How to Care for Your Teeth after Braces

Today is the day! You finally get to run your tongue over those smooth and beautiful pearly whites!

Getting your teeth to the point where the braces were ready to come off was no easy task. Along the way, you likely craved foods you couldn’t eat, experienced a bit of discomfort, and maybe even felt self-conscious about your braces once or twice. But you have knocked down the toughest part of the process and finished active treatment. 

Congratulations! This is a huge milestone, and our entire team at Dillehay Orthodontics is delighted and excited for you! We love helping our patients create amazing smiles.

Now that your braces are off and your teeth look exactly how you imagined, it’s time to go over what you can do to keep them looking this way for years to come.

Get Excited About Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Now is the best time to up your oral hygiene game and show your new smile some love. Maintaining a good routine eliminates bacteria and plaque that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease or other infection, or tooth loss! To keep your teeth and gums healthy, remember to…

  • Brush and floss twice a day and use quality mouthwash and toothpaste. The right kind of toothpaste can significantly improve your oral health. Ask Dr. J.K. Dillehay about his favorite brand! 
  • Avoid over-brushing or brushing too hard! This can wear down the enamel and damage the gum line. Try an automatic toothbrush with a timer and pressure sensor to improve your brushing technique.
  • Be sure to rinse your mouth with water after meals to remove any residue that might stick to or stain the teeth. 
  • Evaluate your diet, specifically the number of acids or sugars you regularly eat. Too much of either substance can erode your enamel and make you vulnerable to tooth decay and other complications. 
  • Consider investing in a water flosser if you haven’t already. Water flossers use a stream of water at various pressures to clean the mouth of bacteria, plaque, and stubborn food particles. But note the devices are meant to be used in addition to thread flossing, not as a replacement.
  • Did you know you are supposed to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three months and replace the tip of your water flosser every six months? Over time, the brushes’ bristles become brittle and less effective, and both begin collecting germs and bacteria. Replacing them on time prevents these germs, and a new toothbrush or flosser is always a fun treat!

Everyone’s oral healthcare needs are different. If you have questions about your routine or are unsure what product to use, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Dillehay Orthodontics.

Wear Your Retainer

You’ve heard it before, but it is super important that you wear your new retainer. The pressure that braces apply to your teeth causes the ligaments to soften, and bone remodel occurs. Once the teeth are in their final positions, the bone and ligaments need a little more time to get situated around the teeth. That’s where your retainer comes in!

Teeth have excellent memories and would, unfortunately, prefer being in their original spots —and they don’t hesitate to move, either! Your retainer is designed to hold the teeth in place while your mouth gets used to its new snazzy look. 

But how long will you need to wear your retainer? At first, you will likely need to wear it 24/7. After a while, Dr. J.K. Dillehay may decrease your frequency or suggest a best practice. It is crucial that you follow these instructions exactly, especially during the first year of retention. 

Neglecting to wear your retainer means your teeth have all the space they want to shift and move around. If you forget to wear it often enough, you might have enough movement to require additional treatment. While we are always happy to see all our patients at Dillehay Orthodontics, our priority is aligning your smile and keeping it that way. 

Take Care of Your Retainer

For your retainer to safely and effectively do its job, you’ll need to keep it in good condition! You will be wearing your retainer a lot, and since it is unlikely that there will be a time when you will never need it, you want to keep it clean and in tip-top shape. However, if your dog crunches it or you accidentally drop it in the garbage disposal, we can help you replace it!

Keep it in its protective carrying case when you are not wearing your retainer! Retainers are small, thin, and sometimes transparent. They can be easily lost or broken. Plenty of retainers end up in restaurant trashcans or stepped on after falling off a bedside table. Placing them in the case is easy to keep track of your retainer while safeguarding it from germs and physical damage.

You should also clean your retainer once a day. The proper way to clean it depends on the type of retainer you have. Follow Dr. J.K.’s instructions to ensure your retainer is always in the best shape.

Prioritize Your Dental Checkups and Cleanings

After active treatment, you will likely still need to see us here at Dillehay Orthodontics for a few checkups. Staying on top of these appointments is crucial to maintaining your alignment. We are so excited about your new smile and want to help you keep it by monitoring your retainer use and retention progress. 

It’s also necessary to keep up with regular cleanings and other dental appointments, ensuring your teeth are happy and healthy. Attending your dental checkups gives your dentist a chance to clean your teeth and gums of bacteria and plaque. They also look for and treat any potential issues or infections before they cause serious harm to your smile.

How to Care for Your Teeth after Braces

We are Proud of You

It took a lot of hard work, sacrifices, and patience, but you did it! You made it through the braces phase! We are so proud of you! Our entire team at Dillehay Orthodontics was excited to watch your smile transformation and are thrilled to help maintain it upon the completion of active treatment.
If you have any questions or need a new retainer, please get in touch with us to book an appointment at one of our four convenient locations! We can’t wait to hear how much you love your new smile!