Once you’ve completed your orthodontic treatment, you may be feeling on top of the world. You’re now the proud owner of a beautiful smile, all the hard work is done, and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy it. It’s important to note that while the hard work of maintaining your braces or aligners is over, some work still remains.
What many patients don’t realize is, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve finished your orthodontic treatment, you still need to be mindful of your smile and how you take care of it.
What Happens After Orthodontic Treatment?
Once treatment with braces or Invisalign is complete, you will be fitted for retainers, so your teeth can remain in their proper positions. It’s important to listen to your orthodontist’s instructions after treatment is over to avoid problems down the road…including having your teeth shift back to where they started.
This is a serious risk because our teeth are constantly in motion. No matter how old we are or how long it’s been since treatment was completed, our teeth are moving. So, what does this mean? Your teeth definitely have a chance of getting crooked again if you don’t follow the rules after treatment.
What are the rules, you ask? They’re actually quite simple!
Rule #1: Wear Your Retainer
Since our teeth are always shifting, it’s important to wear your retainer regularly. At first, you may be asked to wear the for the majority of the day, since your teeth are likely to shift the furthest the first year following the completion of treatment.
There will come a point when you’ll be instructed to only wear your retainers at night. Until your orthodontist gives you the green light to do so, don’t take it upon yourself to make that decision. This will come after you’ve gotten past a certain point post-treatment and your orthodontist feels as though your teeth are ready.
Rule #2: Take Care of Your Smile
Failure to properly care for your teeth can result in tooth decay. This in turn can lead to damage to your teeth. For best results, it’s important to:
- Brush at least twice each day (and after meals, if possible)
- Floss properly
- Use a quality mouthwash
- Clean your retainers regularly
By maintaining your smile and your oral health, you’ll be able to keep that spectacular smile you’ve worked so hard on for years to come.
Rule #3: Take Notice of Changes
If you notice your teeth are shifting or your retainers aren’t fitting properly anymore, it’s important to alert your orthodontist as soon as possible. There may be multiple reasons for these changes, which is why having your orthodontist do an examination to figure out your next steps is crucial. You don’t want any more shifting to occur, so tackling this right away is best.
When you work so hard on your smile, the last thing you want to do is go back to square one and complete orthodontic treatment all over again. Be sure to prevent this by listening to your orthodontist and taking care of your smile.
The team at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists is ready to help you get, and keep, a spectacular smile for a lifetime! Call (843) 4-BRACES to learn more.