What You Should Know about Braces Removal

Getting ready for your braces removal is an incredibly exciting time! You have suffered through months, if not years, of treatment with your braces and all of the discomfort and pain that this entails. It’s finally time to see your beautiful smile uninhibited, but you might find yourself nervous about the process of getting your braces removed. This article will help you understand the procedure of braces removal as well as what to expect when it is all said and done so that you may feel more confident entering the orthodontist’s office.

White teeth and lips


How Are Braces Removed?

This section of the article will guide you step by step through the removal process.

When your orthodontist decides that your treatment has run its course, your braces will be removed! The process is simple and painless. You might feel a bit of pressure as the braces are released as well as some sensitivity, but there should be no pain, contrary to what is often believed.

In order to remove braces, the following steps are taken.

  1. The bond between the brackets that are attached to your teeth will be gently and safely loosened by using a special set of pliers. This happens by squeezing the brackets from the bottom with these pliers to peel away the brackets from the tooth. There may be a small clicking or popping sound as they are removed.
  1. After your orthodontist squeezes off the bottom of your brackets, the adhesive releases from the metal, allowing the brackets to be removed. Some are designed to come off in one piece while others have been designed to break off into little chunks. Don’t be alarmed if the latter happens.
  1. With the brackets removed, there will still be bonding cement attached to your teeth. This helps prevent damage to the enamel and to the structure of the teeth.
  1. The remaining bonding cement will be removed. This is done by scraping, and this is the part where some people experience sensitivity or discomfort. Using a dental hand piece, the adhesive is removed. You may recognize this piece if you have ever had a cavity, as this is typically the same tool used for repairing one.
  1. After the bonding cement has been eliminated, your gums may feel inflamed, but this is normal. It should go away in a few days with proper flossing and brushing of the teeth.

Common Questions for After Braces Removal

Below are typical questions about removal of braces that will hopefully better prepare you for the procedure and for life immediately after braces.

Are teeth numbed before the removal?

No. Due to the lack of dental pain, there is no need for a local anesthetic to remove braces.

What will it feel like after the braces have been taken off?

Immediately after removal, many patients report a slimy feeling on their teeth. This is probably accredited to the fact that braces will push up the lips and the cheeks away from your gums and teeth over the course of your treatment.

When the braces come off, your cheeks and lips now rest against the gums and teeth. This slimy sensation will subside when you brush and floss your teeth. Eventually, the feeling will become normal.

This may also be because for once, you do not have metal obstructing your tongue from your teeth.

Once the braces have come off, teeth tend to feel loose. Is that normal?

Yes. The reason for this is because right after the braces come off, the periodontal ligament, or PDL, which is the gum tissue surrounding the tooth’s root, is still wide open. This is typical during an orthodontic treatment. When the braces are gone, the PDL will begin to narrow so that the teeth no longer feel loose.

Gums often feel puffy after the fact. Will that feeling go away?

During the course of your treatment, the gum tissue may become puffy. As soon as your braces come off, the gums will start to shrink. To get your gums to regain their normal size more quickly, massage them with your toothbrush bristles and don’t forget to floss.

If after a decent amount of time the gums have not returned to normal size, ask your orthodontist for a consult. In some cases, a periodontist will perform a  gingivectomy or a gingivioplasty to return them to their proper size and shape.

Will I need a retainer after my braces are removed?

Certainly. Retainers are worn for the purpose of holding your teeth in their new positions. If you do not use a retainer, the gum tissue and other natural forces will shift the teeth immediately. If this happens, much of the new tooth alignment will go away. Retainers are needed to keep the teeth from returning to their old, misaligned positions in your mouth.

There are many questions surrounding what it is like to have your braces removed, but they largely focus around one: How are braces removed? Another common question is whether or not it will hurt. While you may feel pressure, there will be no pain.

It will take a little getting used to once your braces are off, such as gum inflammation and a slimy feeling, but soon you will be beaming and showing off your new smile as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

What was your experience like getting your braces removed? How did it feel once they were off? Share with us in the “Comments” section!

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