Braces Removal Stories

when the braces finally come off

Dea Ann's Story - plus an AOO postscript

My debanding pretty much followed the pattern we have heard from others. I was nervous, with lots of “What ifs” in my mind. For example, I worried the gold crowns would be pulled off with the bands! I worried my enamel would be compromised somehow, having been etched and glued so tightly that I didn’t lose a bracket the whole time except for the ones on the gold crowns, which wouldn’t stick metal to metal. Some teeth were sore from the finishing elastics and even felt a little loose, so I worried about pain.

Although I could hear my heart pounding, the brackets were pinched off easily except for one stubborn one and only a few hurt. She did not remove the wires first! One of the bands came off fairly easily but the other had to have the help of the ortho to pull it off. These didn’t hurt, but I felt so anxious when they didn’t just come right off! Then the chipping and scraping of the glue-- uncomfortable because of the noise and the pressure on the teeth that were sore from elastics and the tender front lower teeth. I had to keep my eyes shut because bits of hard glue were flying everywhere! She used an air hose to clear my face several times. 

By the time she finished, all 28 teeth were throbbing slightly! Then the ortho smoothed worn edges and shaped and shortened the canines a bit, which made a major improvement in the overall appearance. To my surprise some of my upper jaw teeth were sensitive to the cold air/water during this procedure. He told me after my teeth and bite had settled a month in retainers, he would go over them again to smooth any areas that weren’t fitting well together. Then, impressions (no problem at all) and I got to brush and clean my teeth. My gums bled a little. The funniest time occurred here, with a kid brushing beside me, all the time staring at me as if she were thinking, “What’s an old woman doing brushing her teeth here?!”

The debanding presents from the ortho were Crest Whitening Strips, a bakery cake with Congratulations on top in icing, and a certificate for a professional photograph. I forgot to cash in my Ortho Bucks Punch Card for a gift certificate at my favorite restaurant. I will do that this afternoon when I pick up the Essix (invisible) retainers. I hope they are comfortable because they will be a big part of my life forever.

My bite feels uneven and odd and mostly I find myself keeping my teeth ajar, but I really enjoyed brushing and flossing them! The teeth look shiny and smooth, but to my tongue they feel tacky, as if I have eaten and not brushed! I have a cleaning appointment with my regular dentist in 3 weeks; I’m sure that will help. One sensation I keep noticing is my upper lip sliding over the two canines that all my life have been set so far back behind the other teeth that I never felt them.

I won’t “graduate” for a year, with retainer wear starting at 24/7 and decreasing until only at night the rest of my life. I will have several appointments for check-ups. I am happy for these check-ups because I am terrified my teeth will go home, having been crooked for 50 years! I remember my shock that I hadn’t noticed they had actually started to improve until I was shown photos at the ortho’s, so I don’t think I will notice if they start to slip gradually either. He said if that happened, I would notice a sore tooth. I was to wear the retainer another couple of days and if the tooth stayed sore, then call him.

So, here I am, so relieved it is actually and finally over that I feel a little weak, and wondering what I will do with all the time I will have without all that cleaning and worrying and thinking about the braces.

p.s. My braces were removed after 10 months. I had AOO surgery to speed up the process. Would I do the surgery again if I had it to do over and knew what I now know? No.

I do have straight teeth and I assume the additional bone is there from the bone grafting powder inserted during surgery. The gum pockets were eliminated. My time in braces was shortened more than half. All these things are good.

However, the pain was torture during adjustments every other week since every single tooth was loose, sore, and responding to braces at the same time. I left every adjustment in tears, sweating, and so weak-kneed I could hardly drive home. Tylenol was the only medication allowed, and it was like fighting a gorilla with a toothpick! I can’t be certain, but I feel that the embrasures between all my teeth would have been fewer and smaller if the gums hadn’t been detached during surgery and then the teeth flared and spread so rapidly. Add to these problems that it doubled the cost of the braces experience.

I can’t be certain I wouldn’t have had pain and spacing problems had I gone the traditional route, but my feeling is that both these problems would have been drastically reduced.

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