It’s finally here! After nearly 18 months after having your braces installed in your mouth, you eagerly visit the orthodontist and finally have your braces removed, revealing a beautiful new smile. The deed is done, and you’re ready to strut your stuff. But before you share your new smile with the world, you might want to know how to keep your newly-aligned teeth intact.
While often forgotten about during the de-bracing of your newly straightened teeth, retainers are the next instrumental player in maintaining that fresh smile. We at Sycamore Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry have a few recommendations for ensuring you can enjoy the fruits of your time and effort for the rest of your life – and it starts with your retainer.
Your New Smile
You’ve worked hard for that new smile, and you should get to flaunt it for a long time. That means making sure your teeth don’t shift back after your braces are removed. Wearing a retainer helps keep teeth in place by molding them to your now-straight smile. Typically, orthodontists recommend that patients wear their retainer consistently, day and night, for a couple of months.
After your braces are off, it’s important to continue brushing and flossing regularly. Rinsing your mouth with fluoride even after treatment can prevent plaque buildup and bad bacteria. Including these daily tasks into your dental routine can allow your new smile to stay looking good for the long-term
Taking Care of Your Retainer
Your retainer will be your smile’s best friend, so treat it with care! Your orthodontist will provide you with specific cleaning instructions for your retainer at your debonding appointment, but in general, you’ll want to brush it at least once a day using lukewarm water, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a small amount of dish soap. This helps remove plaque and other debris. Avoid using a toothbrush, mouthwash, or denture cleaner on your retainer, as this can reduce its lifespan.
Be sure to remove your retainer when eating, flossing or brushing your teeth, or playing contact sports to keep it safe. You don’t want to lose it, so bring your retainer case with you wherever you go. It’s also a good idea to be proactive and get a spare retainer in case you lose your retainer.
Maintain Your Oral Hygiene Routine
Keeping up with your hygiene routine consistently is crucial to maintaining your beautiful smile. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time and floss every night before bed to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. In addition to brushing and flossing every day, you should try to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking anything other than plain water. This is especially useful if you consume a fair amount of sugar in your food and drinks. Rinsing with water will cut down on the amount of sugar that adheres to the teeth and help prevent tooth decay. Rinsing after drinking dark beverages like coffee, tea, and wine can also prevent staining.
Maintain Regular Check-Ups
Getting a dental cleaning right after your braces are removed is an excellent idea since your dental team can remove any accumulated plaque while you wear them. A post-treatment dental exam will also help you catch any issues that may need attention and keep your new smile bright and shiny. But don’t stop there! Scheduling regular dental check-ups every six months or so will help prevent gum and dental issues that could undermine your investment in oral health with orthodontics.
Whitening Helps Them Glow
After treatment, a certain amount of decalcification occurs and can result in opaque white spots on the teeth. Many patients opt for teeth whitening treatments to brighten their newly straightened smile, so if you feel like your teeth look a little stained or discolored after a dental cleaning, you may want to explore these options.
Whitening toothpaste is another easy solution for teeth that need a bit of a whitening boost, while in-office or at-home treatments should be available through your dentist. Remember that your teeth may be temporarily sensitive following your debonding appointment; some whitening treatments can also cause an increase in tooth sensitivity, so you may want to wait a while before adding in any whitening treatments.
Get The Most Out Of Your Smile At Sycamore Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry
At Sycamore Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, our team of experts is ready to help your family smile bright for many years to come. At our practice, located in Sycamore, IL, Dr. Barysenka and Dr. Sarah are committed, highly-qualified professionals who care deeply about each of their patients. Your family is special, so we tailor our cleanings and treatments to help you and your child feel comfortable. If you or someone you know is interested in orthodontic treatment, please give us a call. We’d love to help you start your journey to a brighter smile.