Does Getting Braces Off Hurt?

One of the most common questions patients have for their orthodontist is “does getting braces off hurt?” While this is a prevalent concern, patients are often relieved to learn that discomfort is minimal. Dr. Amy Smith with Smith Orthodontics stresses that pain from braces rarely occurs, and when it does, it can be remedied fairly easily. If you are considering getting braces, but worried about the pain of removal, you can be rest assured that there is nothing to fear! 

What is the process for removing braces?

The actual process of removing braces is fairly quick, simple, and painless. If you have any pain sensitivity, you may want to take an over the counter pain reliever prior to your appointment. You should also brush your teeth and clean your braces before your visit. This makes the removal process easier for both you and  your orthodontist. The process for removing braces typically follows these steps:

  1. The orthodontist will use specialized braces-removal tools to loosen the brackets on each of your teeth. Your orthodontist will start by taking a sanitized tool and squeezing the bracket on each tooth. This will separate the wires and brackets from your teeth, allowing your orthodontist to simply lift your braces out of your teeth once they are done clipping.The braces, including both the brackets and wires, will come off fairly easily without much force. If you have braces on your molars, the metal molar bands will then be removed.
  2. Once the braces are removed, your teeth will receive a deep cleaning to remove any hardened on plaque or food in your teeth.Since the bonding material will still be on the surface of your teeth, your orthodontist will polish the surface of your teeth to gently remove the dental glue. You will also receive an in-depth, brushing and flossing.  Don’t let this process sound intimidating, as it is no more intense than getting a teeth-cleaning from your dentist.
  3. After the cleaning, you may have X-rays taken so your orthodontist can make sure the braces have done their job properly. You may also receive a bite impression or digital scan to take measurements of your mouth and teeth. These measurements are then sent to the lab to build your retainer. 
  4. If your wisdom teeth have come in and havent been removed, your orthodontist will examine and make a recommendation regarding removal. Oftentimes, if wisdom teeth are just coming in or impacted, removal is recommended so that they don’t shift your teeth.
  5. The final step is admiring your new smile!

Does getting braces off hurt?

As mentioned in describing the overall process, there is minimal pain associated with getting off your braces. If you currently have braces, you know there is some mild discomfort when you first get them on and your teeth and mouth are adjusting to the brackets and wires. You may also have had minor pain after getting your braces adjusted. That being said, your teeth will need to adjust to not having braces on them anymore, which can result in temporary tenderness. You may also notice some inflammation in your gums right after your appointment. This should go away after only a few days. Here are a few tips for treating any discomfort:

  1. Take an over-the-counter pain medication.
  2. Use a topical ointment, such as Orajel, on your gums and cheeks to numb the pain.
  3. Rinse with warm salt water.
  4. Use an ice pack or eat popsicles, ice cream, or other cold treats to reduce inflammation.

What is a retainer?

Retainers are custom-made pieces of plastic or metal that help maintain the work that the braces performed. A retainer is essential to prevent your teeth from shifting. As outlined in step three above, once your braces are off and your teeth are polished, your orthodontist will obtain impressions or digital scans of your teeth to create your retainer. This process is generally the same as what you went through when you first started treatment. After the orthodontist has the information they need to create your retainer, they will send it to the lab to have it custom-made for you. When your retainer is ready, you’ll just need to pick it up and wear it according to your doctor’s instructions.

Can I eat right after taking off my braces?

While you can certainly eat after having your braces taken off, keep in mind that your mouth, teeth, and gums may be sensitive due to the brace removal procedure. You may want to stay away from hard foods, including chips, nuts, and hard candy for a few days. However, you will be extremely happy to be able to eat all of the foods you love once again! You can even take a bite of an apple, chew gum, and eat sticky caramel (as long as you brush your teeth afterwards!)

What should I expect next?

After you get your braces off, you should have bright, shiny teeth thanks, but if you didn’t stay on top of your recommended cleaning routine, you might end up with some spots on your teeth. While you may want to jump right into starting teeth-whitening, it’s often best to wait a few months since professional procedures can cause some tooth sensitivity

To learn more about orthodontic appointments, contact Smith Orthodontics today! You can also get scheduled for your free consultation. We look forward to helping you get your ideal smile!