A few weeks back, I had my six-month check-up with my orthodontist.
Since my debonding in May, I’d been instructed to wear my clear retainers day and night, only removing them to eat and to brush my teeth. I did that most of the time, but there were days when I’d forget to put my retainers back in after my morning coffee, or after lunch, or after dinner.
This must not have had much of an effect, despite the fact that I can tell when I put my retainers back in which teeth still want to migrate out of position. Doc told me that my retainers still appear to be fitting just fine — although he never had me take them off to check alignment without the retainers — and told me that I can start wearing them at night only. He also said, though, that if they feel tight when I take them out in the morning, I should consider wearing them during the day for a while longer. (Which they do sometimes, and sometimes I do wear them during the day still.)
All told, that six-month retainer check took maybe ten minutes tops, including time spent in the waiting room.
I’m scheduled for another visit around the one year mark, next May, at which point I suspect I’ll only need to come back if there’s a problem.
Are my teeth perfect now? No. My gums have receded over the years so that I have “black triangles” — gaps between my teeth at the gumline — that will only ever be corrected by either gum surgery or bonding. A couple of my teeth even have exposed roots at the gumline, and that’s gotten more pronounced since my braces came off.
I’m no longer embarrassed of my smile, though, and my teeth are easier to clean, and my gums are much healthier.
It was all worth it.