Did you know that Chamberlain Family Orthodontics has been transforming smiles in our community for more than 30 years? In that time, our expert team has helped hundreds of families throughout Beaumont and Redlands improve their oral health, giving them straighter teeth and a better bite. But no matter how experienced we are or how exceptional our results may be, a beautifully aligned smile won’t last forever without a bit of help!
Completing your orthodontic treatment is a big step, and it’s essential you have a plan in place to maintain your new smile. The most important step to keeping your teeth in their new positions is wearing your retainers. Once we’ve finished the active phase of treatment, your teeth will be where we want them to be, but the ligaments and tissues that support them will still need time to adapt to this new positioning. Without regular use of a retainer, your teeth can begin shifting right back to their previous places in your mouth! To avoid undoing all your hard work, you’ll want to take good care of your custom retainers and wear them as directed by Dr. Chamberlain.
There are several other ways to keep your smile looking beautiful as you embark on your post-orthodontics adventures. Let’s look at a few of our favorite tips for enjoying your beautifully straightened smile for many years to come!
Go Easy as You Adjust to Post-Treatment Life
Your teeth needed time to adjust to wearing an orthodontic appliance, so it makes sense that they would also need a period of adjustment once treatment is complete. This is less of an issue with removable clear aligners like Invisalign, but if you’ve been wearing traditional braces or InBrace lingual braces, you may find that your teeth are a bit sensitive after Dr. Chamberlain removes the brackets. This sensitivity will only be temporary, but you can help minimize discomfort by avoiding extremely hot and cold foods for a few days after your braces are removed. Using toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth can also provide relief.
Maintain an Excellent Oral Hygiene Routine
This will be an easy recommendation if you brushed, flossed, and rinsed dependably throughout your orthodontic journey—just keep doing what you’ve been doing! If you slacked on brushing and flossing towards the end of your treatment, there’s no better time than the present to pick things back up again. Dr. Chamberlain recommends brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing every night before bed to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.
In addition to brushing and flossing every day, you should try to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking anything other than plain water. This is especially useful if you consume a fair amount of sugar in your food and drinks. Rinsing with water will cut down on the amount of sugars that are able to adhere to the teeth and help prevent the decay process from beginning. Rinsing after drinking dark beverages like coffee, tea, and wine can also prevent staining from occurring on your teeth.
Schedule Regular Check-ups with Your Dentist
Getting a dental cleaning right after your braces are removed is an excellent idea since your dental team will be able to remove any plaque that’s accumulated while you were wearing them. A post-treatment dental exam will also catch any issues that may need attention and keep your new smile bright and shiny. But don’t stop there! Scheduling regular dental check-ups every six months or so will help prevent gum and dental issues that could undermine the investment you’ve made in your oral health with orthodontics.
Consider Tooth Whitening Treatments
Decalcification can occur after treatment with braces, causing opaque white spots on the teeth. Although decalcification is uncommon, many patients opt for teeth whitening treatments to brighten their newly straightened smile. If you feel like your teeth look a little stained or discolored after a dental cleaning, you may want to explore these options! Whitening toothpaste can be an easy solution for teeth that just need a bit of a boost, while at-home or in-office treatments should be available through your dentist’s office. Our team loves EverSmile White Foam for cleaning retainers, and this product contains whitening properties, too! Remember that your teeth may be sensitive temporarily following your debonding appointment; some whitening treatments can also cause increased tooth sensitivity, so you may want to wait a few weeks before working towards a more sparkling smile!
Wear Your Retainers as Instructed
This is the big one, the tip that goes beyond a recommendation: wear your retainers. Many patients underestimate the importance of this appliance, which is why it’s the single most common reason why retreatment is needed somewhere down the line. As noted above, your teeth will try to shift back to their original positions, even after completing orthodontic treatment. This is especially true in the first weeks and months after your braces come off or you use your last active aligner.
Wearing your retainers as directed by Dr. Chamberlain is the best thing you can do to keep your newly straightened teeth where we want them to be! Chamberlain Family Orthodontics is proud to offer Vivera retainers to our patients. These are virtually invisible, twice as durable, and at least 30% stronger than other leading clear retainers. For the best results, Dr. Chamberlain recommends full-time retainer wear for 12 months followed by nighttime wear for life.
While Vivera retainers are made to last, all retainers are meant to be replaced periodically. We know that life sometimes gets in the way, too, leading to lost or broken retainers! If a retainer sustains any damage or is lost at any point, it can quickly compromise your treatment results. That’s why we encourage patients to take advantage of our Retainer Back-Up Plan! This plan extends the formal retention period from 24 to 36 months and will allow you to purchase additional retainers at approximately 50% off prior to appliance removal.
Take Good Care of Your Retainers
A retainer is a smile’s best friend, so treat yours with care! We’ll provide you with specific cleaning instructions for your retainers at your debonding appointment, but in general, you’ll want to brush them at least once a day using lukewarm water, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a small amount of dish soap. This helps remove plaque and other debris. Avoid using an electric toothbrush, mouthwash, or denture cleaner on your retainers, as this can reduce their lifespan.
There’s a formal retention period that includes the first 24 months following the removal of your appliance. During this period, we’ll schedule retainer evaluation appointments for you every 3-6 months to monitor the teeth as they stabilize in their new positions as well as any changes in growth and development that may influence your treatment outcome.
Outside of brushing or soaking your retainers in EverSmile White Foam, you should place them in a hard case any time they’re out of your mouth to keep them safe. Remove your retainers any time you eat, when you’re brushing and flossing, and during any contact sports.
Maintain Your Smile with Chamberlain Family Orthodontics
Everyone needs a smile tune-up every now and then. If you already received treatment but forgot to wear your retainer as directed, you’re not alone! Whether you need a new retainer or another round of braces, Invisalign, or InBrace treatment, our Chamberlain Family Orthodontics team is here for all your orthodontic needs.
If you’re in Redlands, Beaumont, or the surrounding communities and are still on the fence about orthodontic treatment, we’d love to set you up with a FREE consultation and exam. Get in touch today to take the first step towards a total smile transformation you’ll enjoy for years to come!