Week 92: Braces are OFF!

Posted by Jill Zimmerman at

Aaron with braces off!
Debanding actually happened today! The long wait is over, the teeth are set free!
Love that new smile!
With all the excitement, it was hard to get Aaron to stand still for a good picture. One of the great "goodies" our orthodontist provided for us was a gift certificate to a local photographer for a free 5"x7" photo. (Actually, two photos, one for us and one for the doctor to hang on their "wall of fame" for finished cases - still a nice perk for patients.)
We're not completely free just yet, there is a fixed retainer on the bottom teeth for now. Next week he gets the upper retainer (a clear aligner style retainer). The retention phase of treatment will have more compliance issues to face, for sure. 
braces off teeth white spots
As a parent who happens to work for a company that produces patient education and compliance tools, I immediately noticed a few telltale white spots of decalcification. Even though we thought he was doing a good job with his brushing, I know he did not cut back on his candy and sugar intake as much as he should have. Our next step may be to research how best to go about possibly reversing some of that damage. There are products that may help deliver calcium and phosphate to replace leached minerals in the enamel, such as Recaldent (in cream or chewing gum). Also, fluoride therapies can help promote remineralization. Changing diet to reduce sugar and increase dairy products, especially cheese, may help as well.
In hindsight though, I wish I'd have been stricter about the candy and soda intake during his treatment in the first place. If we are not careful going forward, the aligner style retainer can trap acid from sugar and cause decalcification to worsen. Now that Aaron can see his new straight smile, he may be more motivated than ever to keep it clean and healthy. Wish us luck! 

2/21/17 FOLLOW UP:

Well, we had our retainer appointment yesterday and I'm really glad I had a chance to discuss my concern over the white spots with our doctor. We got to look at the "before" pictures and compare with "after" up close. Aaron had already had those spots long before his orthodontic treatment began.

That's actually good news for a couple reasons:
1. He was actually practicing careful brushing and hygiene while he had his braces. He earned those good grades for compliance. The clinical staff and Aaron were indeed working together successfully on compliance throughout his treatment.
2. The kind of white spots we see are not the kind of discoloration that means enamel is beginning to decay. There are other childhood causes for these spots, such as the use of antibiotics for frequent ear, nose, throat infections (Aaron had those frequently as a young child). Also, we can try some OTC teeth whitening products that may help camouflage the appearance of the white spots.  

I feel so much better about the finished case now knowing that Aaron's teeth are healthy as well as straight. Aaron is thrilled with his new smile and ready to wear his retainers to maintain it. Seeing the before and after images side by side really helped confirm the success of orthodontic treatment for us!

Share this post

← Older Post