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How to Remove Braces, and Why You Should Not Try This At Home

Contributors:  Natalie Asmussen
Medically reviewed by:  Dr. Karen Kemp-Prosterman

Are you wondering how to remove braces at home? You should never take your braces brackets off at home. Getting braces off is a complex process that only an orthodontics dental provider should do.

The only time you might need to know the process for removing braces is if you have an absolute emergency — and it's difficult to even imagine what kind of emergency that would be.

In this article, we're going to talk about the following:

  • The risks to your teeth and mouth of removing braces at home
  • The braces removal process
  • Alternatives to removing your own braces

If you have an emergency and need immediate advice from a dentist, you can do a virtual consultation using Denteractive's online dentist service.

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Why your braces shouldn't be removed at home

Removing braces from your teeth on your own is dangerous. You can cause permanent damage to your teeth by applying too much pressure, and you could even lose a tooth entirely. Not to mention the pain you are bound to experience.

how to remove braces
Your orthodontist should remove your braces

Even though you may be successful in getting your braces off, you could experience side effects later on. This could include sensitive teeth, especially if you scratch off the enamel on your tooth's surface.

Some patients with braces also have a metal band around their molars, and this could be even more difficult to remove if you don't have the proper tools.

If you keep your braces on your teeth a bit longer than your original braces treatment time, either because you can't get to the orthodontist, or you don't have enough money to pay, make sure you stay up on your oral hygiene because the greatest risk is plaque buildup on your teeth around the brackets. Learn more about how to whiten teeth when wearing braces.

If you keep your braces on your teeth for an extended period after your treatment was supposed to end, then it's possible that your teeth will move in unintended ways.

braces removal
For safe removal, call your dentist

To avoid this, go back to your original orthodontist who helped you when getting your braces, and ask about your options for braces removal. You can also look for a dental school, where you can receive low-cost but quality treatment.

How much does it cost to get braces removed?

The cost of the removal for the standard patient is included in the price of your braces, so you shouldn't have to pay anything extra. Separately, it could cost between $60 and $250.

How to remove your braces

We cannot emphasize enough: your orthodontist should be the one to complete the braces removal. They have all the tools needed to complete the process and can easily remove the adhesive without any damage. Your enamel is very fragile, but they know how to maintain it.

They remove your braces using a special metal tool that loosens your brackets. An orthodontist can usually do this all at once, lowering the amount of discomfort that you feel. After that, they will give you a thorough dental cleaning.

Here's a video showing how an orthodontist takes off braces:

Finally, your orthodontist may also take an x-ray of your teeth. The entire process can take an hour or two, depending on what needs to be done.

And if you want to get your braces off early, chances are your orthodontist would much rather remove them for you — even if you haven't finished treatment — rather than you doing it by yourself.

Contact the orthodontist who put your braces on if you need to get your braces off. Whether it's the right time or not, and whether you can pay the full cost or not, chances are they'll take your brackets off before allowing you to do it yourself.

How do you remove braces glue from your teeth?

During the braces removal procedure, the orthodontist should handle most of the remaining glue for you. However, it's possible that some dental glue could get left behind.

Dental glue is a specialized adhesive that is similar to the material used to make white composite fillings. Because it is designed to withstand heat and pressure, rinsing with warm water and picking at it will not remove all of the adhesives, even if you are successful in removing some.

If you still have residue from the bracket adhesive, you should see your orthodontist or general dentist, as both are equipped with the appropriate dental handpiece and burs to completely remove the remaining material without causing any hardening of your tooth.

How long does it take to remove braces?

Your dentist or orthodontist can typically remove your braces in one appointment and it usually takes less than an hour. Your dentist will clip the braces brackets and use a polisher or scraper to remove the glue from your teeth.

Emergency braces removal

We do not recommend that you remove your braces yourself, but if you are in an emergency that absolutely requires it, the process would go something like this:

  • Collect your materials: You will need a pair of small pliers, which you should sterilize in boiling water.
  • Brush your teeth: Next, you should gently brush your teeth. After the removal process, there is likely a lot of adhesives left behind on your teeth. You don't need to scrub them forcefully, as you could damage a tooth.
  • Visit the dentist: Schedule an appointment with a professional ASAP so they can check to make everything is OK and remove any remaining adhesive. If you need to have your braces removed immediately patients are advised to schedule appointments with either orthodontic or general dentist providers. For patients in hospital settings needing an MRI for example, most emergency rooms have dental providers on staff that will facilitate removal of the appliances.

Before trying any of this, why not chat with a dentist online for free using Denteractive? They will offer you the best advice for your current situation.

online dentist booking

Conclusion

Don't remove your braces by yourself at home. Your orthodontist has special tools and training that ensure the process is safe.

If there is an emergency that requires you to remove your braces, mention it to your orthodontist, as they would much rather take your braces off for you than have you try it. Most orthodontists have stipulations in their treatment contracts of discontinuing care or referring patients who engage in willful removal of or interfere with dental treatment.

This also includes non-compliance with appointments for necessary dental follow-ups. Non-compliant behavior delaying or interrupting dental treatment may impact their insurers continued coverage of their care.

If you can't pay for an orthodontist appointment to get your braces off, try consulting the orthodontist who originally put them on for you, or look for a dental school that offers low-cost or free services.

FAQs

Can I take braces off by myself?

Yes, although we do not recommend it. Keep in mind that after your braces are removed, you'll typically need a dental cleaning from your dentist.

How can I get my braces off at home fast?

As mentioned, we do not recommend this, as your orthodontist should be the one removing your braces. However, if you have to take your braces off at home fast (in an emergency situation) you'll need small pliers to remove them. You then need to gently brush your teeth and schedule a visit to your dentist or orthodontist for a dental cleaning.

How to Remove Braces, and Why You Should Not Try This At Home
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Contributors:
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.
Medically reviewed by:
Dr. Karen Kemp-Prosterman is a practicing pedodontist with over 17 years of experience. She completed her dental education at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN in 2002. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and among other achievements is currently the Founder and CEO of PGP Dental Consultancy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Sources

Oral Health Foundation: “Always see a trained professional.” Consulted May 26th, 2022.