The last few months that you have to wear braces can feel like they take forever to get through. It can start to feel like there isn’t any such thing as life after braces. The truth, though, is that you will get there. Those braces are going to come off and then you will finally be able to have a mouth that, unless you are eating, only has teeth in it. It’s a moment you’ve probably been dreaming of since the brackets and wires first got installed.
Of course, even though those braces are going to come off, that doesn’t mean that you can “party it up” right away.
1. Almost every person who has braces is going to have to have a retainer, at least for a while. It can take a while for your mouth to adjust to having the retainer in place. Your tongue and lips are going to have to get used to maneuvering around the wires and, until they do, you are going to have a little bit of trouble talking. You will probably, at the very least, have a lisp. The best way to get through this and get your mouth feeling normal again is to talk. Talk a lot. Read books out loud, sing, just jabber away. It might feel embarrassing as you do it, but the more you talk the faster your tongue and lips will get used to working around the retainers to help you make sure that you are understood (and the lisp to go away).
2. Let your mouth have a little bit of time to heal. When your braces first get taken off, your teeth are going to be very weak. They might even be a little bit looser than you are used to. Give yourself time to let things settle in to place before you start gnawing on all of the foods you weren’t allowed to have when you had braces in your mouth.
3. Follow all of the directions that you have been given about proper care for your teeth and gums after braces get taken off. Follow them precisely. Do not bend any of the rules. The more you follow the rules the less time you’ll have to wear your retainer and the better off your mouth is going to be.
That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t still live it up after you get your braces off.
Stock up on all of the foods you wanted to eat when you had braces but that you weren’t allowed to have. Lots of people over indulge in the foods that were forbidden during the time that they had braces. To buy time for your mouth to heal, don’t shop for the foods until a day or two after your braces are off. That way it won’t be tempting you while you wait for your teeth to “settle”.
Work with your dentist and orthodontist to find a way to safely whiten your teeth so that you won’t have to deal with stains left behind by the glue used to bond the brackets to your teeth. After all, you had to deal with that stuff for a few years, why not reward yourself with the most beautiful smile possible now that they are off?
Before you get your braces taken off, have your picture taken. It doesn’t take long to forget what it was like to have braces on your teeth (your mind kind of blocks it out). The picture can be a great way to remind yourself what you’ll have to go through again if you don’t take proper care of your teeth and don’t wear your retainer the way you are supposed to wear it.
Finally—smile and smile big and smile often. You worked hard for that smile! It’s time to show it to as many people as possible!