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Removal of the braces is not difficult. In fact, care must be taken during treatment with braces to avoid breakage of the appliances. The bond between the tooth and a bracket is ideally strong enough to allow for control of tooth movement during treatment, and then allow easy removal when treatment is complete.

Removing bonded brackets

Braces bonded directly to the teeth are removed by slightly deforming the base of the bracket. When the base of the bracket is squeezed, the bond releases and the bracket will come off. Usually, the separation occurs at the bracket-glue junction, leaving adhesive on the tooth surface. The orthodontist must then go back and remove the adhesive from each tooth. Leaving adhesive on the tooth is the preferred method for bracket removal, since it assures that the enamel and tooth structure remains undamaged.

Does it hurt to remove braces?

The process of removing braces and the adhesive is relatively painless. It is possible that some of the teeth, especially the lower front teeth, may be sensitive to pressure. When the bracket is lightly squeezed, there may be temporary discomfort.

Removing the adhesive

After the braces have been removed, adhesive remaining on the teeth must also be removed. This is usually done with a slow or high-speed dental hand piece. While this is the same type of instrument used by general dentists when they repair a cavity, be assured that there is usually very little discomfort with the removal process. In fact, most describe the feeling more as a “tickle” on the teeth than pain or discomfort. There is no actual tooth structure being removed in this process. The removal is limited to the adhesive only, and the enamel remains in its normal condition.

After the braces and adhesive is removed, most patients describe the teeth as feeling slimy, since the rough feel of the braces is no longer on the teeth. Also, the gum tissue may be slightly puffy and inflamed. This will usually subside within a few days with good brushing and flossing.