Getting Your Braces Off?
Braces can help realign your teeth and make for a nice smile, but even so many people want to get them off as soon as possible. There are several things you can do to help keep your mouth clean and help let your braces do the work they need to.
Getting Braces Off Early
Some things you can do to help your get your braces off as soon as possible include:
Keep your mouth clean: Better dental hygiene can allow your teeth to move into the correct position quicker, and shorten the wearing time for your braces.
Chop up solid food: Cut up foods such as raw fruits and vegetables and hard-crusted bread into bite-sized pieces to reduce pressure on braces during eating.
Don’t chew on anything but food: Chewing on objects such as pens and straws can damage braces and result in added time at the orthodontist’s office.
Don’t push your teeth out of line: Activities such as biting your nails and playing with your elastics can prolong the amount of time you have to wear braces. Kick those nervous habits.
Don’t eat hard, sticky or sugary foods, or drink fizzy beverages: Avoid foods such as popcorn, nuts, chips, bubblegum, toffee, caramels and cookies. And don't chew on ice cubes or drink soda pop. All of these things can damage braces and/or cause tooth decay.
Questions About Post-Braces Oral Care
How long will it take to get my braces taken off?
About an hour.
Will I have advance notice that my braces are going to come off?
Probably. Your orthodontist will most likely have told you at your last adjustment that he expects you'll be ready to have your braces removed at the next visit. However, this is only their best guess – if your teeth move unexpectedly, or not enough, between appointments, removal may be postponed.
Will it hurt?
No. You should feel a little pressure when the braces are being removed, but no pain. However, your new retainer may hurt a bit.
What should I expect?
The orthodontist will use pliers to remove all the brackets, thoroughly scrape and clean all the glue off your teeth, and take a mold for your new retainer.
What will my teeth look like?
How your teeth will look depends entirely on how well you cared for them while wearing braces. They may look perfect if you cared for them well, or they may be stained with yellow tartar and marks called "white scars " if you did a poor job.
Don't expect to be completely finished with the orthodontist - almost all patients need to wear a retainer after they get their braces off to hold the teeth in their new positions. Many orthodontists now recommend wearing retainers for years, and sometimes indefinitely, to prevent teeth from slowly shifting out of place.
How should I care for teeth afterwards?
Wait at least a month before any sort of bleaching or whitening treatment. This will give the newly exposed enamel time to become less sensitive. Your teeth and gums will be a bit sensitive at first. Don't immediately rush out and binge on crunchy and chewy previously forbidden foods – ease into it. Schedule a dental cleaning – there are likely areas that have been neglected over the past couple of years (although paying close attention to your oral hygiene will have helped with this).