Taking Your Braces Off

End of the Road

After months or even years of treatment with fixed braces, finally the orthodontist has made the decision that your teeth have been corrected and you can have the braces removed. Whether you have chosen the standard metal system or gone with one of the modern, cosmetic choices like Damon or Lingual braces, it will still be a relief to know that the discomfort and food restrictions are at an end. And that you have a beautiful new smile to look forward to.

Removal Process

It is perfectly understandable to have some concerns before the final appointment. These brackets have been fixed firmly to your teeth for some time, so how exactly will the orthodontist get rid of them? The answer is very simple; the bracket, whether metal or ceramic, will be squeezed using a special small pair of pliers until the pressure forces it off the surface of your tooth. Some ceramic brackets are designed to split into pieces during this process to help remove cement. The whole removal will usually take only five minutes and is less painful than having the braces fitted.

There may be some pieces of the cement left on your teeth after the brackets have been removed. This can be scraped and finally polished away, as the orthodontist uses the type of equipment you would experience on a visit to your dental hygienist to ensure your teeth are left as clean as possible. Usually, a final set of x-rays or impressions will be taken at this point to evaluate how successful the treatment has been.


Once your fixed braces have been removed, you will be fitted for a retainer which you will need to wear regularly to prevent your teeth from relapsing to their old positions. Again, there are different models you can choose depending on your aesthetic or financial concerns. Standard braces use a plate and wires to maintain your teeth’s positions, while newer designs such as Invisalign use almost invisible plastic bands. Whichever design you choose, you must follow your orthodontist’s instructions about when and how often you need to wear your retainer. Some people may only need to wear theirs at night while others, with more serious corrections, may have to wear theirs most of the time. It is important not to feel that having your standard braces removed is the end of the story, as you still have some work to do to ensure you keep hold of that new smile.