When you’ve been wearing braces or Clear Aligners for months or years, it’s exciting when the end of treatment is in sight. The best part about getting your braces off is seeing your beautiful new smile! However, the work doesn’t stop when we remove your brackets. Retainers are essential to maintain your alignment long-term, and keeping up with your oral health will keep your smile shining. If you’re ready to commit to a lifetime of smiles, keep reading to learn about retainers and the healthiest habits for your oral health!
Tips for Maintaining a Healthier Smile
Brush & Floss Regularly
The best thing you can do for your oral health is to maintain a consistent brushing and flossing routine. You should brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush gently, moving in circles along the surface of each tooth, paying attention to the area around the gums.
Flossing removes bacteria from the places your toothbrush can’t reach for a more thorough clean. You should floss at least once a day before bed to remove the food particles that build up throughout the day and prevent them from bonding to your teeth.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Sugar is the main culprit in the fight for a healthy smile. The bacteria in our mouths thrive on sugar, so if we consume too much or leave it in our mouths for long periods without at least rinsing, it can cause severe damage. If you can’t brush your teeth right away, rinse your mouth with water to get rid of as much as possible.
Visit Your General Dentist Twice a Year
Regular dental exams are essential to maintain your oral health. Your general or family dentist will look for potential issues, thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, and work with our team to support your treatment.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
It’s essential to give your body the nutrients it needs to thrive, including oral health! A healthy diet will help your bones grow, and crunchy foods stimulate saliva production, which is essential for oral health!
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is another way to stimulate saliva production to keep your teeth and mouth clean. Saliva naturally cleans your mouth and removes the bacteria that food leaves behind.
Keep Your Tongue Clean
Many people leave their tongues out of their oral health routine, but it couldn’t be more important! Always brush your tongue when you brush and floss and swish mouthwash or water to finish the job.
Take Care of Your Toothbrush
Using the right tools will help you take the best care of your smile, including your toothbrush! Replace your toothbrush when it shows signs of wear, like fraying bristles, or every 3-4 months. Rinse out any leftover toothpaste and store your toothbrush upright after brushing.
Wear a Mouthguard
Mouthguards are the best way to protect your teeth while playing sports. Dr. Feil recommends wearing one even if you play a low- or no-contact sport to ensure your smile is always safe.
Wear a Retainer After Treatment
A retainer is a type of orthodontic appliance that we custom-make to fit your mouth after treatment. We’ll take an impression of your newly-straightened smile to create a retainer based on your treatment plan from Dr. Feil.
Orthodontists recommend wearing retainers part-time after treatment for the rest of your life, but don’t feel overwhelmed! After some time and practice, wearing your retainer becomes second nature. Eventually, you’ll only need to wear it a few nights a week while you sleep to keep your newly straightened smile in place.
Adjusting to Retainers
Your retainer may feel strange initially, but after a short adjustment period, you’ll forget it’s even there. Your retainer may affect your speech or cause a lisp in the first few days. However, once you get used to wearing it, you’ll be able to speak normally.
You may feel discomfort when you first start wearing your retainer, but it won’t last long. Always follow Dr. Feil’s guidelines so your retainers can be effective and keep your smile in shape. Failing to do so will allow your teeth to shift back to their original positions and undo all your hard work.
Maintain Your Smile with Feil Orthodontics
You only get one smile, and we want to help you maintain it for life! If you’re ready to commit to a lifetime of smiles, Dr. Feil and the team are here. Contact our Bismarck, Mandan, Beulah, or Dickinson office to schedule your free consultation to learn more about orthodontic treatment and take the first step to a healthier smile!