Maintaining Your Smile After Orthodontic Treatment

Here at Alba Orthodontics, we’re proud to help your smile shine! Our expert team has helped patients of all ages achieve straighter teeth and improved oral health, but even the best results won’t last forever without a bit of help. That’s where you come in! From consistent oral hygiene to wearing your retainer, you play a key role in maintaining your smile after orthodontic treatment. Whether you’re a current patient or simply considering orthodontics, it’s important to understand what to expect when you complete treatment. Keep reading to learn more.

Keep A Consistent Oral Hygiene Routine

The most important advice we can give for maintaining your new smile is simple: get into the habit of caring for your teeth! This will help prevent plaque build-up and keep your smile healthy.

These basic oral health guidelines will help you maintain clean teeth and a healthy mouth:  

  • Brush after every meal and snack. 
  • If you can’t brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across every surface of every tooth to effectively remove bacteria and debris.
  • Floss every night before bed to remove bacteria and any food accumulated throughout the day. Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if you have a cold or other illness.
  • Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health.

Wear Your Retainer

The most important step in maintaining your new smile is wearing your retainer. Your teeth will never forget their original place in your mouth—once the pressure that braces and aligners provide is gone, they’ll start shifting back towards those spaces. This is why it’s so important to wear your retainer exactly as directed by our doctors! 

If you don’t wear your retainer, it won’t be able to do its job, and your progress will be undone over time. This can happen faster than you’d think, so be sure to stick to the guidelines we give you after treatment.

Keep Your Retainer Clean

Keeping your retainer clean and in good condition is just as important as wearing it daily. Your retainer is in your mouth often. That means it’s constantly exposed to all the bacteria, plaque, and food debris hanging around there! Dr. Fred and Dr. Jeff recommend cleaning your retainers whenever you brush your teeth using soap or denture cleaner (toothpaste can make them cloudy over time). 

Of course, life happens, and there will be days you forget. This isn’t a big deal as long as it only happens occasionally, but you should be able to recognize when your retainer is overdue for a cleaning! These signs include a bad taste or smell, a cloudy appearance, or white spots.

Never Miss A Check-Up

Follow-up visits during the first year after treatment are essential to maintaining your smile. These appointments tend to be pretty quick, so you’ll be in and out in a breeze, but they’re important for Dr. Jeff or Dr. Fred to ensure your new smile stays in place.

Be sure to visit your regular dentist after treatment, too! Routine visits to the dentist throughout the year can help prevent oral disease and may catch existing issues in the early stages. Plan to see your dentist every six months to monitor your oral health.

Maintaining Your Smile After Orthodontic Treatment

Always Wear A Mouthguard

It’s not unusual for athletes to experience injuries to the mouth now and then. Accidents can happen even if you’re careful, but you should always take extra precautions when playing sports. Wearing a mouthguard during sports after orthodontic treatment will protect your new smile from potential injuries. Talk to your orthodontist to discuss what type of mouthguard will best fit your specific needs. 

Keep Smile Essentials with You On-the-Go

We encourage you to stay prepared as you did during treatment with an on-the-go care kit. This will help you be ready for anything that comes your way and keeps your smile shining. Here are a few items to keep in your kit:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • a small tube of fluoride toothpaste
  • dental floss or ortho picks
  • a small cup for rinsing with water
  • lip balm

Throw this bag in your backpack or purse to handle any issues when you’re out and about to keep your newly-straightened smile in tip-top shape.

Maintain A Healthy Diet

So much of your health is connected to your diet in your mouth and body. Proper nutrients can boost your teeth’s overall health, but eating certain foods can either help or harm your teeth’s enamel surfaces. Fresh fruits and vegetables can help remove plaque build-up as you bite into them and chew, and are more difficult for bacteria to break down since they don’t contain carbohydrates, fats, oils, and sugars. In contrast, consuming sugary foods feeds this bacteria that lead to gum disease, while acidic food and drinks can prematurely destroy your tooth’s protective enamel coating.

Don’t Use Tobacco

Tobacco use can cause bad breath, stain your teeth and tongue, and cause issues with your oral health. It can cause slow healing from tooth extraction or other oral surgery and even make correcting some cosmetic dental concerns more difficult. Tobacco products also significantly increase your risk of gum disease and oral cancers. And even on an aesthetic level, tobacco can stain your teeth and erode their appearance. 

Maintaining Your Smile After Orthodontic Treatment

Keep Your Smile Shining with Alba Orthodontics

Our team at Alba Orthodontics wants to help you maintain your newly straightened smile for life. These tips for maintaining your smile after orthodontic treatment are a great place to start. If you have any additional questions, we’re always happy to help!

If you’re just starting your orthodontic journey, Dr. Fred and Dr. Jeff Alba can help you get the smile of your dreams at any age. Schedule an initial consultation in our Mechanicsburg office to learn more about keeping your smile healthy and how our team of experts can help you. We look forward to helping you along your dental journey! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!