Removing Braces – The Whole Process

One of the most exciting days for people with braces is the day they finally get them removed. If you have braces yourself, you probably can't wait for the day when they will be forever gone from your mouth and you can flash your new, straight smile at everyone you know. But don't be so quick to think that your teeth straightening saga is over. You will still need some kind of orthodontic intervention to ensure that the work done on your teeth doesn't reverse itself.

Braces and Oral Health

Many people want braces in order to look better, but in fact, straight teeth are important for maintaining oral health. Malocclusion is the medical term for poor placement of the teeth; an overbite, underbite, or crowding can all cause speech and eating difficulties and facial disfigurement.

Dental decay is also more common when the teeth are not properly aligned, because food gets stuck between them and it's hard to properly clean them. Therefore, once your braces come off, your orthodontist will take the following measures to keep your teeth in their optimal positions:

  1. Immediately after the braces are removed, your dentist will use a polishing tool to get rid of any residual cement that remains on the teeth.
  2. You will be fitted with a retainer to keep your teeth aligned until your jaw and teeth are fully stabilized. You may have to wear the retainer 24 hours a day, or only at night.

Types of retainers:

  • Overlay – This is made by making an impression of your teeth. Then a mold is made with an acrylic material to form a thin overlay that fits perfectly over your teeth. This type of retainer should be worn for 6 – 8 hours per 24 hours, preferably while you sleep.
  • Permanent wire – This type of retainer is made of a special metal wire, and is cemented to the back of your teeth. It remains in place for whatever period of time your orthodontist determines is necessary. It is recommended for patients who had large gaps closed or whose teeth were severely out of place. It may be hard to clean behind this retainer and hard foods can break it.

It is very important to follow your orthodontist's instructions about where and how to wear your retainer. You will still need to make visits to his office to have your teeth monitored, until he decides that the retainer is no longer necessary. This last part of your orthodontic treatment is worth the effort if you want your teeth to remain as straight as they were they day your braces were removed. Contact a clinic such as Crest Hill Family Dental for more information.