Waiting for your braces to come off can be a momentous occasion--you cannot wait to see how different your smile would be, or how much easier it would be to eat again. However, keep in mind that you need to put in some maintenance for your newly-straightened smile. This is because your teeth are still getting used to their new positions, and you need to train them to stay where they are at present. If you don’t, your teeth will fall into their old positions and you’ll need another round of treatment. Read on for tips to help you with your post-braces care.
Practice good oral hygiene
The most basic maintenance measure is proper hygiene. Brushing your teeth after every meal, and flossing at least once a day, prevents particle buildup and trapped food. This leads to gum and bone deterioration, which may cause teeth to move.
If you notice your floss moving smoothly in the gaps of your teeth where it previously didn’t, you may have had a tooth shift, and need to speak to your dentist. If you have a tooth taken out or a root canal performed, it will also affect the alignment of your teeth. To prevent tooth decay, you must brush and floss regularly.
Wear your retainer
Right after your braces come off, you’re still technically in the straightening period--you had just entered the retention phase. Wearing your retainer allows your teeth to get used to their new space. Most likely, you’ll be getting a removable retainer, which puts enough pressure on your teeth but not to the extent of the fixed kind.
Do not forget to wear your retainer--keep it on for as long as your dentist requires. But do take it out for cleaning. You might be tempted to keep it in because the toothbrush or mouthwash passes over it anyway, but food particles can get trapped in the hard plastic holding your retainer metal in place, which defeats the purpose.
Sleep on your stomach
Your sleep position may affect the placement of your teeth. Lying on your stomach, for example, will exert gentle force on your teeth. Eventually, all that pressure will amount to movement, and your tooth will be a fraction off from where your doctor wants it.
To prevent this from happening, lie on your back or your side. Resting your chin on a surface while napping is also discouraged, and may even have a greater impact than sleeping on your stomach.
Get a mouthguard
Grinding your teeth or clenching leads to tooth movement. If you grind your teeth at night, have yourself fitted for a mouthguard. This will help stop you from gnashing and will keep your teeth where they should be post-braces. You may also want to get treated for sleep problems like sleep apnea, which can cause clenching or grinding at night.
Your dentist will be able to custom-fit you with a mouth guard; there are mouth guards available in sports supply stores, but these are usually one size fits all. It may be alright for athletes, but since you are coming from a specialized treatment, your teeth need to stay where they are. Some mouth guards, when they are a wrong fit, can be counterproductive and cause your teeth to shift.
Having your braces taken off is just the first step in maintaining a beautiful smile. Because teeth naturally move and shift, you need to train your teeth so they do not quickly return to their original positions. Following your dentist recommendations is important in ensuring your teeth stay the course and you get a perfect result.
Dental House Mi provides quality and affordable family dentistry in Ypsilanti. We go the extra mile to provide you not just with top-rated dental care but also a personable and welcoming environment. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more.