Having a set of braces fitted can be a great boon to anybody with crooked or occluded teeth, but having them taken off is always a relief. However, teeth newly stripped of their braces go through a brief period of vulnerability as they readjust, and it's important not to undo all that hard work by neglecting your teeth in the weeks and months after having your braces removed. Fortunately, caring for teeth after braces need not be any more difficult than caring for them before braces, as long as you know what you're doing.
Everyday dental care after braces
In the days and weeks immediately following brace removal, it's common to find that your teeth and gums are much more sensitive than usual. Don't worry, this will go away in time as the teeth readjust to being exposed and unsupported. Until the sensitivity subsides, you should stick to relatively soft foods and avoid cold foods such as ice cream.
You may wish to switch to a sensitive toothpaste to help numb the pain, but whatever toothpaste you choose, you should make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging softened and sensitive enamel. Many dental practises carry special soft toothbrushes for sensitive teeth.
Mouthwash and floss should be used as normal, but you may find ordinary flossing places too much pressure on your sensitive gums. Try using interdental brushes, as they are just as effective if used properly and place much less pressure on the gum line.
Dealing with white stains
You may notice white lines and spots on your teeth after brace removal, roughly corresponding to the previous position of the braces. This is caused by plaque building up under the braces and eroding the enamel beneath, leaving it white and fragile. These stains can generally be avoided with a thorough cleaning regimen while wearing the braces.
If you find your teeth bearing some white marks after braces despite your best efforts, you can treat them with re-mineralising toothpastes, generally available on prescription from your dentist or orthodontist. You can also use fluoride pastes or gels to protect the fragile white spots while they heal. Either way, your dentist will monitor enamel erosion while you're wearing braces, and they may recommend a professional cleaning to remove entrenched plaque deposits once your teeth have readjusted to life without braces. Do not schedule any tooth whitening appointments or use home tooth whitening kits in an attempt to deal with the white marks yourself - whitening treatments are abrasive to tooth enamel, and can seriously damage teeth left fragile by braces.
For more information, talk with an experienced dentist.