Can you believe it? Your braces are off! You probably know way more than you want to about orthodontics and probably never want to sit in an orthodontist’s chair again. The good news is Petty & Bielik Orthodontics still get to be a part of your life. The better news is you have the power to limit our presence!
Here’s everything you need to know about caring for your teeth and how to keep braces from coming back onto the scene:
- Schedule a professional cleaning with your dentist. There will inevitably be stains and build-up. A cleaning will go a long way to remove discoloration, tartar, and plaque. Talk to your dentist about professional whitening options if that’s your preference.
- Lower your odds of gum recession. It’s possible that you will experience gum recession later in life. This can lead to painfully sensitive teeth. The best ways to prevent or reduce recession is by brushing with a soft electric toothbrush.
- Watch for signs of TMJ. People who have worn braces may also experience jaw troubles (known as TMJ) after removal. Talk to your orthodontist if you’re experiencing jaw popping, painful chewing, or unusual headaches. This is often a result of clenching your jaw or teeth grinding and can be addressed in different ways.
- Wear your retainer! By far, the most important job you have now is to preserve the benefits of your braces. You and your braces worked hard to improve your teeth and reposition them over time—your retainer will help maintain that beautiful smile. Retainers also help prevent jaw troubles. (But only if you actually wear them!) Here are some key tips to take care of your mouth’s new best friend:
- Initially, you will likely have to wear your retainer every day. But, over time, you will be able to shift to nighttime only. Follow your orthodontist’s instructions carefully and diligently.
- Keep your retainer in its container when you’re not wearing it. (Digging around in a restaurant’s garbage can to find the napkin it was folded in when you threw it away is no fun!)
- Keep your retainer clean. Wash it at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that is not the tartar control kind (it has an abrasive ingredient). You can also soak your retainer in a solution made with denture cleaning tablets or in non-alcoholic mouthwash.
You should be proud of yourself for all the hard work you put into caring for your mouth these past months. Let’s work together to keep you from becoming a repeat braces customer later in life. Let us know right away if you have any questions or concerns about life after braces—we’re here to help you keep that beautiful smile!