The day your braces come off is very exciting. You’ve been waiting months if not years to see your brand new smile! The appointment will take around an hour before you’re on your way to show off your new teeth. But before the appointment, you or your child might have some questions about the process and what actually happens. So here’s what you can expect on the big day!
Fitting the Fixed Retainer
In previous appointments, your orthodontist will have discussed retainers after braces. Retainers ensure your teeth don’t move back to their old position or move with age. He may have recommended a fixed retainer for the top and bottom arches (or bottom arch only) to protect your smile long-term.
After cleaning and preparing the back of your teeth, a thin wire is adhered in place and stays in permanently or until you want it removed, there are no needles required to take the braces off and place the fixed retainer. Next, your therapist will discuss maintaining oral hygiene with your retainer. But, after all the practise cleaning your teeth with braces, you won’t have any problems cleaning around your retainer.
It’s finally time to take off your braces! First, we remove the arch-wire then we use special orthodontic pliers to gently crack the adhesive and take the brackets off. We take the metal rings off the back teeth first. Then, we polish all the remaining glue off your teeth.
How your teeth look after the braces are removed depends on how well you looked after them during the treatment. If you did a poor job of cleaning and didn't follow instructions from your orthodontist, you could have yellow staining.
Is It a Painless Process?
Yes, you shouldn’t feel any pain at all! You will feel slight pressure as the brackets are removed, but no pain.
Your New Smile
After you’ve seen the results of your hard work in the mirror, we’ll take the all-important after photos to document your orthodontic journey.
Moulds for the Removable Retainer
Finally, we’ll take impressions of your teeth for your removable retainers. We’ll have your retainers made as soon as possible so they’re ready for you to collect within the next day or two. If it’s any longer, your teeth are at risk of moving. Pick up your retainers as soon as possible and start wearing them full-time (unless you’re eating, drinking or brushing your teeth).
They make your retainers out of very thin, clear plastic so you must take good care of them. Retainers can’t endure the same rough treatment you dish out to a mouthguard. When your retainers need cleaning, don’t use toothpaste as it can abrade the plastic. Instead, use a soft toothbrush with a little hand soap and rinse in cool water. Never immerse or run hot or boiling water over your retainer as the heat can change their shape.
Remember to look after retainers as they’re expensive to replace. If you become complacent, it’s easy for retainers to be accidentally thrown away in a napkin or for the dog to chew them. When you aren’t wearing your retainers, keep them in their case in a safe place so you find them when it’s time to put them back in.
You’ll wear your retainers full time (at least 22 hours per day) for three months then you’ll return to the clinic for a check-up. At this stage, your orthodontist will decide if you need another three months of full-time wear or can drop back to 12 hours per day.
If you lose or break a retainer, contact the clinic without delay to arrange a new one.
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Your Journey to a New Smile Continues
We’ll mail you a copy of your before and after photos so you have a record of how you looked pre-braces. It’s easy to forget how your mouth and face looked all those months ago. Keep your photos in a safe place in case you want to refer to them in years to come. Our younger patients who haven’t had children yet, might want to compare their pre-braces teeth to their children’s teeth. Genetics play a part in jaw size and teeth appearance.
While we have removed your braces, it’s certainly not the end of your orthodontic journey. The clinic will want to see you every three months for the first year. We check you don’t have any problems with your retainers (fixed and removable) and your teeth are settling down in their new position.
After the first year, we may recommend six-monthly or annual appointments, depending on your case. If your wisdom teeth haven’t yet erupted, we’ll keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t cause any problems for your new smile.
Remember that minor changes in tooth positions are expected in every patient throughout life. It is the celebration of life that we are constantly changing and wearing your retainers will minimise these changes. Although there is a lot of individual variation, it is important to understand that minor growth changes in the jaws will reflect in the tooth positions and that it is important to keep your gums healthy to minimise these changes. Many medical conditions that develop in the aging adult may require careful supervision of your tooth relationships by your general dentist/orthodontist.
You will need to visit your dentist for your usual check-up, scale and clean. Your dentist will also check your fixed retainer at these appointments. With proper cleaning and maintenance, your fixed retainer shouldn’t cause you any problems. You should make an appointment with your orthodontist or dentist if the fixed retainer breaks or becomes loose.
If you have any queries about your braces removal appointment or taking care of your new smile after your braces are off, don’t hesitate to contact the clinic.