The decision to get braces is important, and while it does require an investment of time and resources, it will also have significant benefits that last a lifetime. However, if you’re considering braces for yourself, a child, or a loved one, you likely have a few questions about what happens once the braces are removed, including what orthodontic treatments might be required to maintain that pristine new smile and how oral care habits might change.

We’re here to answer some of those important questions and help you understand what to expect when it’s time for life after braces.


Will my teeth shift after braces are removed? 


The short answer to this question is yes. Without some type of orthodontic appliance to help preserve their new position, teeth will begin to move as soon as braces are removed. The pace at which movement occurs and the degree to which teeth move varies on a patient-by-patient basis.

The most prevalent causes of teeth movement after braces are:

  • The natural strain of chewing, talking, teeth grinding and jaw clenching
  • Poor gum health or the presence of a disease
  • Changing jaw line as patients age
  • Teeth tend to move back to “natural” positions based on individual patient physiology

Your orthodontist should provide a clear plan for how to keep your new smile and mitigate the natural shifts in tooth position.


Do I have to wear a retainer after braces are removed?


At Oppenhuizen Orthodontics, we recommend that patients receive a permanent retainer. Additionally, we work hard to provide the permanent retainer as soon as possible after the braces are removed. In fact, we have an in-house lab for creating and providing patients with retainers the same day that their braces come off.

In a recent interview, Dr. Greg Oppenhuizen discussed the importance of same-day retainers for maintaining optimal tooth position:

“I see kids every now and then from another office where they had their braces taken off less than thirty days ago, and they’ve got some significant change here or there, and it’s like ‘what do we do?'”

Dr. Oppenhuizen has several solutions for patients in this scenario, but the best way to prevent this is to immediately provide permanent retainers at the time braces are removed:

“We put wires on the back of your upper and lower front teeth. Those wires go on the day your braces come off. Literally, you take the braces off and you’re going to have a wire on the back of your teeth in less than twenty minutes. What that does is it holds things the way we want them to be, and it’s a sure deal.”


Research shows that permanent retainers are the best way to maintain new teeth alignment. Cases where teeth continue to move even after a more permanent solution was applied are caused by improper installation of the retainer, or when a retainer breaks.

Regular orthodontic checkups are the best way to ensure that an expert has examined your appliances and can recommend alterations or repairs before movement occurs.


Is oral care different after braces?


Thankfully, your oral care routine will likely become easier, faster and more effective after braces are removed. While they are effective, braces do make it more difficult to clean essential parts of the mouth, including gums (via flossing). Once braces are removed, be sure to continue practicing thorough and regular brushing and flossing. It’s also not a bad idea to schedule a visit to the dentist to be sure no adverse issues began developing while braces were worn.


Will my teeth be more sensitive after braces?


While your teeth will certainly feel different after braces, it’s possible that you also experience additional mild sensitivity. We suggest that you don’t assault your teeth with all of the “banned” food that is prohibited when braces are applied, as you could chip them or cause undue wear that causes heightened sensitivity. This new sensitivity should dissipate a few days after the braces are removed – especially if you practice great dental hygiene.


Will my teeth be stained or discolored after braces?


It’s completely normal for some teeth to have small spots that are noticeable once the braces have been taken off. There’s no need to worry, though, as these typically go away over time with regular periodontal care. Additionally, basic teeth whitening procedures are an excellent way to give that brand new smile a little extra “pop”!


Get started today

Braces have enormous health and aesthetic advantages, no matter the age at which they’re applied. The team at Oppenhuizen Orthodontics is prepared to help you through each step of the journey, and you can get started by calling to request a free consultation today! At a no pressure meeting with our team you’ll learn exactly what to expect and the costs associated with all treatment options.