This has been my second time
around with braces. The first time I had them for 4.5 years.
Back in the 1980s, you were only instructed to wear your
retainer for one year and that was all that was necessary. I
distinctly remember the lecture about settling and teeth
donít move that much once youíre an adult. Bad advice. I
got braces this time to correct spaces that had opened up in
about 6-7 places and a severely rotated tooth in the lower
I was excited when I was told
it would only take 6 months to correct. I should have known
that estimate was too good to be true. In the 16 months Iíve
had braces, Iíve had three different sets of debanding
appointments all to be cancelled because my orthodontist
wanted to continue the fine tuning stage.
This time around, I was
destined to have them removed. I remember as a kid having my
braces removed was a painful and long process. As an adult, I
was convinced the removal would be better. After all, I had
brackets and only a few bands. I was wrong. I told the
assistant I wanted to keep my braces. She laughed and said no
one ever made that request before.
They kept all the ligatures
on, clipped the wires from the back molars and went to work.
Iíve heard people describe the removal process as gentle
rocking and that ceramic braces ďpoppedĒ off. Personally,
I felt like my teeth were getting ripped out with pliers. The
bands were worse. They wouldnít give and my ortho kept
slipping and hitting other teeth.
Once they were off I thought
the worst part was behind me. It wasnít. I had a series of
lingual buttons on my lower teeth. They used a special bonding
agent because they kept popping off. I actually suggested they
stay on because they were so difficult to come off.
Once they were off, I thought
for sure the worst part was behind me. Nope. The grinding,
sanding, chipping, scraping, and every other torture drill
came out to remove the cement. I had just about had it and
couldnít take it anymore. When I was asked if my teeth felt
smooth, I lied and said yes. I knew my regular dentist would
give me a topical anesthetic and remove any remaining cement.
My ortho doesnít offer any kind of pain relief.
I was given a bag of
sticky/hard candy and gum and a bottle of champagne. I wished
I had that bottle about 3 hours earlier. I was made two
plastic Essix retainers on the spot and have a follow up
appointment in 4 weeks. Iíll then have another set of molds
for a traditional top, a permanent lower retainer and a new
bottom clear retainer. The whole process took close to 2 1/2
hours. In short, getting braces put on is a breeze and getting
them off is far from it.