Getting a new smile is a big deal. For many patients, a new masterpiece smile is the first time they’ve felt confident in their full smile. Now, photos are a stress-free opportunity to capture a memory. First impressions are effortless. For those with more serious issues, a new smile is a chance to enjoy proper orthodontic function for chewing, sleeping, oral care, and more.

Unsurprisingly, most people are concerned about keeping the best possible smile once braces come off. Preserving a great smile isn’t hard, but it does require a bit of preparation and good health practices. We’ll cover it all in this article, from eliminating those pesky brace stains to keeping your teeth in their correct position for decades to come.

Maintaining Straight Teeth After Braces

Straight teeth and proper alignment are huge benefits of braces. However, it’s just a fact of nature that teeth will continue to move over time if you don’t apply a preventative measure. The preventative options are simple but highly effective; they include:

  • A permanent retainer. This is our preferred option at Oppenhuizen Orthodontics due to its long term impact and relative ease of installation. Many practices outsource the creation of retainers to a lab and leave patients waiting days or weeks for a retainer, and that gives teeth a lot of time to move. But our in-house lab allows us to provide our patients with permanent retainers (wires) on the same day that their braces come off. Permanent retainers are also low profile (virtually unnoticeable) and don’t require you to remember to take them out and re-apply them every day. Many patients find the “auto-pilot” application of a permanent retainer attractive and easy.
  • A removable retainer. These retainers can work well, but they require more compliance and attentiveness from patients. A simple mold of your palette helps craft a plastic or acrylic retaining device that’s custom fit. The retainers can be precisely shaped and adjusted for optimal comfort, but patients risk forgetting, losing, or breaking their retainer.

Same Day Retainers Preserve Your Masterpiece Smile

Removing Staining from Braces

Some patients are concerned with staining on their teeth when their braces come off (often on their prominent front teeth). This is a common occurrence and it’s usually caused by plaque build up. Even good oral health habits won’t always totally prevent staining, though they’ll certainly help. 

The severity of staining will depend on your diet, cleaning habits, and enamel health. Demineralization and initial stages of tooth decay can produce stubborn white spots that don’t go away with traditional brushing. The good news is that there are some simple and effective treatment options.  

  • Start with good cleaning habits that will prevent spotting from worsening. Adding probiotics to your diet can also be a good way to incorporate minerals that support oral health.
  • Teeth whitening (professionally or at home) is a great way to brighten your entire smile or even out slight discoloration. 
  • Advanced treatment like microabrasion will remove the foremost enamel layer to expose layers underneath and create a more even and whitened appearance.

It’s important to note that if you feel discomfort, wait 3-6 months for it to subside and to see if your teeth change color naturally with routine cleaning.

Rethinking Your Oral Care Routine

Just because your braces are off doesn’t mean you should ditch the good cleaning habits you (hopefully) had during treatment. You can play an active part in preserving your new smile. Here are a few things to consider right away:

  • Schedule a professional cleaning and examination with your dentist. This will give you a nice, clean feeling on the surface of your teeth and help immediately identify any cavities that may have started during treatment. 
  • Wearing a retainer requires cleaning and proper care, which might include special tools for properly brushing your implements.
  • Stay on top of bad habits like teeth grinding or chewing things that aren’t food. 
  • Keep up with brushing and flossing. Set a simple rule for yourself so you’re clear on the right steps and timing. For example, make a commitment that you’ll spend 90 seconds of brushing two times each day.

Planning for Future Checkups

Without a permanent retainer, you might have some settling and shifting over time. If you notice an issue, it’s smart to talk to your orthodontist to make sure a potential problem is addressed before it worsens.

If you’re curious about what it takes to get a masterpiece smile – from the cost to treatment times – schedule a free, no-pressure consultation with the Oppenhuizen team today. We’ll walk you through each option and step so you can make the best possible decision for yourself and your family. 

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