The time is finally approaching: you're getting your braces off! You're obviously excited to see your new and improved smile, but you may also be a little anxious over what to expect after they're taken off. By having a good idea of what changes to expect when it comes to life without braces, you can be better prepared.
An Adjustment Period
First of all, understand that there is going to be an adjustment period--especially if you've had your braces on for awhile. Not having those metal brackets and wires in your mouth may feel strange at first, and it might take some time for you to adjust to speaking without braces. The bigger adjustment, however, will come with the new retainer you'll have to wear to keep your teeth from shifting back to their original places. Depending on the type of retainer you have to wear (Invisalign or traditional), you may expect to have a slight lisp until you're able to fully adjust to wearing the new dental appliance. By wearing your retainer as recommended, however, you should be able to overcome any discomfort within a few days.
Often times, people have a hard time thoroughly brushing their teeth when they have traditional braces. Specifically, because they're unable to floss easily with braces, the health of their gums often suffers. Therefore, it's not uncommon for people to see improved gum health once they get their braces off. You may noticed that your gums are less swollen and red than they used to be; this is a good thing, and you can keep it up with regular brushing and flossing.
No matter how diligently you wear your retainers, you're going to have some settling of your teeth after your braces are taken off. But this is actually a good thing! Your teeth shouldn't shift back to being crooked; instead, they will mostly shift vertically as a means of naturally correcting and evening out your bite. This will take place in the weeks and months following the removal of your braces, and you probably won't even notice it--but your orthodontist will.
Speaking of your orthodontist, you're not done seeing him or her just because you're done with braces. Expect to have a few follow-up appointments in the months following the removal of your braces. Your orthodontist will want to make sure that your retainers are properly holding your teeth in place and that your gums look healthy following the removal of your braces/addition of your new retainer. Your orthodontist may also take X-rays at this time and check the alignment of your bite.
These are just a few of the things you should expect once you have your braces taken off. Most of all, though, you can expect to see a beautiful new smile!