How to Maintain Your Smile After Braces

Wow, that was really something. They’re off! You worked for months or even years with your local orthodontist, maybe even our very own Dr. Jeff Backus of Backus Orthodontics, to straighten your teeth and align your smile. We couldn’t be happier for you! 

But now that the hard part’s over, there are a few steps to keep in mind to ensure your smile stays straight and bright for many years to come. We asked Dr. Backus to sit down with us and lay out a few steps for a successful transition. Let’s dive in and see what he had to say below: 

Step 1 – Retainer, Retainer, Retainer! 

Seriously. It’s all about your retainer after getting your braces off. Studies show that many patients discontinue retainer use after the first few months and that this is far and away the most common cause of further orthodontic difficulties down the road. 

You’ve worked hard over months or even years to get the best smile possible! Dr. Backus wants you to keep that smile, so be sure and get comfortable with that retainer! 

Let’s talk a little bit about maintaining your new best friend.

Caring for your retainer 

Your retainer is essential for maintaining alignment, so be sure and keep it clean and well-protected. You’ll want to wear your retainer at least 22 hours a day for the first six months or so, and have a high-quality cleaning fluid for it to soak in when it’s out. 

Be sure and avoid leaving your retainer near any major heat sources, as these can cause it to warp its shape and become less effective. 

It goes without saying, but be sure to keep your retainer safe when out of use. You should also consider having a backup on hand, just in case. 

How to Maintain Your Smile After BracesStep 2 – Keep that smile clean!

Now that you’re out of braces, it’s time to ensure that you keep up a great habit of brushing in the morning and at night, as well as after snacks. 

You’ve been diligent so far, and now that the goal of your ideal smile is closer than ever, make sure to brush often and properly: use soft bristles at a 45-degree angle for at least 2 minutes at a time. Be sure and brush the insides of your teeth – just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t just as crucial for a healthy mouth! 

A new brush is a happy brush. Make sure you’re swapping your brush out every three months or so to keep things moving in the right direction. 

Step 3 – Come back and see us! 

Dr. Backus is thrilled to have helped you to this stage of your orthodontic journey. Your braces are off! But don’t forget to keep up with a regular schedule of check-ups and cleanings. 

Let’s keep that smile gleaming! An initial cleaning after removal is a great way to go, as there is a certain degree of expected plaque buildup during your treatment. You’ll probably want to come back about once every six months too.

Step 4 – How about a glow-up? 

Some patients choose to have a whitening procedure after getting their braces off. That’s A-Ok, and it can be a great way to offset some of the natural discoloration that is bound to occur during the braces process. Certain spots are just unreachable with them on, and here at Backus Orthodontics, we know you want to look your best. 

Just remember, your teeth will be a little sensitive in the first week or two after debonding, and a professional whitening could aggravate that sensitivity, so it’s best to wait a little while.  

How to Maintain Your Smile After BracesWe can’t wait to see you again! 

Dr. Backus and the team here at Backus Orthodontics are so proud of you! It was a long road, and it should be smooth sailing from here on in. Dr. Backus grew up right here in Hoover, and he got into the practice because he cares about the people around him and wants to help them unlock their full potential – and that means you. He serves on the Hoover City Schools Foundation board for the same reason. Give us a call today, and let’s keep working together to brighten that beautiful smile!