If you’re like us, just about every day has a long to-do list to go along with it. Being busy is a part of life which is why we want our self-care routines to fit in with our schedules, not make them more difficult! At Smiles of Palmetto Bay, we are all about helping our patients care for their smiles in ways that don’t add stress.
Especially when it’s time for your braces to come off, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your care routines and habits, and see what needs to be added, and what can be removed! Let’s spend a little time talking through our top three tips for caring for your teeth after braces, and then three more ideas to keep in mind!
3 Top Care Tips
Wearing and Caring for Your New Retainer
Most people consider the retainer to be the biggest adjustment after your braces come off. It’s true that there are some things you will need to keep in mind, but thankfully it’s super quick and easy once you’ve had a little practice. The most important thing you need to know is that you should wear your retainer as Dr. Ross suggests! It sounds easy, but you would be surprised at how many people simply forget to wear it! Don’t risk losing your beautiful, straight teeth by wearing your retainer as directed.
Cleaning your retainer is just as important as wearing it. Depending on the type of retainer that you have, you may need to remove it in order to clean it daily, like with the Essix or Hawley retainers. Fixed retainers on the other hand are permanently secured onto the back of your teeth to provide constant support for your aligned bite. To clean a fixed retainer just give that part of your teeth a little extra attention while brushing, and don’t skip flossing even though you will likely need a flosser to get the floss underneath the wire.
As for removable retainers, Essix retainers are made of clear plastic while Hawley retainers are made of acrylic and metal. Both of these retainers are sturdy but do need gentle care when cleaning. Daily you should rinse your retainers with lukewarm (never hot!) water and then scrub when well with a toothbrush and gentle cleanser. Don’t use toothpaste, but instead opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash or hand soap. After brushing well, rinse thoroughly and now your retainer is ready to wear or store for later use.
Daily Hygiene Routine
Now is not the time to start slacking on your dental hygiene routine, trust us! It’s now more important than ever to build and maintain habits that will keep your teeth strong for a lifetime. This starts with your twice-daily toothbrushing and daily flossing. If you need help to make sure that you’re cleaning as thoroughly as possible, don’t be embarrassed. Brushing and flossing well takes practice and it’s never too late to learn. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about best practices and tips!
A few extras that you can add in if you like: tongue scraping, mouthwash rinses, or trying out a water flosser!
There is one last essential that you shouldn’t forget once your braces come off: going to the dentist. It might be easy to forget about after all the frequent orthodontist visits over the past few years. But your teeth are in real need of a good cleaning now more than ever, so don’t wait! Schedule a regular dental cleaning soon after braces are off to help get rid of any plaque or tartar build-up that may have occurred while your braces were on. While you’re at it, schedule your next appointment in six months; there’s no better time to get in the swing of regular dental visits.
A Few Post-Brace Extras
If you are feeling excited to show off your new, straight teeth, you certainly aren’t alone. The boost that comes from a confident smile can’t be beat! It’s a great time to consider teeth whitening treatments to make the smile transformation complete. But depending on your circumstances you may want to choose one treatment option over another.
For those who notice discoloration on their teeth after getting their braces off, it might be a good idea to opt for a professional whitening treatment offered at many dental offices. Check-in with your dentist to see if they do teeth whitening, and what the cost might be. This is the most effective way to get your teeth whitened, and would be good for people with tough stains that may not be removed through other methods.
You can also experiment with a whitening toothpaste or a store-bought whitening kit, both of which can be effective and may be cheaper, but will take a bit longer to see results.
Keeping your oral health in check isn’t only about cleaning and straight teeth. Another thing to pay attention to is how much you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Chronic teeth grinding is called bruxism and it can have detrimental effects on your health. From wear and tear on your teeth enamel (or your retainer!) to causing TMJ pain and other jaw issues, you don’t want to leave this alone without consulting your orthodontist.
We Can Help Keep Your Smile Healthy!
At Smiles of Palmetto Bay, we feel lucky to see so many patients have successful treatments during braces and afterward. If you are considering getting braces for the first time, or you need support on your orthodontic treatment before, during, or after, give us a call! Dr. Ross is happy to meet with patients in the Palmetto Bay area!