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It may take months, it may even take years, but sooner or later, your braces will complete their work and it will be time to take them off. While it is a big event, you still have a way to go before you are done.

The process of removing your braces is not long, and it is generally painless. However the doctor will remove the adhesive from your teeth, so you might experience some minor swelling in your gums. As long as you continue to brush and floss as you should, this inflammation should disappear.

First of all, don’t be surprised if you don’t have a dazzling smile when you take that first look at yourself in the mirror. There may be some adhesive left on your teeth, so your smile might not light up the room just yet. Don’t panic. Your orthodontist will remove the leftover adhesive before you leave, and you should also schedule a visit with your dentist for a cleaning. You will probably notice a difference in color in the area where the brackets were bonded to your teeth. This is normal and your dentist can fix that with a tooth-whitening procedure.

Although the hardware has been removed, your teeth have not completely settled into their new positions. To help that along, you will visit your orthodontist again to be fitted for a retainer. The retainer may be cemented in place, or you may be given a removable retainer. It will be custom-fitted to your mouth. Your orthodontist will tell you when you should wear it and for how long. Keep in mind that every person is different, so there is no standard period for wearing one. But if you don’t follow the doctor’s instructions, your teeth may shift back to their original positions.

If you are considering braces for yourself or your child, our orthodontist Dr. Rehana Khan and the staff at Santa Monica Orthodontics in Santa Monica, California, will be happy to talk with you. Contact our office at 310-393-3344 to make an appointment.