6 FACTS About Removal of Braces
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What happens immediately after removal of braces? If you have worn braces for any period of time, you can appreciate the challenges that came with eating (or not eating!) your favorite meals. So, when the day comes for you to finally have them removed, it will be a happy day! But what should you expect immediately after they have been removed? In this article, we will address some of the more common issues and questions related to the removal of orthodontic appliances.
REMOVAL OF BRACES – WHAT TO EXPECT?
Before we discuss what patients can expect immediately following the removal of their orthodontic appliances, let’s take a closer look at the more popular orthodontic devices currently available today. This is important since what happens after they have been removed is pretty much universal across all orthodontic devices, including:
Although all orthodontic appliances are designed to help patients achieve straighter, healthier teeth, they each possess qualities that make them unique. One of the biggest misconceptions that many people have immediately after any of these orthodontic appliances have been removed is that their treatment is complete. This couldn’t be further from the truth; in fact, the next step in your journey is just getting underway. Let’s discuss 6 issues regarding removal of braces.
Once your orthodontic appliances have been removed, your orthodontist will provide you with a retainer to wear. What is a retainer? A retainer is a custom made device intended to stabilize the position of your teeth after orthodontic appliances are removed. Retainers can be either fixed in position in the mouth, or removable. The most common type is a thin, translucent plastic device that prevents your teeth from shifting and, possibly, undoing all of the hard work that went into straightening them. Retainers should be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first 6 months after active orthodontic treatment is complete. Since teeth reside in bone, not stone, retainers will need to be worn nighttime for a lifetime to ensure that the teeth do not move and return to their original position. Each patient should speak with their individual orthodontist to make sure you are wearing your retainers enough to keep the teeth straight.
A PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING MAY BE NEEDED
Depending on the type of orthodontic device you had, there is a chance that you will need to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned after the braces are removed. Having braces makes it close to impossible to fully clean the small crevices where food and plaque buildup may have accumulated on your teeth. Ask your orthodontist if you need a cleaning after having your appliances removed.
DISCOLORATION IS POSSIBLE
Although undesirable, discoloration and/or decalcification of the teeth is possible after orthodontic treatment. Discoloration can be as simple as staining from food and drinks. Poor oral hygiene and consumption of soft drinks are the leading causes of post-orthodontic decalcification.
Fortunately, discoloration can be corrected if present after the appliances are removed. Your orthodontist may prescribe a tooth whitening treatment that can remove the stains from your newly straightened teeth after the removal of braces. Unfortunately, decalcifications are not so easily removed. They may require polishing and restoration by your dentist to restore the teeth to their original state. The best way to correct decalcifications is by preventing their formation from the beginning of orthodontic treatment!
TENDER TEETH AND GUMS
Patients can also expect to experience some mild to moderate tenderness in their teeth and gums after having their orthodontic devices removed. However, this sensation should dissipate in a few days to a week. Warm salt water rinses and over the counter analgesics may also help palliate the discomfort.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REMOVE BRACES?
This depends on how much your orthodontist has planned for your braces removal appointment. Traditional orthodontic devices (braces) can be removed relatively quickly. The process entails removing the braces, then polishing the bonding material from the teeth. This typically takes 15-20 minutes. From there, your orthodontist will take a series of x-rays and photographs. If your orthodontist has an in-house laboratory, they will also be able to fabricate your retainers that same day! Finally, you will be given instructions regarding how to wear and take care of your retainers. Needless to say, having your orthodontic device removed should be a fairly easy, non-anxiety inducing affair.
IS THE REMOVAL PROCESS PAINFUL?
Aside from some pressure while your orthodontic devices are being removed, the process is relatively pain-free. To remove the device, your practitioner will use a specialized tool that will enable them to squeeze off the brackets that are affixed to your teeth. They apply just enough pressure to allow them to easily pop off. Any remaining cement residue will be polished from the teeth. This process is very straightforward and doesn’t damage the enamel on your teeth.
WHAT DO TEETH FEEL LIKE AFTER TREATMENT?
Your teeth will feel very different after orthodontic treatment is complete. Obviously, this can vary from patient to patient, but some of the sensations reported after treatment are:
- Difficulty adjusting to eating without appliances
- Minor bite changes as teeth “settle”
- Tender teeth and gums
- Teeth feel “big and slimy”
These sensations are completely normal, and will, over time, become less pronounced and eventually disappear.
BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
Hopefully, this blog has addressed many of your questions regarding the removal of orthodontic appliances. Of course, you’re also encouraged to speak with your orthodontist regarding any questions not already addressed in this article.
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Nease & Higginbotham
424 Hyatt Street
Gaffney, SC 29341
6 FACTS About Removal of Braces
Dr Nease graduated as Valedictorian from Cocke County (TN) High School in 1988 and graduated from the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) in 1992. He then attended the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in Memphis, TN, where he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree as Valedictorian of his graduating class in 1996. He remained at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry for his orthodontic training, and received his Master of Dental Science (MDS) degree in June of 1999. He immediately joined the practice of Dr. Phil Higginbotham in Spartanburg, beginning a wonderful professional relationship and friendship that endures today.