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.
Three years, five months, and 25 days.
Monday, May 9th was debonding and retainer fitting.
Debonding is scheduled for 9am on Monday, May
2nd 9th. I will have been wearing braces for three years, five and a half six months.
I thought we were almost done — and we are, in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to schedule my braces removal today.
By the time I took the photo above, the evening after my adjustment, the gaps on bottom had already closed up. At my adjustment, though, there were at least a couple of millimeter-wide gaps between teeth. Doc ordered chains put back on the bottom, and said that we’ll likely keep the chains on for another month or two, just to let everything stabilize. I’m fine with that. I’d rather have it done right than end up with gap-teeth after all this.
(I’m also continuing to wear a triangle elastic on the left and a Class II triangle on the right. The assistant said I’ll probably be wearing that configuration until the braces are removed.)
My next visit is scheduled for four weeks from today, at which point Doc will reassess and decide how long until we schedule removal. The assistant explained that what will happen is that they’ll schedule the removal in the morning, after which we’ll take impressions for my retainers (which I thought Doc had said he’d rather just go with a night guard, but whatever), then I’ll actually come in later that day to pick up my retainers. She said that sometimes they wait until the next day, but my teeth tend to move quickly enough that they’re going to want me in retainers the same day.
So, we may not be completely done by my birthday, but that’s OK by me. It’ll be close enough.