Here at Dietrich Orthodontics, we’re proud to help your smile shine! Our expert team has helped patients of all ages achieve straighter teeth and better oral health, but even the best results won’t last forever without a bit of care. That’s why attention to your teeth after braces is so essential!
From consistent oral hygiene to wearing your retainer, you play a crucial role in maintaining your smile after orthodontic treatment. Whether you’re a current patient or simply considering orthodontics, it’s important to understand what to expect when you complete treatment. Keep reading to learn more.
Maintain Your Oral Hygiene Routine
The most important advice we can give for maintaining your new smile is simple: get into the habit of caring for your teeth! This will help prevent plaque build-up and keep your smile healthy.
These basic oral health guidelines will help you maintain clean teeth and a healthy mouth:
- Brush after every meal and snack.
- If you can’t brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoridated toothpaste.
- Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across every surface of every tooth to effectively remove bacteria and debris.
- Floss every night to remove bacteria and food particles that accumulate throughout the day. Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you have a cold or other illness.
- Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health.
Wear Your Retainer
The most important step in maintaining your new smile is wearing your retainer. Your teeth can shift again, even after successful orthodontic treatment. Once the pressure of your braces is gone, your teeth will gradually return to their previous positions. This is why it’s so important to wear your retainer exactly as directed by Dr. Dietrich!
If you don’t wear your retainer, it can’t do its job, and your progress will be undone over time. This can happen faster than you’d think, so stick to the guidelines we give you after treatment. We can straighten teeth; we can’t keep them straight!
Keep Your Retainer Clean
Keeping your retainer clean and in good condition is just as important as wearing it daily. Your retainer is in your mouth often, so it’s constantly exposed to all the bacteria, plaque, and food debris hanging around there! Dr. Dietrich recommends cleaning your retainers whenever you brush your teeth using Steraligner sold at our cost in our office, or Efferdent, from a grocery store. Do not use toothpaste; it can make the retainers cloudy over time.
Of course, life happens, and there will be days you forget. This isn’t a big deal as long as it only happens occasionally, but you should be able to recognize when your retainer is overdue for a cleaning! These signs include a bad taste or smell, a cloudy appearance, or white spots.
Never Miss A Check-Up
Dr. Dietrich checks on you after your braces are removed for one quick visit, so you’ll be in and out in a breeze! This visit is important to ensure your retainer fits as prescribed and it’s holding your teeth in place.
Be sure to visit your regular dentist after treatment, too! Routine visits to the dentist throughout the year can help prevent oral disease and may catch existing issues in the early stages. Plan to see your dentist every six months to monitor your oral health.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
So much of your health is connected to your diet. Proper nutrients can boost the overall health of your teeth, but certain foods can either help or harm your tooth enamel.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can help remove plaque build-up as you bite into them and chew, and they are more difficult for bacteria to break down since they don’t contain carbohydrates, fats, oils, and sugars.
In contrast, consuming sugary foods feeds this bacteria that lead to gum disease, while acidic food and drinks can prematurely destroy your tooth’s protective enamel coating.
Keep Smile Essentials with You On-the-Go
We encourage you to stay prepared as you did during treatment with an on-the-go care kit. This will help you be ready for anything that comes your way and keeps your smile shining. Here are a few items to keep in your kit:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush
- a small tube of fluoride toothpaste
- dental floss or ortho picks
- a small cup for rinsing with water
- lip balm
Throw this bag in your backpack or purse to handle any issues when you’re out and about to keep your newly-straightened smile in tip-top shape.
Always Wear A Mouthguard
It’s not unusual for athletes to have mouth injuries every now and then. Accidents can happen even if you’re careful, but you should always take extra precautions when playing sports. Wearing a mouthguard during sports after orthodontic treatment will protect your new smile from potential injuries. We can help determine what type of mouthguard is best for your needs and lifestyle.
Don’t Use Tobacco
Tobacco use can cause bad breath, stain your teeth and tongue, and cause issues with your oral health. It can cause slow healing from tooth extraction or other oral surgery and even make correcting some cosmetic dental concerns more difficult.
Tobacco products also significantly increase your risk of gum disease and oral cancers. And even on an aesthetic level, tobacco can stain your teeth and erode their appearance.
Keep Your Smile Shining with Dietrich Orthodontics
Our team at Dietrich Orthodontics wants to help you maintain your newly straightened smile for life. These tips for maintaining your smile after orthodontic treatment are a great place to start. If you have any additional questions, we’re always happy to help!
If you’re just starting your orthodontic journey, Dr. Dietrich can help you get the smile of your dreams at any age. Schedule an initial complimentary consultation in our Canton or Alliance office to learn more about keeping your smile healthy and how our team of experts can help you. We look forward to helping you along your orthodontic journey!