Braces: Getting Them Removed
Once your teeth are properly aligned, your orthodontist will take another mold of your mouth so a retainer can be made for you once your braces are off. This is done either a week before or at the time your braces are removed. Because the glue holding your brackets is so strong, you will feel a good amount of pressure and scraping as your orthodontist removes them from your teeth.
Once they’re off, you will see your beautiful new smile and can look forward to eating that caramel apple you’ve been dreaming about. Your orthodontist will give you your new retainer tell you how often to wear it. Wearing your retainer is very important because if you don’t, your teeth will start to move back to their old, crooked positions again, and you might have to get braces a second time.
Remember that the teeth will be loose once the braces are removed, and so the retainers are important to hold the teeth straight while the fibers in the PDL tighten to hold the teeth to the bone. Having retainers can be tricky. You may be asked to eat with them on, but if you take them off, you have to put them in a case so they do not get thrown out or lost.
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In addition to braces, you may need additional equipment, such as headgear, rubber bands or springs. Headgear consists of a thick u-shaped wire that hooks onto your bands and a strap that wraps around your head to keep itself in place. It is almost always worn at night, and is only uncomfortable the first couple of times it is worn. It helps correct bite problems when there is a difference in the length of the upper jaw in comparison to the lower jaw.
Rubber bands are tiny little elastic bands that hook onto both your top and bottom brackets. They are usually worn throughout the day, although some people take them off during meals. Your rubber bands will be painful for the first couple of days, but after that you can wear them without any pain at all. Wearing your extra devices as instructed will help you get your braces off faster!
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Dental Care with Braces
Brush twice every day, or better yet after each meal, because bits of food get trapped in your mouth more easily when you have braces. If you don’t brush these bits off, you might end up with little white spots, called decalcification, where the brackets used to be once they are removed. If your teeth and gums are not clean, your teeth won’t move as quickly, delaying when you get your braces off.
Also, it is critical to floss daily, which requires a little plastic and flexible threader so you can get the floss under the wires and really reach under the gums. Many dentists may ask you to use a fluoride rinse to help protect the enamel on your teeth.
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High school student writer
Reviewed by Stacey Quo, DDS