After an extended wait (1.5 years instead of 1 year), I was told by my orthodontist that I would get my braces removed the next visit. I was very tired of wearing braces (and all of its “conveniences”). Soon, I would be relieved of the misery (including wearing an elastic band to shift my midline).In preparation for the “day,” I read a few of the ArchWired braces removal stories. I was concerned that I would get one of those bonded retainers — they did not sound too pleasant! However, all along, I was told that my retainers would be clear.
I ran from work to the orthodontist’s office with 10 minutes to spare. They took me in right away. First, my wires were removed. Then, my brackets were removed — there was some pressure, but not an excessive amount. However, the brackets on my lower teeth generally exploded into a billion pieces due to the force in trying to get them off. I found the noise somewhat frightening. I was told to keep my eyes closed, but I opened my eyes each time a bracket was taken off to make sure that my tooth didn’t come along with it!!
Then, the most horrible step was about to occur — removal of the glue from my teeth! They used a drill-like implement which blew really cold air against the tooth. I was warned not to close my mouth because the “drill” could cut through tissue. (I would be pretty upset of my gums were cut!) However, it was hard because the cold air really started to hurt. The pain is different from – say – oral surgery, but it was not very bearable. I ended up flexing my feet up or down whenever I felt the pain (instead of squirming in the chair – which might have messed things up!). (I was very frightened of the process because my gums have receded – I am in my thirties. But, it was not adversely impacted by that for the most part.)
Also, after every bracket was removed, I had to close my mouth because it felt very sandy. The adhesive residue also left a disgusting taste in my mouth.
The most surprising part of getting the braces off was brushing my teeth after the adhesive had been removed from my teeth. Brushing my teeth felt weird — like there was still “stuff” stuck to a few of my teeth (there wasn’t). Also, my teeth seemed very large and straight, etc. I didn’t even think those could be my teeth! They looked better than with braces (i.e., I could see how much straightening had occurred).
Then, some impressions were made of my lower and upper teeth for an Essix clear retainer. The moldable polymer that was used consisted of a white, gooey substance. Fortunately, the mold hardened relatively quickly and so impressions were made of the teeth. I was told that I could pick up the retainer in an hour.
For the first time in a few years, I ate lunch *without braces*. It was a rather enjoyable experience. I stopped back to pick up my retainer. My upper and lower retainers were put on and I was given instructions (e.g., brush them after use; wear 24×7; etc.). My next appointment was made for 8 weeks (by then, hopefully, I won’t have to wear the retainer 24×7!)
I got back to work and the other attorneys asked about where I had been. I told them that I got my braces removed. They said, “Let’s see.” I flashed them a smile and they clapped and cheered.
I have an interview with two law firms in a few days. I received the approval from my orthodontist that I can interview *without the retainer* (and that I will pop it back in immediately afterward). That was a relief — my speech is slightly affected….. At last, I will be able to take my attorney photo without braces and I will be able to meet with clients/talk to other attorneys without braces!!
Moral of the story – it is possible to “survive” with braces as a working professional and at 30+ years of age.