How to Care for Your Teeth After Braces

When it comes to crafting smiles, the Hemphill Orthodontics team are true artisans. We’ve proudly served smiles in the Celina area and surrounding communities for years. If you’re reading this, then please understand that we see you. We know you’re there and that you’ve got questions about braces. The decision to have braces is not easy. They’re a huge investment. But you see, braces are just the beginning for most people. Life goes on after you get braces removed. Here’s how to care for your teeth after braces. 

Keep Coming To See Us

Even after you get your braces off, we still need to see you for a while. Dr. Hemphill prescribes the timing of each retainer check, but it is our responsibility to follow up with you during the retention phase, to monitor the maintenance of your new smile. We do this for the first year after treatment, and we’ll examine your new smile to ensure it’s adjusting properly. 

Clean Teeth Are Happy Teeth

A beautiful smile starts with clean teeth. Proper brushing and flossing keep your teeth and supporting gum tissue healthy and vibrant. Consider implementing the following practices into your routine. 

  • Brush immediately after each meal.  
  • Invest in a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Use only fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Brush gently. There’s no need to scour your gums. 
  • Hold your brush at approximately a 45-degree angle. 
  • Make a point to touch your bristles to every surface of every tooth.
  • Can’t brush right this second? Use water and swish. 
  • The floss is the boss! Employ it every night before going to sleep. 
  • Trouble accessing certain parts of your mouth or teeth? Look into tools like Waterpiks and floss threaders. 
  • Get a new toothbrush every quarter (roughly every 3 – 4 months). 
  • When selecting mouthwash, look for words like “antimicrobial.” 

Guard Your Grill – Wear Your Retainer

When designing your retainer, our Hemphill Orthodontics team will begin with the structure of your teeth. Just like your braces, we will engineer your retainer for you specifically. We do not practice any one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, your retainer will fit your teeth and no one else’s. This will ensure that it performs precisely as intended because you don’t want someone else’s smile; you want your smile. 

Some retainers are removable, and others are fixed in place and bonded to some teeth (more on that below). For the removable retainers, you will need to wear them every night while you sleep. If you have a fixed retainer, then adhere to Dr. Hemphill’s guidelines regarding those. You should expect the best results using the retainers as instructed. 

Types of Retainers (And How To Clean Them)

Fixed Retainers 

Fixed retainers are assembled from a narrow wire. The wire stretches across the inside of the bottom front teeth. Using dental composite, it is “glued” in place. For this reason, fixed retainers are particularly adept at keeping teeth straight after braces, and they are the best way to ensure long-term success.

Moreover, they’re impossible to forget because they are always with you. You still need to brush your teeth as usual, but you’ll also need to make some adjustments to navigate your brush around your retainer wire. Verify that your brush touches each part of every tooth, paying particular attention to the area behind and underneath your retainer. Get in there like it’s your job!

Dr. Hemphill and his team can teach you how to floss with a fixed retainer, showing you some tips and tools. Additionally, you could invest in some tools like Waterpiks or floss threaders. It’s essential to get into even the smallest of spaces. Always take note if the retainer wire ever comes loose, and make sure to keep the retainer check appointments with our team. 

Hawley Retainers 

Hawley retainers are what you may think of as the “old-school” or conventional retainer. They have a wire that wraps around the teeth, and this wire is attached to an acrylic plate that lies on the inside of the teeth and palate. Should Dr. Hemphill fit you with a Hawley retainer, clean it daily. We suggest using a soft-bristled toothbrush and hand soap, for a softer cleaner. Doing so will get rid of bacteria and plaque. 

You can leave your retainer in a denture cleaner if that doesn’t quite cut it. Keep this retainer out of hot environments. Don’t use hot or boiling water to clean it. Extreme heat will distort and warp the shape of the retainer, so it will no longer fit you correctly.

Essix Retainers

Manufactured from transparent plastic, Essix retainers remain a favorite among patients and orthodontists. In part, they resemble the trays used with Invisalign clear aligners. When Dr. Hemphill issues you an Essix retainer, it is customized to fit your mouth. With proper oversight, an Essix retainer can last very long. 

To maintain the integrity of your Essix retainer, brush and floss it before putting it on. When the time comes to remove it, clean it straight away. Leaving saliva in it to dry gives bacteria free rein. Just like with Hawleys, clean them with a soft-bristled brush and hand soap, but always avoid hot water, lest the retainers distort in shape.

Get The Best Care At Hemphill Orthodontics 

Our Celina team at Hemphill Orthodontics welcomes any questions you have. Whether you want to talk about braces, or other topics, we want to hear from you. Visit us here to schedule a free consultation.