No caramel apples. No sugar-filled bubblegum. No corn on the cob. You are weeks or even days away from enjoying these pleasantries once again. The time has finally come. After many months, or even years, of having a horrific metal contraption in your mouth, you are finally getting your braces removed. There is no better feeling than having straight, naked teeth. However, you aren’t home free quite yet. Unfortunately, your teeth won’t just stay in the place your braces left them in without proper care and maintenance.
When you have your braces removed, there are two different paths orthodontists will take to keep your teeth straight for the rest of your life. The first, and increasingly more common measure is to install a permanent metal wire behind your teeth, also known as a bonded retainer. Bonded to your teeth, this wire keeps them in place without you having to deal with removable retainers or worry about your teeth moving in the future. The bonded retainer can be left on for many years if your orthodontist feels that movement of the teeth may still occur.
If this is the path the orthodontist chooses, you will still have a few limitations. Because the bonded wire can be broken or come unbounded, it is suggested that you continue to avoid many of the same foods you did while wearing braces. You will also have to use self-threading floss to get your teeth properly cleaned when the wire is in place. When cleaning your teeth, you will want to routinely check to make sure the bond is still intact. If it is broken, food and plaque can build up underneath, leading to possible tooth decay. If you find that the bond is broken, make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible.
The second route the orthodontist can take is giving you a clear or metal retainer that is removable. To create these retainers, the orthodontist will put a metal tray full of a gooey-substance in your mouth and ask you to bite down. This will create a mold to make the retainers from. Your orthodontist will then give you a time period in which you should wear your retainers all day every day unless you are eating or brushing your teeth. After that, you will likely need to wear your retainers every night for many years. Be sure to follow whatever protocol your orthodontist prescribes, as any change in steps taken could result in your teeth moving. With removable retainers, you can eat whatever you did before you had braces; just make sure you take the retainer out before you eat.
You thought the day of naked teeth would never come. However, you can’t get rid of your orthodontist just yet. By following the instructions your orthodontist gives you and keeping up with regular appointments, you will ensure that your teeth stay as straight as they are the day the braces are removed. After enduring all the pain and suffering of braces, the last thing you want to happen is to end up with uneven teeth again.
Written by Dr. Darren Wittenberger, the best orthodontist Columbia MO has to offer, and owner of his own practice, Advance Orthodontics. Dr. Wittenberger enjoys sharing his expertise to ensure people can maintain the healthiest, straightest teeth possible!