If you’ve worn braces for any period of time, you certainly understand the challenges that came with eating (or not eating!) your favorite meals. When the day comes for you to finally have them removed, it’ll be an amazing day! So what happens after your braces are removed and what can you do to prepare?
Here are some of the most common questions asked about removing braces:
6 Things to expect after braces are removed
Whether you underwent braces treatment with Damon Clear self-ligating braces, Spark aligners or Invisalign clear aligners, the process after orthodontic treatment is basically the same across-the-board.
Although all orthodontic treatments are designed to help you achieve straighter, healthier teeth, each treatment possesses qualities that make them unique! One of the biggest misconceptions that many people have immediately after any of these orthodontic appliances have been removed is that their treatment is complete. This couldn’t be further from the truth; in fact, the next step in your journey is just getting started!
Here are 6 things to know about what happens after braces are removed or clear aligner treatment is complete:
1. You get to wear a retainer!
Your orthodontist will provide you with a retainer after braces or clear aligners. A retainer is a custom-made orthodontic appliance that helps stabilize the final position of your teeth after braces or Invisalign treatment is complete. Retainers can be either fixed in position and cemented in the mouth, or removable.
The most common type of retainer is a thin, translucent plastic retainers (like clear aligners) that prevent your teeth from shifting and reversing all of the hard work that went into beautifying them! For the first 6 months after active orthodontic treatment, your retainer should be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Since the teeth reside in bone (not stone), retainers will need to be worn at nighttime for a lifetime to ensure that the teeth do not move and return to their original pre-treatment position. Your orthodontist will tell you everything you need to know about wearing your retainer when your braces or Invisalign treatment is coming to a close!
2. You may need a professional dental cleaning after braces.
Depending on the type of orthodontic treatment you chose, there is a chance that you will need to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned after braces are removed. The areas of your teeth that were covered by your brackets may show some slight discoloration.
While discoloration can be as simple as staining from food and beverages, poor oral hygiene and drinking too many sodas are actually the leading causes of post-orthodontic decalcification.
Are white spots from braces permanent? No they’re not! You can have your teeth professionally whitened after treatment or use at-home teeth whitening toothpaste and/or mouthwash to clean and whiten all surfaces of your teeth. Your orthodontist will advise you on the best plan of action to have your teeth cleaned and/or whitened after braces are removed!
3. You may have tender teeth and gums after braces.
Patients can also expect to experience some mild to moderate tenderness in their teeth and gums after having their braces removed. However, this sensation should dissipate in a few days to a week! Warm salt water rinses and over-the-counter Tylenol can help ease discomfort.
4. Your braces removal appointment may take about an hour!
The length of your exciting braces removal appointment will depend on your specific case, but in general, braces can be removed pretty quickly! The process entails removing the braces, then polishing the bonding material from the teeth – which typically takes 15-20 minutes.
From here, your orthodontist will take a series of x-rays and photographs of your post-braces results. We will also need to take some more digital impressions to create your retainer.
Finally, we’ll give you instructions on how to wear and take care of your retainers. Having your braces removed is an easy process!
5. You shouldn’t experience any pain.
Aside from some minor pressure while your braces are being removed, the process is pain-free. To remove your braces, your orthodontist will use a specialized tool that enables him or her to squeeze off the brackets affixed to your teeth. Your orthodontist will apply just enough pressure to allow them to easily pop off. Any remaining cement residue will be polished from the teeth. This process is very straightforward and doesn’t damage the enamel on your teeth!
6. Your teeth may feel a little slimy after treatment!
Your teeth will feel very different after orthodontic treatment is complete. Obviously, this can vary from patient to patient, but some of the sensations reported after treatment are:
- Minor bite changes as teeth “settle”
- Having to adjust your bite force when eating
- Tender teeth and gums
- Teeth feel “big and slimy”
These sensations are completely normal, and will, over time, become less pronounced and eventually disappear. Check out this video for 14 more things to expect after braces!
Still have questions about removing braces?
Hopefully, this blog has addressed many of your questions regarding the braces removal process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any remaining questions!
We’re here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment.