flosser that uses a pressurized stream of water to remove plaque in between teeth. Just be sure to find a flossing method that works for you and stick with it.
Wearing and Caring for Your New Retainer
Wearing your retainers is absolutely essential when the braces first come off and long after. Your orthodontist can recommend how often and how long, but know that wearing your retainer is what will preserve all of your hard work and investment toward your stunning straight teeth!
Caring for your retainer means brushing it at least once daily. It might seem like a tedious task at first, but trust us that it’s much nicer to put a nice clean retainer back into your mouth than a crusty, dirty one. Brush your retainer using lukewarm water, a toothbrush, and a gentle cleanser of choice, such as toothpaste or a commercially-available product. We like alcohol-free mouthwash or Retainer Brite. After giving it a thorough scrub on all sides, just rinse the retainer well, and it’s ready to go!
Ensuring you maintain a habit of bi-annual cleaning during your treatment will not only help now, but once your braces are off, your teeth will thank you for keeping up with your regularly scheduled appointments!! Some people find regular dentist appointments to be annoying to remember or even scary or overwhelming. We, on the other hand, look forward to our bi-annual cleanings knowing that we’ll walk out with a clean and healthier smile.
Other Things You Should Know
One oral problem that can happen with or without braces is clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth, otherwise known as bruxism. You should definitely talk to your doctor or dentist about bruxism after the braces come off, as it can seriously impact your new smile. Things like enamel wear that can turn into tooth sensitivity or even decay, or TMJ pain, can be really challenging to deal with later. Consider some lifestyle changes to reduce stress, as well as what other options your doctor might suggest.
If you’re excited to see a straighter and whiter smile, you aren’t alone. Many patients at Varallo Orthodontics ask us about teeth whitening options when their braces are removed, and we have some suggestions for the best method based on your circumstance. First, make a note of the state of your smile after braces. Is the color even? Or are there stains from plaque buildup? If it’s the latter, we recommend going with a professional whitening treatment from your dentist. Only professional treatments can effectively treat stains and discoloration on your teeth.
If you notice that your teeth are feeling sensitive after the braces come off, don’t freak out! It’s perfectly normal and has happened to many people. Sensitivity comes from exposing part of your tooth enamel for the first time in many months. Your enamel is unused to temperature changes, so be patient, as the sensitivity typically goes away in a few days.
We’re Here to Care for You!
No matter what the learning curve is like, Varallo Orthodontics is here to help. We walk our patients through each step of their treatment, including after braces, and are always eager to help them keep and care for those stunning smiles. If you are ready for a straight smile of your own, you should give us a call today to set up an appointment at our offices in Arlington or Burlington! Plus, your first consultation is free!