How to Care for Your Teeth After Braces

It’s hard for us at Griffin and Errera Orthodontics to think of a day that is more exciting than getting your braces taken off! You’ve waited months, maybe even years, and suffered through food cravings and discomfort.

Now that you’ve seen how beautiful your teeth look without metal, you’re probably wondering how to keep them that way! Don’t worry, we can tell you!

Wearing Your Retainer Is a Must!

Braces apply pressure to shift your teeth. That pressure soften the ligaments in the mouth and causes bone remodeling. This allows the teeth to move! Unfortunately, when your teeth reach their final positions, and the braces come off, your ligaments and bone need a little more time to become situated. While it is possible for teeth to move at any point in your life, especially after orthodontic treatment, giving the mouth time to adjust decreases the possibility of it happening as quickly or severely. That’s where your retainer comes in!

Your retainer is an orthodontic device worn after braces that is either fixed to the teeth or removable. The appliance keeps your teeth in their current positions and prevents them from regressing. Teeth have fantastic memories and are usually unhappy that we moved them. They’re always trying to move back to their original spots. If you neglect to wear your retainer often enough, your teeth could shift to the point where you need to restart active treatment! It’s important to follow Dr. Griffin’s or Dr. Errera’s instructions closely.

Care for Your Retainer.

You’ll need to clean your retainer once or twice a day. The good news is that caring for it is super easy and only takes a few minutes. Proper care depends on the kind of retainer you have, so be sure to ask for care instructions when you receieve the appliance.

Retainers are small, thin, and sometimes transparent. They can be easy to lose or break. When you are not wearing them, put them in their protective case! The case protects them from germs and physical danger and makes them easier to keep up with! You might be surprised how many retainers are in restaurants or chewed up by curious pets.

You will likely need your retainer for the rest of your life, and they are made to last! While you can always get a replacement, they are not always covered by insurance, so try to take care of it!

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene!

Throughout active treatment, we reiterated the importance of cleaning your teeth and gums. Your teeth and gums can accumulate bacteria, plaque, and germs that cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease and other infections, and tooth loss. You’ll need to maintain the following habits for your mouth to stay healthy and happy even after the braces come off.

  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day!
  • Use quality toothpaste and mouthwash! The right kind can be a huge improvement to your oral hygiene. Harsh mouthwash and toothpaste can erode your enamel and harm your gum line. Ask Dr. Griffin, Dr. Errera, or your dentist for appropriate recommendations.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after meals to remove any residue that might stick to or stain the teeth.
  • Invest in a water flosser if you haven’t already. A water flosser is a device that uses jets of water at various pressures to rid the mouth of bacteria and stubborn food stuck in hard-to-reach places. If you have a fixed retainer, this is especially useful!
  • Don’t overbrush or brush too hard; it can wear down your enamel and push down your gum line. Try an automatic toothbrush with a timer and pressure sensor if you need help improving your routine.
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three months and the tip of your water flosser every six months. Over time, these tools collect bacteria and germs that can spread to your mouth.
  • Adjust your diet, if necessary, to reduce your intake of acidic and sugary substances.

Remember, just a few minutes a day can keep your teeth feeling and looking great!

Attend Your Dental Cleanings and Follow-up Appointments!

Another crucial part of maintaining oral health is to go to your regular dental cleanings. At these appointments, your hygienist will professionally clean your teeth, and your dentist will look for any issues, such as cavities or signs of infection. If need be, they will administer treatment and help you formulate a prevention plan.

When your braces are first removed, you will also need to go to follow-up appointments so that we may monitor your retention progress and be confident your retainer is doing its job. These appointments are usually fast, so they won’t take up much of your day. If you wear your retainer as directed, these will become less frequent over time.

Griffin & Errera Orthodontics Is Here For All Your Retention Needs!

If you have any questions about retention or oral healthcare, or you just need a new retainer, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated staff! Your care starts when you make your first phone call to our office and continues long after your active treatment ends!

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at Griffin and Errera Orthodontics soon!