I have had my braces off finally, and I am thrilled and so glad that I did it. So I want to talk in more detail about the braces removal appointment. I did it in my previous blog where I discussed removal of my lower braces, but I felt it was important to cover more detail. The appointment is a little bit longer because there’s quite a lot involved in there. So the first thing we do is fit thin wire a retainer to the back surface of the teeth at the front of the mouth to hold them in place and stop them moving in the future.

You can’t feel the wire at all, and you get used to it within a couple of days. The only thing to be aware is that you can’t floss as usual because once you put the floss down it can’t go any further down because of the wire. So what you need to do is make sure you’ve got interdental brushes to go in between each tooth. Cleaning teeth may take a little bit longer, but it is probably easier than having crooked teeth and trying to clean in between them

After the retainer is fitted, we remove the brackets using a tool which wraps around a bracket, and it breaks the glue so that the bracket can be removed. So you may hear little-cracking noises but it’s not the tooth that’s being broken, it’s the glue breaking off.

Then we use a burr with water to clean the glue off the tooth surface. The procedure is painless, but there’s a lot of noise, water and vibration.

If there’s any smoothening of teeth required, e.g. if one tooth has got a little bit of a chip or is slightly longer we may do that at this appointment as well.

Once the teeth are clean, we take another mould of your teeth which is used to construct your removable retainers. What removable retainers are little plastic trays which we recommend you wear every night for the next 12 months and then after that, you can cut this down to every other night. It usually takes about a week or two for the retainers to be manufactured.

You then come back a week or two later and have your removable retainer fitted, which made of plastic, so you need to look after it with care. Keep your retainer away from hot temperatures; you don’t want it to melt. Keep it away from dogs. We’ve had quite a few patients whose dog has decided to chew it, and they had to be remade. So be aware that dogs love chewing on these so keep it away from them. When you’re not wearing them, please keep them in the tray and case that we provide so that they are safe. Some patients in the past have wrapped their retainers in tissue and put it aside, and then they accidentally binned them!

What we recommend to keep it clean is to use some lukewarm water and a toothbrush because it can get buildup inside. We also recommend cleaning tablets such as Retainer Bright to keep it fresh. All of these will be shown to you at the retainer fit appointment. It is really important to be compliant with your retainers because without retainers your teeth will move back to where they started. Although it may be difficult to get used to initially, within a week or two, they’ll become part of you. So retainers are for life, and they are for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.