Caring for Your Smile after Orthodontics


There is almost no better feeling than the day you get your braces off. After months of commitment to the teeth correction process, you are finally able to reveal your straighter, more beautiful smile. Now is the time to keep that smile in top condition with a few tips from La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry and Orthodontics on how to promote good oral health after orthodontics.

Retainer Basics

After spending the time and money for braces, make sure your investment pays off to the fullest by wearing your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist. Retainers are nearly always recommended after teeth straightening treatment to keep teeth in their new positions. Without a retainer, it is likely your teeth will eventually move back to their original position!

There are three basic types of retainers:

Hawley Retainer – consists of thin acrylic and metal wires to fit over teeth and hold them in place

Clear Plastic Retainer – looks very similar to invisalign braces, cannot be seen easily when it is in the mouth

Permanent Retainer – placed behind the front teeth to hold them in place without any visible signs of the retainer

Your orthodontist will recommend the best retainer for you, as well as the amount of time you need to wear it to ensure the longest-lasting results from your braces.

The Sensitivity Issue

When your braces are first removed, it is not unusual to have some sensitivity where the enamel is exposed. To avoid any discomfort during this time, hold off on eating extremely crunchy or chewy foods for the first week or two. It is also a good idea to put off any whitening process for a few weeks until the sensitivity subsides. Whiteners can cause additional sensitivity to the teeth during and for a period of time after treatment.

Cleaning Up

Because it can be difficult to practice proper oral hygiene while you are wearing braces, it is a good idea to see your dentist as soon as possible after the braces come off for a thorough cleaning. X-rays should also be taken at this appointment to check for any areas of decay that might have occurred during the braces treatment. This cleaning will also benefit your gums that may be puffy and tender after wearing your braces.

Whiter and Brighter

Once your tooth sensitivity diminishes, a whitening procedure will be just the ticket for achieve that brilliant smile you have been waiting for since the first day your braces were put on. There are a number of options in brightening today, from procedures performed at your dentist’s office to special trays that can be customized to your teeth and used at home. Talk to your dentist about the best options for you.

Cosmetic Procedures

After your braces are off, it may be time to consider other types of cosmetic dentistry, such as veneers or ceramic crowns. These procedures can put the finishing touch on your new smile, giving you renewed confidence in all of your interactions with others. Cosmetic dentistry has evolved considerably in recent years, offering natural, beautiful results in less time and with less discomfort than dental procedures past.

Wearing braces can be a long process, but getting them off is a wonderful feeling. Make the time you spent in treatment count by taking the best possible care of your teeth both immediately following treatment and in the years to come. To learn more, contact La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry and Orthodontics at 858-295-0603.