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The most common reaction I get when getting someone’s braces off is how weird, slippery or slimy their teeth feel. After enduring years in braces and a long debond session, patients now have to get used to yet another new feeling: their new teeth without brackets on.
While getting a new smile is a cause for celebration, many of my patients can’t get over the fact that their teeth feel so strange, almost like they’re too smooth and have a slippery film on them. So if you, too, are annoyed by that slimy feel, then this article is for you.
We’ll explore what makes your teeth feel this way, how long the slimy feeling will last, and whether the coating on your teeth is normal or a cause for concern.
Why do teeth feel slimy after braces come off?
The simple truth is that you’ve had large, sharp and rough foreign objects stuck to your teeth for at least a year, possibly even two years or more. Your tongue and the inside of your cheeks and lips had to adapt to that awkward feeling.
Now that your journey with braces is over and you can barely remember that initial discomfort, your lips, cheeks and tongue need to get used to the old feeling of having “normal” teeth.
What you’re feeling the day of your debond isn’t plaque accumulation or mucus on your teeth (which isn’t really a thing, but people describe it that way). The slimy sensation is most likely the way saliva coats your enamel now that your brackets are off.
Some patients complain about their teeth being rough after having their braces removed. This is often due to the excess roughening of the enamel, or leftover glue on their teeth. Dental plaque also feels rough once it starts building on your teeth.
So that slimy feeling post braces is just the feeling of clean, bracket-free teeth and healthy, smooth enamel.
When do teeth stop feeling slimy?
Most patients report getting accustomed to the new sensation in a week or less, so expect the transition to last at least 3-4 days.
By the time they come in for their retainer check, most patients have already forgotten about this issue.
It’s now up to you to maintain your clean teeth to avoid that “slimy” feeling to turn into a “fuzzy” feeling. We all have billions of bacteria in our mouths, but it’s up to our oral hygiene habits to prevent it from building on our teeth.
Once the orthodontist cleans your teeth after removing your braces, it will take less than 24 hours for your teeth to become coated in biofilm, which is a very thin layer of bacteria attached to the enamel. Biofilm formation is unavoidable, but you can prevent the next level, plaque formation, by brushing twice per day.
Now that you no longer have obstacles to clean around, sticky teeth and bad breath can be prevented if you use the right tools and techniques:
Will the orthodontist clean your teeth after braces?
By the end of a long orthodontic treatment, most patients’ teeth will have some plaque and tartar buildup, especially in those hidden or hard to reach areas. Removing braces involves much more than just popping the brackets off, so no worries, your orthodontist will take care of your teeth all the way.
The teeth cleaning process after braces is similar to a regular dental cleaning, but there are a few differences. First, the orthodontist will use special tools to remove any remaining cement or adhesive from your teeth. This is important because if left on, it can cause staining or decay, not to mention you’ll be feeling the glue as something foreign and rough.
Next, the orthodontist will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove any plaque or tartar buildup that may have accumulated during the time you had braces on. This is done carefully to avoid damaging the enamel or any areas that may be sensitive.
Some doctors take the extra step and use a Prophy-Jet, which is a powerful air-water-powder mixture that removes stains and polishes the enamel in fine detail.
After the scaling is complete, the orthodontist will polish your teeth using a rubber bur and a special paste. This helps to remove any remaining stains or discoloration and leaves your teeth feeling smooth and clean.
Will the orthodontist whiten your teeth after braces?
After the braces are removed, you may be interested in whitening your teeth to achieve a brighter, more attractive smile. While orthodontists specialize in straightening teeth, some may not offer teeth whitening services in their office.
It’s best to consult with your orthodontist about the best solution for your particular case. Before looking into whitening treatments, it’s important to understand these two things:
Now let’s talk whitening options. Your orthodontist may recommend at-home whitening kits or in-office treatments.
At-home whitening kits typically involve the use of custom-made trays and a whitening gel that you apply to your teeth for a certain amount of time each day. In-office treatments, on the other hand, involve the use of stronger whitening agents and may require multiple appointments to achieve the desired results.
Hopefully, I’ve eased your mind about the slimy sensation on your teeth post-braces. You’ve been through a lot of changes, but the struggle is almost over. If you’re still dealing with some issues, such as yellow teeth, or not liking your teeth after braces, check this site for more resources. And if you can’t find the answer for what you’re looking for, simply leave a question in the comments and I’ll get back to you!
Oh, and congratulations on getting your braces off!