What to Expect When Removing Braces

(Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Martin Kingsley)

People will go to long lengths to improve their appearance. Smiling is a big part of communication and attractiveness. If someone feels her teeth are unattractive or damaged, braces can help. Braces straighten and move the position of teeth over the course of months or years. When the braces come off, many patients fear that the procedure will be painful. In reality, the procedure is practically painless and the procedure does not require a great amount of time. After the braces are removed, the patient can enjoy her new smile and appearance.

Removal Time

Removal time may vary from orthodontist to orthodontist. The usual time is 45 minutes to one to two hours. The final removal should not take long. Most of the procedures preformed are exactly like the ones used to replace the braces each month.


The first step to removing braces is removing the rubber brackets that hold down the arch wire that goes over the teeth. After this the orthodontist will use a tool to break the bond with the tooth and the bracket. The bracket is placed over the wire and set in place with adhesive. Removal of the brackets is not painful; you will only feel pressure as the brackets are pulled off. After this the bonding material or adhesive is removed from the teeth. You may feel slight discomfort during this procedure.


Patients always anticipate some amount of pain during the procedure. The braces, including the arch metal band, will not be tightened weeks before the surgery. This will minimize pain when the wire and brackets are pulled from the teeth. A pair of pliers is used to break the bond between the tooth enamel and the bracket. After this procedure, the bonding agent will still remain on the teeth. It must be removed by smoothing it off the teeth. After this, the teeth will be polished. People with sensitive teeth may experience pain during this procedure.

Bonded Retainers

Retainers may be used after removal of braces to prevent movement of the teeth that would destroy the straightening and restructuring the braces had provided to the teeth. The retainer is usually applied behind the top set of teeth. The retainer requires cleaning and special self-threading floss. Self-threading floss is an excellent choice for cleaning braces or retainers because it has a stiff end that can be placed under the retainer or braces and prevent food from getting stuck on the teeth and forming cavities or tooth decay. The retainer may be used for years if the orthodontist feels that the teeth may move or shift.


Patients should not overindulge in hard foods since their teeth are still being molded by the retainer. Starting with soft foods may be more comfortable to the patient. After the braces are removed, the teeth will look dramatically better. The retainer may be used by the patient as long as the orthodontist desires. The retainer is virtually invisible since it sits up above the top row of front teeth, giving the patient a new smile and self-confidence.

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