How to Prepare Your Child For Success After Orthodontic Treatment
Getting a retainer, braces, or any other orthodontic treatment seems to be a right of passage for most young adults. An estimated 45% of children will require braces to fix orthodontic issues such as a misaligned bite. Furthermore, nearly 75% of kids could benefit from braces to straighten their teeth or improve their facial shape.
With these staggering statistics in mind, if you are the parent of a child who has had orthodontic issues identified at their early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll likely want to be prepared for what to expect. Even more so, you’ll want to know what to expect after the braces come off.
What to Expect After Braces Come Off
So your child’s appointment to have their braces removed is quickly approaching. You and your child are likely excited to experience their new and improved smile. And after all those months of treatment, it will be a relief to make fewer dental trips for check-ups, wire tightenings, and more.
But you also understand that the braces don’t just come off, with all the magic work remaining for the rest of their lives. The truth is, there are things that you and your child need to be aware of after those braces come off to maintain their gorgeous new smile.
Wear that retainer!
The first bit of advice that we give to parents is to make sure their children wear their retainer. Though the dentist will provide specific instructions for your child, most kids need to wear their retainer during the night while sleeping. Though you probably want to know how long will your child need to wear their retainer, that can vary. In most cases, however, daily wear will be for the first four to six months after the braces come off.
Following the dentist’s advice on retainer usage is critical in ensuring your teeth stay in place. Failure to wear the retainer as directed can cause teeth to shift back into their old positions. This process is referred to as relapsing. If your child doesn’t wear their retainer, it may mean they’ll be back for further orthodontic intervention down the road.
Know what to eat.
After the braces come off, your child will be so excited to eat some of those foods that have been restricted during their orthodontic treatment. Chewy foods like bagels and licorice, popcorn, hard candies, and corn on the cob will likely be high on the list to indulge in. Don’t be surprised if your child suddenly wants an apple this fall!
But kids need to know that their teeth might be a bit sensitive, too, after those braces come off. We encourage kids to take it easy and to gradually reintroduce those previously restricted foods. And, of course, encourage your kids to stick to low-sugar foods and snacks that can help prevent tooth decay.
Look into tooth whitening.
Sometimes despite the best of efforts, kids’ teeth can experience staining while the braces are on. This can happen if your child doesn’t brush after each meal, doesn’t rinse out food particles with an approved mouthwash, or consumes foods that stain, such as coffee, soda, items containing food coloring, and even ketchup, mustard, and tomatoes.
If your child experienced staining while wearing their braces, we suggest you consider an ADA-approved home whitening option. Even better, talk to your dentist at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry about the best professional whitening solution for your child.
Practice optimal oral hygiene.
After the braces come off, your child should continue a good oral care routine at home. This means brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing between the teeth and gums at least once a day, and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash.
The best times to brush are after breakfast and before bed. After flossing, we recommend rinsing with mouthwash to freshen breath and rid the mouth of all those food particles that were loosened when flossing.
Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry will help you know what to expect after braces come off.
Keeping up with oral hygiene after the braces come off is perhaps the single most important thing your child can do to protect their smile. And part of establishing and maintaining a good oral care routine involves making trips to their dentist once every six months or as directed by the dentist. At Must Love Kids, we are the premier kids’ dentist in Vancouver, Washington.
We create positive experiences at the dentist that can help your child create those long-lasting positive dental habits. We’re here to help your young children and teenagers have a smile they’ll love and be confident with – for their entire lifetime. Request an appointment today. We can’t wait to meet you and your child.