PacificWest Orthodontist, Braces & Invisalign Vancouver

Life After Braces – What to Expect When Getting Your Braces Off?

You Are Finally Done!

At PacificWest Dental Group, one of the most exciting moments for our patients and the staff is when our patients finally achieve their perfect smiles. Years of work and commitment has finally come to fruition. On that day, the patient can finally say goodbye to their braces once and for all!

 Table of Contents

How Do I Know When My Braces Can Come Off?

Since each orthodontic treatment is different, it is impossible to determine a precise date when your braces can come off. However, at the very beginning of any plan involving braces or Invisalign, orthodontic professionals forecast an approximate timeline as to when the treatment will be complete. This course of action addresses the patient’s goals and provides a realistic framework. Depending on various factors, the braces treatment may take more or less time to achieve the desired result than expected. 

During treatment, orthodontists keep their patients informed as to what changes need to take place to reach their ideal smile. As the treatment progresses, it becomes clearer how soon the treatment is complete and when the braces can be permanently removed. 

What Do I Need to Do to Prepare to Have My Braces Removed?

When it is time for braces to be removed, there is very little extra work a patient needs to do to prepare themselves. Throughout treatment, some patients will discover that their teeth can be sore, especially when biting. This is because the bones around the teeth need to soften up to allow teeth to move into a new position. The discomfort usually goes away in a few days. However, for some patients it may be necessary to take pain medication such as Tylenol to help alleviate any discomfort. 

It is also essential to ensure that the teeth and braces are kept cleaned adequately throughout the treatment. Clean braces and teeth help simplify the removal of the dental appliances, causing the least amount of discomfort and inconvenience for the patient and the orthodontist. 

What is the Process for Getting My Braces Off?

When it comes time to have braces removed, most patients feel a little anxiety about what they can expect. Understanding each step of the removal process can help alleviate stress surrounding the procedure, giving the patient greater peace of mind. 

Here are the steps involved in having braces removed from a patient’s teeth:

The Brackets Must Be Separated From the Teeth. 

To remove the brackets from the teeth, the orthodontist will use pliers, applying gentle pressure to warp the bracket’s shape slightly. This process helps to weaken the adhesive that holds the braces in place. Each bracket will be subject to this process, beginning with the top brackets and finishing with those on the bottom. Patients will feel tension on their teeth during this portion of the procedure, however it is usually not painful. 

The Glue Must Be Removed. 

Once the brackets have been taken off the teeth, the adhesive that is left on the surface of the teeth needs to be polished off from the teeth. This process is not lengthy, taking approximately five to ten minutes in total. Though pain is not commonly associated with this part of the braces’ removal, some patients with very sensitive teeth may feel uncomfortable. 

A Mould or Scan Must be Made in Order to Make the Retainers 

Every patient is required to wear retainers once their braces have been removed. This is because the bone surrounding the teeth needs time to heal and solidify after active movements are completed. During this time, teeth have high risk of shifting their position if they are not held together by retainers. Most patients will need to wear the retainers full time for 3-6 months before switching to night time wear for the next year. Since the mouth is a living space and our body is always changing as we age, it is recommended that retainers be worn at night time for as long as possible.

To create a retainer that fits correctly, the orthodontist will make a mould or digital scan out of the patient’s teeth. This is typically done at the same appointment when braces come off as the teeth are the most straight at that time. 

The Patient Will Need to Continue Appropriate Post-braces Care. 

Once braces are removed, the patient’s gums may be swollen and sore. After several days of proper tooth brushing and flossing, these issues should resolve on their own. However, it is recommended that patients go to their family dentist for a thorough check up and cleaning after braces come off, and they must continue appropriate oral hygiene practices daily. 

It is crucial for patients to wear their retainers as instructed and come to the retainer check appointments as this is critical in ensuring the teeth remain straight after orthodontic treatment. Failure to wear the retainer consistently may result in the teeth shifting out of place, ruining the hard work of what may have been years of orthodontic treatment. 

Will Having My Braces Removed Hurt Me?

Having braces removed is for the most part a pain-free process. Some patients who have tooth sensitivity may feel some discomfort, but there should not be any pain. One can take over-the-counter pain medication (such as Tylenol or Advil) in advance of the procedure to help prevent any soreness. Experts recommend taking pain relievers as early as one hour before having braces removed. 

Experiencing some pressure and mild discomfort resulting from the adhesive and brackets removal is considered quite normal. 

What Can I Expect After My Braces Have Been Removed?

Once braces are removed, patients might notice some different things about their teeth, mouth, and smile. These include:

Mouth Calluses

Calluses may have formed inside the mouth where the metal brackets once rested and rubbed against the skin. These calluses are not felt when wearing braces, but they become pretty noticeable once the braces are removed. In time, these callouses will disappear. 

Eating Feels Different

When wearing braces, patients sometimes have to change how they eat certain foods to accommodate their dental appliances. Once the braces are removed, it can feel strange learning to eat foods again. Certain foods that were once on the forbidden list because of their potential to damage braces are now fair game. 

Simplified Brushing and Flossing

Working around braces to brush and floss teeth is a real challenge. Once braces are removed, it becomes a far more straightforward process to keep the teeth and gums clean. 

Sensitive Teeth

After having braces removed, the surface of the teeth where the brackets and adhesive were applied may be sensitive. Since some pressure and polishing is involved in removing braces from the teeth, the teeth may be tender for a few days afterwards. 

Discoloured Teeth

After treatment, sometimes a patient’s teeth will appear slightly yellow in hue. Since it is impossible to clean the tooth’s entire surface when braces are in place, this is quite normal and is to be expected. Decalcification of the enamel may also occur if oral hygiene was not adequate during the treatment, leading to the formation of white spot lesions, or white tattoos. A consultation with the patient’s orthodontist can help address this problem and find the ideal solution. 

My Braces are Off! What Now? Wear a Retainer!

Once braces have been removed, retainers are an absolute necessity to ensure the teeth remain in their new and desired position. Wearing a retainer is an essential component of follow-up care. Failure to use the retainer will result in regression of the teeth to their original position in the mouth, thus ruining the effects of the orthodontic treatment entirely. 

A retainer also helps with settling, a common problem that occurs when braces are removed. Regular retainer wearing helps to keep any teeth shifting to an absolute minimum. 

What is the Final Step in the Braces Process? Enjoying your smile!

Once the braces have been removed, all that’s left for a patient to do is to unleash their smile on the world at every opportunity. Regular dental hygiene must be maintained, including flossing, brushing, and retainer wearing. 

Are you interested in learning more about braces? PacificWest can help. Our team of orthodontic professionals specializes in traditional braces and Invisalign treatment. With offices in both Vancouver and Surrey, you can choose from a location that is the most convenient for you. PacificWest, successfully helping patients achieve their ideal smile for over a decade.

We look forward to serving you!

Get a Consultation

answer our 1 minute questionnaire and get a consultation with our orthodontist!

Dr. Wang, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C)
Orthodontist
Dr. Kevin Lee, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)
Orthodontist