Orthodontic Aftercare: Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Your Straightened Smile

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Orthodontic after care


Congratulations on completing your orthodontic treatment and achieving a beautifully straightened smile! Now that your braces or aligners have been removed, it's crucial to establish a solid aftercare routine to maintain your new smile for years to come. In this article, we'll discuss essential tips and tricks for preserving the results of your orthodontic treatment and ensuring optimal oral health. Let's dive in!

Wear Retainers:

After your braces or aligners are removed, your orthodontist will provide you with retainers. Retainers are custom-made appliances designed to hold your teeth in their new positions. It's essential to wear your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist, typically full-time for a few months and then only during sleep. Consistent retainer usage will prevent your teeth from shifting back to their previous misalignment.

Clean Your Retainers:

Maintaining proper oral hygiene extends to your retainers as well. Clean them daily with a mild toothpaste or non-alcoholic mouthwash and a soft toothbrush. Avoid using hot water, as it may warp the plastic. Additionally, avoid harsh chemical cleaners that can damage your retainers. Regular cleaning will help prevent bacteria buildup and keep your retainers odor-free.

Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene:

Proper oral hygiene is critical for everyone, but it becomes even more crucial after orthodontic treatment. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Pay extra attention to the gumline, brackets, wires, or any other orthodontic appliances. Flossing is equally important; use floss threaders or interdental brushes to clean between teeth and around brackets or wires.

Follow a Balanced Diet:

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for your oral health. Avoid sticky, hard, or chewy foods that could damage your teeth or orthodontic appliances. Cut food into smaller, bite-sized pieces to minimize the risk of dislodging brackets or wires. Opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products to ensure your teeth receive the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

Avoid Harmful Habits:

Certain habits can negatively impact your orthodontic results. Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, or ice cubes, as they can damage your teeth or orthodontic appliances. Refrain from biting your nails, as it can exert pressure on your teeth and cause them to shift. Additionally, if you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, discuss it with your orthodontist, as they may recommend a nightguard for protection.

Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups:

Even after orthodontic treatment, it's crucial to maintain regular dental check-ups. Visit your dentist every six months for a thorough examination, professional cleaning, and evaluation of your orthodontic progress. Dental check-ups allow your dentist to identify and address any potential issues early on, ensuring the long-term success of your orthodontic treatment.

Protect Your Teeth during Physical Activities:

If you participate in contact sports or activities that pose a risk of dental injury, consider wearing a mouthguard. A custom-fitted mouthguard provided by your dentist offers superior protection, reducing the chances of tooth damage or orthodontic emergencies.

Be Mindful of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism):

Bruxism can place excessive force on your teeth and orthodontic appliances, leading to tooth movement or damage. If you suspect you grind your teeth, consult your dentist. They may recommend a customized mouthguard or suggest relaxation techniques to help alleviate the grinding habit.


Maintaining your straightened smile requires dedication and consistency in your aftercare routine. By wearing your retainers as instructed, practicing excellent oral hygiene, following a balanced diet, avoiding harmful habits, scheduling regular dental check-ups, and protecting your teeth during physical activities, you can preserve the results of your orthodontic treatment for years to come. Remember, a healthy and radiant smile is a lifelong asset that deserves proper care and attention.

Get the smile of your dreams with SmilePath New Zealand. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you achieve and maintain a beautifully straightened smile.


How long should I wear my retainers?

Your orthodontist will provide specific instructions, but typically, full-time wear is recommended for a few months, followed by nighttime wear for a longer period.

How often should I clean my retainers?

Clean your retainers daily using a soft toothbrush and mild toothpaste or non-alcoholic mouthwash. This helps prevent bacteria buildup and keeps them odor-free.

Can I eat normally with retainers?

It's best to remove your retainers before eating. This avoids damage to the retainers and allows you to enjoy a wider range of foods.

Are there any foods I should avoid after orthodontic treatment?

Yes, it's best to avoid sticky, hard, or chewy foods that can damage your teeth or orthodontic appliances. Cut food into smaller, bite-sized pieces to minimize the risk of dislodging brackets or wires.

How often should I visit the dentist after orthodontic treatment?

Regular dental check-ups every six months are recommended. Your dentist will monitor your oral health, perform professional cleanings, and evaluate your orthodontic progress.

Can I play sports or engage in physical activities with orthodontic appliances?

It's important to protect your teeth during physical activities. Consider wearing a custom-fitted mouth guard provided by your dentist to reduce the risk of tooth damage or orthodontic emergencies.