What to Expect When You Graduate from Braces

graduate from braces roberts and de marsche center city orthodontists

Whether it’s an adult or teen who’s being freed from brackets and wires or Invisalign, the graduation from being an orthodontic patient is a milestone to celebrate. Find out what to expect during the removal of braces and after this significant effort is complete.

No Discomfort

It might feel odd to go from braces to no braces – after all, most people live with brackets or aligners for a year or more – but this unusual feeling will quickly disappear. Getting the braces off themselves is not painful either. There may only be a little pressure as the brackets are removed from the bonding cement with orthodontic pliers.

A Little Tenderness

A special tool is used to remove the bonding paste leftover from the brackets. This step polishes the teeth but it can also leave the mouth feeling a little grainy and potentially irritate the gums. This sensitivity is normal. There may also be calluses inside the patient’s lips which formed months ago so the mouth could tolerate the rubbing of brackets against the cheeks, but they will fade quickly after braces removal.

Careful Eating

When you graduate from braces, the teeth and bone have not fully strengthened and firmed up yet. It may take a few days or weeks for this funny feeling to fade away, especially when biting down and chewing, so be gentle and ease into all those favorite foods you’ve been missing. After all, the archwires held everything in place for many months – expect an adjustment period.

Retainer Time

Digital x-rays or impressions are taken of the teeth once orthodontic treatment is complete so a customized retainer can be created. Some retainers can be permanently attached behind the teeth, others are clear aligners are worn around the clock for several months then only at night. Your Center City orthodontist will make decisions about wear time and retainer needs based on your unique teeth, but you will be closely monitored after the braces first come off to ensure that teeth are staying where they need to be and the retainer is worn often enough.


If you or your teen have brushed and flossed carefully every day during orthodontic treatment, then your teeth should look amazing and white when the brackets are off. Some patients, though, have discoloration even after tooth polishing. Teeth whitening may be recommended, especially when your smile has stubborn areas that do not respond to brushing.

A New Perspective

It can feel a little weird to look at your smile free of braces after years of seeing only metal. It’s almost as though you’ve forged a new identity and, in a way, you have – person with straight, beautiful teeth. You may feel like your smile and teeth are bigger than they were, and your mouth may even feel bigger too. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to all of this very quickly and fully admire your new smile.

Learn about orthodontic treatment before, during, and after. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Roberts or Dr. de Marsche in Center City, Philadelphia, for yourself or your teen.