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Maintaining Your Smile After Braces

While traditional wire braces are still the most efficient at straightening teeth, fixing crowding, and correcting an underbite or overbite, invisible aligners have become an attractive alternative in recent years. Being able to get all the benefits of braces with such a low-profile appliance that can be removed for brushing, flossing, and eating can make the orthodontic process far more palatable. This seems to be the dominant thing in the Chattanooga orthodontic market lately.

But what’s next after you’ve progressed through every aligner tray and your teeth are perfectly aligned? And What will it take to maintain the smile you’ve always wanted?

Wear Retainers As Recommended

In some cases, the final invisible aligner (Invisalign and Clear Correct) tray can be used initially as a full-time retainer and eventually as a nighttime one after the patient’s teeth are correctly aligned. In others, a separate retainer will be recommended, and those tend to be sturdier. No matter what type of retainer you end up with, be sure to follow the care instructions in order to keep it clean and effective as long as possible.

The reason it’s important to use retainers after the teeth are straight is that it can take around a year for the periodontal ligaments–the tiny connective tissue fibers that hold our teeth in place in our jaws–to get used to the new position. Without retainers, your teeth will be in danger of shifting back to the position those ligaments were used to.

You see when teeth are moved the bone on the side of the tooth is moving is denser, the bone on the side where the tooth came from is less dense. This will eventually even out and find an equilibrium point, and the tooth will be stable. Right after braces are taken off the teeth want to move back to the less dense bone.

Stay On Top Of Your Oral Hygiene

The most important component of post-aligner dental health is how well you take care of your teeth. That means maintaining good habits, such as:

  • brushing for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • flossing daily with traditional floss, interdental brushes, or a water flosser
  • avoiding sugary snacks and sodas that supercharge bad oral bacteria

Schedule Regular Dental Visits

No matter how straight your teeth are and how diligently you’re keeping them clean, they still need professional dental care twice a year. At our practice, we have the equipment and skill needed to thoroughly clean your teeth, take care of anything more extensive when needed, and help you make sure you’re on track with your own oral hygiene habits.

Did you know you can use your Clear Correct aligners and your Invisalign trays for whitening trays? You can put whitening gel right in the Invisalign tray and whiten your teeth and move your teeth! Just ask us next time you come in for some whitening gel refills. Works great!

We Can Answer Your Questions!

If you have any questions about how to take care of your teeth post-invisible aligners, we’re happy to answer them. Call McOmie Family Dentistry at 423-899-1112 and set up an appointment today or leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll work with you to get the information you need to maintain a happy, healthy smile.

Congratulations on all your hard work to get straight teeth!

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