Our team at Johnson Family Orthodontics has loved getting to know you and your family and watching your smile(s) transform! We know you have been waiting for your braces to come off for months, maybe even years! And now that they’re off, we want to help answer the question you’re probably wondering: How can you preserve or improve your new smile?
When we remove your braces, you go from active treatment to retention, which is the process of keeping your teeth in their new positions! Let’s look at some of the most significant things you can do to keep your new look.
Don’t slack on your oral hygiene!
In active treatment, we stressed the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene habits so that your smile would be pretty and healthy when the braces came off. In retention, maintaining good oral hygiene habits keeps your smile happy and healthy! Here are some beneficial practices you should continue (or begin) once the braces are removed.
- Brush and floss twice a day!
- Use quality toothpaste and mouthwash. Products that aren’t right for you can erode your enamel and wear down the gum line.
- Don’t overbrush or brush too hard. Brushing too long and with too much force can wear down the enamel and recede the gum line. Try an electric toothbrush with an automatic timer and pressure sensor to help improve your brushing technique.
- Adjust your diet to avoid acidic or sugary substances that harm the teeth.
- Rinse the mouth with water after eating to remove any residue that can stick to or stain the teeth.
- Use a water flosser! These devices help rid the mouth of anything left behind by brushing and flossing. They are perfect for those hard-to-reach places and stubborn food particles.
- Replace your toothbrush head every three months and the tip of your water flosser every six months. Unclean tools are less effective!
A good routine that is consistently applied rids the mouth of bacteria, plaque, and germs that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, among other things. Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Johnson or your dentist for personalized recommendations or guidance to improve your regimen!
Yes, you do have to wear your retainer.
Your teeth have fantastic memories and, more often than not, are unhappy to have been moved! You know when you move your dog from their bed to cuddle on the couch, and the only reason they stay there with you is because you are scratching their belly? You know how they run back to their bed the moment you lift your arm? Your teeth are the same way! Your teeth will try to return to their old positions, but that’s what your retainer is for!
As the name suggests, retainers are meant to retain the teeth in their new positions while the mouth stabilizes. If your retainer is removable, you must wear it as prescribed! Neglecting or forgetting to wear it gives your teeth the time and space they need to regress. If they shift enough, you might have to restart active treatment.
Care for your retainer as if they were AirPods.
Okay, okay, maybe don’t care for them exactly the same. When we say “treat them like AirPods,” we mean always put them in their case when you are not wearing them so they can be safe from physical harm and easier to keep up with. Like the wireless headphones, retainers are small and easy to break and lose. You might be surprised to learn how many single AirPods are left behind in public places, accidentally thrown away, stepped on, or chewed up. Placing them in their cases significantly reduces the damage they might encounter, and it’s the same for your retainers.
Have you ever had earbuds sit uncomfortably in your ears or not work as well because they were dirty? For your retainers to safely and effectively do their jobs, they need to be clean! Dirty retainers can hoard bacteria, plaque, and germs, just like your mouth. The three different kinds of retainers (Hawley, Essix, and fixed) require different cleaning routines, so be sure to ask Dr. Johnson for instructions when you receive your appliance. Fortunately, no matter your retainer type, cleaning it only takes a few minutes a day.
Go to your follow-ups and dental cleanings. Please.
After you receive your retainer, you will need to attend follow-up appointments with Johnson Family Orthodontics. While we do love to see all our patients, these visits do more than keep you in our life for a little longer. Dr. Johnson needs to monitor the stability of your alignment and ensure that your retainer is doing its job.
Another crucial part of your oral health and hygiene is to attend regular dental cleanings with your dentist. These visits are vital to finding and fixing problems before they cause permanent damage to your smile. At these appointments, your mouth will be professionally cleaned and X-rayed. Your dentist will also look for signs of tooth decay or disease, among other things, and provide treatment if necessary.
For a healthy and happy smile, please go to all appointments, even if you think everything is fine!
Have questions? Johnson Family Orthodontics is happy to help!
We know orthodontic care can be confusing and intimidating. At Johnson Family Orthodontics, we are passionate about patient education. Whether it’s before, during, or after active treatment, we want you to feel comfortable and confident throughout your orthodontic journey. Please contact us if you have questions or want to schedule an appointment with our capable and skilled team! We are always excited to hear from you and look forward to providing you with the outstanding care we are known for.