What To Expect When You Get Your Braces Off

As your time wearing braces comes to an end, you might start thinking about what happens next. Now it’s time to remove your braces so you can maintain your hard work and enjoy your results! Dudley Smiles is here to share what to expect when you get your braces off, covering the appliance removal appointment, the importance of a retainer, and how to adjust to life without braces.

What Happens When Your Braces Are Removed?

The first step involves clipping off the archwire and removing any additional appliance supports, such as elastics and orthodontic bands. Our team will then use special pliers to extract each bracket from your teeth. This step lasts the longest as we do so with care to avoid any pain.

From here, we remove glue residue left on your teeth by smoothing it out with a high-speed drill. This step may be comfortable for some, as drills are typically associated with in-depth dental work, but only we go as far as the surface to get the job done. We assure you this step will be done before you know it.

Your appliance is now completely removed! On the day of your appointment, our expert team will explain the entire process to you in more detail so you will know exactly what to expect and when each step of the way. You can expect it to last no more than an hour.

Will My Teeth Hurt After the Procedure?

Your teeth will need time to adjust to no longer having your appliance. The slight pressure they received for over a year is gone, so you will likely feel soreness as your teeth settle into place and transition into their new alignment. The procedure itself is painless. We do our best to ensure you feel comfortable, taking short breaks and checking how you are doing. 

If you feel uneasy or nervous during the procedure, please let our team know as soon as possible so we can pause and give you a break. 

How to Care for Your Teeth

Oral Hygiene Upkeep

One of the most essential steps in maintaining long-term oral health is maintaining a routine of oral hygiene practices. These include brushing and flossing your teeth in the morning and at night, using mouthwash, and scraping your tongue to help support the process. Each of these steps gets rid of loose pieces of food between your teeth and removes built-up tartar and plaque.

Stay Hydrated

Water will become your new best friend! Water has many beneficial properties, including fluoride, which can be found in toothpaste and mouthwash. It works to prevent tooth decay and strengthen your enamel. Having a glass of water after a meal also helps to flush away lingering plaque or small particles of food left behind.  

Managing Pain Relief

As your teeth transition into this new phase of your oral health, you may feel some minor pain for the next few days. It will remedy itself naturally with time, but if it gets in the way of your everyday routine, you can do a few things to fix it. 

Swish your mouth with warm salt water. This will help eliminate any lingering harmful bacteria in your mouth, often the source of sore gums and teeth. You can also ask Dr. Dudley what over-the-counter pain medications he recommends for your symptoms.

What To Expect When You Get Your Braces Off

Why Is Wearing a Retainer Important?

Just as your teeth have moved into the perfect alignment with the help of your braces, they can move back when left without support. That being said, Dudley Smiles provides each patient with retainers. Retainers are custom-made appliances that fit right atop your teeth and prevent them from moving out of the desired position.

You will receive a unique schedule on when to wear them during your follow-up, but Dr. Dudley typically suggests wearing them full-time for up to six months after removing your braces. After that, only during the nighttime is necessary. However, there is no harm in wearing your retainer longer than prescribed if you accidentally leave it in.

Types of Retainers

Fixed: Comprised of a thin, curved wire, this permanent appliance is bonded to the back of your front four to six teeth to prevent relapse into their original position. We don’t do these routinely, but do recommend them on a case-by-case basis.

Removable: Made of plastic, metal, or a combination, this custom-fit appliance can be removed, allowing flexibility and more straightforward oral hygiene. 

Some patients get a different kind of retainer for their bottom and top teeth, depending on their specific case. If you misplace or damage your retainer, please contact our office so we can offer you a replacement.

Adjusting to Life Without Braces


As your mouth gets used to not having your braces attached, you may notice changes inside your mouth, such as calluses. These are small, hardened areas of skin in the mouth that typically form due to friction caused by wires or brackets. You may not notice them until after your appliance is removed, but rest assured, they will go away with time.

Eating May Feel Different

For over a year, you have been eating a soft-food diet. We recommend slowly transitioning back to crunchy and hard foods to allow your teeth to get used to the sensation again. They may also feel tender right after your appliance is removed, so take as much time as you need.


Once covered by brackets, your teeth can now be easily cleaned. Because they were covered for an extended period, you may see spotty yellow discoloration in certain areas. These will naturally disappear, but you can speed up the process with regular oral hygiene upkeep. If you still notice patchy areas, ask Dr. Dudley when you can consider teeth whitening after treatment. 

What To Expect When You Get Your Braces Off

Time To Show Off Your Beautiful Smile!

Now that you understand more about what awaits you at the end of treatment, we hope you are as excited as we are! Dudley Smiles continues to be a source of support for you, even after treatment is complete. We proudly serve Issaquah and the surrounding communities with expert orthodontic services. Contact our office today, and our friendly team can schedule you for a free consultation!

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