Monday was an exciting day for me. I had an orthodontist appointment. But it wasn't just any appointment! Oh no....not one like the others before it. No new wires to tighten things up, no new bands, no more rubber bands, etc. It was the day my braces came off! For those of you that don't remember, last year on August 14Th (happy Anniversary Kevin and Susan!) the braces were put on the top teeth. Then a couple months later in October, the bottom teeth got braces. Yes, it's only been a year but as anyone that's ever had them says, "it seems like it was longer!" And this was the second time around for me to have them. I had them once before from 1991-1993. Just shy of a two year stint back then. And can I say that the methods of wearing braces have certainly changed since back then as well. This time the brackets were glued to the front of the teeth. Ceramic braces on my top teeth and metal braces on the bottom. The first time around, I had to have spacers inserted between the teeth in order to make room for the brackets that fit around each tooth. That was a painful experience.
The removal process took about an hour. First, however, the orthodontist fitted my lower teeth with a permanent retainer. A small wire that was glued to the back of my lower, front 4 teeth. If the lower teeth stay in place, the rest should as well. Then it was time for the brackets to come off. They were literally snapped off by some tool that only an orthodontist or dentist is allowed to use on teeth. (Remember how much preaching is done by oral doctors not to use sharp objects on your teeth?) Anyway, my teeth were more sensitive to that than I anticipated. Then they actually used a grinder (miniature by normal grinder standards) and removed the glue left behind. Just envision this if you would: The assistant to the orthodontist hands you protective eye wear that a carpenter might wear. Then the orthodontist himself begins grinding away while the assistant holds a tool that blows air on the teeth and a suction tube in your mouth so that you don't drool all over. The air was almost the worst feeling. Seeing the white residue flying around over my face and smelling the odor from the grinding was enough to make me cringe! It made me feel the same as when someone scratches their fingernails over a chalkboard! Blah!!!!
Finally the grinding was over and I was allowed to rinse with mouthwash. Then they took impressions of my teeth, both top and bottom, and then over to the ex-ray machine. After ex-rays, the assistant took pictures of my teeth. They did this before the braces were put on as well. Before and after shots, literally. Then another assistant brought out a retainer for my top teeth. I was expecting a wire attached to a crimson colored piece that fits under your gums. Nope! It was a clear tray (similar to this) made from the impressions of my top teeth. It fits right over my top teeth and unless you look for it, it's hard to see that it's there! Another very dramatic change from years back. I only have to wear it for 12 hours a day for now. Then it will be reduced to just over night hours. And the best part is that I won't have another appointment for 4 months! My teeth look great and even better, they feel so smooth!
I took some pictures of myself with the aid of my tripod. I hope you can tell the difference in the two photos.