Karencoutts' Story with Carriere Distalizers and Damons

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Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:38 pm


#121 Post by karencoutts »

Thanks Opera Gal and Bracket Racket for your congratulations.

Quite a few people have noticed my new lack of braces. The comments have been fairly strange. Here's an example of some of them:

1. Your teeth don't look real!
2. Don't you think teeth that are imperfect impart mystery?
3. What were your teeth like before?

I have also received some regular congratulations, but the strange backhanded compliments are a bit unnerving. It also seems that most people do not notice unless I point it out, and when they do, they apologize for not noticing earlier, as if I should be insulted that they don't look closely enough at me to notice. My own kids didn't notice, even closeup.

I'm going for my regularly scheduled teeth cleaning on Monday. Alas, my teeth are still sensitive on the right and left lowers, as if I have cavities there or roots exposed. I have been sporadically using Crest Sensitive toothpaste and rinsing with Oral B, so there has been some improvement, but I may need to wait on my home whitening session.

Now that I've been wearing them for a while, I have this to say on retainers.

The Hawleys. They're a lot easier to wear and remove, but definitely impede my speech more than the Essix. I am lithping rather badly. I don't worry about trapping sugar against my teeth with them, and they are easier to clean, with a quick toothbrush scrub seemingly enough.

The Essixes. Every time I take them out, I salivate a lot, and long strings of saliva stretch from the retainers back to my mouth. I'm not tipping my head back when I remove them, so excess saliva drips back down into my mouth instead of dripping all over my lap or the table.

Now, I can't see how the Hawleys are as good as the Essix for maintaining the position of the teeth. The Essix completely envelopes the teeth in a plastic casing, even the molars. The Hawleys do not include the furthest back molars (!) and the wire doesn't even contact some of my upper teeth, but the inner plastic molding acts as the brace. The Essix feels tight and the Hawley feels loose. I notice that when I first got them, the Hawley went readily into place, even when I aimed virtually blindly, but now I have to fiddle a bit with them to get them on. Could my teeth already be shifting? Then when I put the Essix on during the day, at first they feel tight.

Average wear time for the Essix: 14 hours, Hawley: 8 hours.

I am caring for the retainers by using p*oli*dent Retainer Cleanser and popping both retainers in either in the morning or evening, so once every approximately 36 hours. I'll leave one of the retainers in for only five minutes and let the other one soak overnight, and I alternate which of the two retainers I do that with. I use the tap (on full) to rinse out the Essix, but do not use the toothbrush on them for fear of scratching them. For the Hawley, I use my SonicCare toothbrush on them immediately after brushing my teeth. I notice that the Essix has a minty taste all day when I leave them in the solution overnight.

I am not being super diligent about wearing the retainers. Yesterday at a party, I took out the retainers just prior to eating, but only put them back in two hours later after the leisurely eating and chatting was done and I was sure I would not eat any more.

Still finding it hard to eat with my new teeth. I can't make the front incisors cut as well as they used to. Vegetables are a real challenge, and I don't have fine control over them as before: I could grasp a hair with my front teeth before.

Hope it gets better.

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:38 pm

A final word on retainers

#122 Post by karencoutts »

Now that I have had time to "enjoy" my retainers, it is time to write a treatise on my recommendations.

Sadly, I cannot unequivocally advocate one type of retainer over the other.


Pros: Easier to clean and remove.
Cons: Still lisping. Visible wire isn't much of an improvement over full braces IMHO.


Pros: Invisible. Sort of. Kind of. Can be used as whitening trays.
Cons: Hard to clean-- you can't use a toothbrush on them yet (scratches) and you get white deposits in the crevices that are difficult to remove without physically scrubbing them. I feel that they are also less sanitary since they can't be cleaned as well, leading to my perception that they smell like corn if I only rinse them. The best way to clean them seems to be using the retainer cleanser tablets, but even that does not remove some of the white deposits. Also, every time I remove them before eating, I am still having the problem of long saliva strings forming, grabbing onto the retainer, which has the appearance of the retainer wanting to remain in contact with my mouth using its reaching appendage made of saliva.

Bottom Line:

If you have the option, it is nice to have both kinds of retainers. The Essix so you can talk and look normally during the daytime. The Hawley can be worn at night, so it doesn't matter if you lisp. Then you can soak the Essix overnight in a cleansing solution so it is fresh the next day.

I recently went on a vacation with only the Essix, and it was problematic that I could not find a stretch of time to soak it in cleansing solution. I would leave it in the cleansing solution at breakfast before putting it back in again. Certainly not as good as soaking overnight. While it only requires 5 minutes on the box instructions, it was just a personal feeling that they weren't clean enough after such a short time that caused me to worry. Because of this, if I were to choose just one type, I would pick the Hawley, with the caveat that the lisping is quite annoying and does not seem to go away with time.

Thank goodness I only have to wear these retainers full time for six months.

I hope this helps.

Posts: 69
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 11:33 pm
Location: Bay Area, California

#123 Post by Neptune »

Your commentary on retainers is appreciated. I'm not in the retainer-wearing phase of this experience just yet, but I have often figured that it would be best to have both sets for the reasons you cited. It can sort of be compared to wearing contacts during the day, but wearing glasses in the evening/home/weekends because you want to change up the experience or give your eyes a break from contacts.

I asked the front desk personnel at my ortho's office, and they said the doctor uses the clear (Essix, I assume) version of retainers. We'll see. I'm general not bothered by A LOT of things other people (no offense intended!), so there's a possibility that Essix retainers won't bother me at all. Alas, I won't be able to find out until my braces are removed.

Also, backhanded comments are the worst. I'm sure I've said a few questionable comments -- I think it happens from a combination of surprise + shock + I-need-to-say-something-now!
08 Apr 2008 - Front teeth braced.
30 Aug 2010 - New bracket brand placed on upper four incisors.

Initial Ortho Sentence: 18-20 months.


Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:38 pm

Even the Days are Better

#124 Post by karencoutts »

Last week I went for my six month post removal appointment. It's been so long since I wrote and there is information I want to share, for those who are interested in what happens after braces are removed.

At three months post removal I went for a very quick appointment. My teeth were checked. They were fine, no movement. My retainers were checked. My Essixes were fine. My Hawleys were much too loose. The ortho did a very quick adjustment. When I put the Hawleys back on, they were very snug. Somehow the metal of the Hawleys gets deformed and out of alignment, and as a result they become loose. Quite loose.

I told the ortho that I still lisp when I wear them. He said that teenagers only take a few days to speak normally. Oh. Duh is me. But then he figured that is because I wear them only at night and have not adjusted to having to speak with them in. That may be true. I hate the fact that I had to wear the Hawleys while reading a story to my children. It made me lisp and talk like I had marbles in my mouth and I wanted to rip the Hawleys out of my mouth and throw them across the room.

Then my retainers were kidnapped for cleaning. I was shocked how sparkling clean my Essixes looked. The metal on the Hawleys glinted--bing (cartoon sparkle sound)!

Unfortunately, for the next three months I became more and more delinquent with my retainer wear. I would take them out to eat then forget to put them back. Or I would take them out to snack and leave them out because then it was lunch, and then... So that I wore them on and off during the day, and sometimes off for hours at a time, but always wore them at night while I slept.

By the time my six month post removal appointment came, I could not bring myself to rat on myself and say that I wasn't diligent about wearing them during the day. As the CDA said it was okay to now start wearing them only 12 hours a day (12 hours?! I thought it was only overnight!), I didn't exactly jump for joy because there was a balloon over my head with the words "Should I tell her?" Should I tell her how delinquent I have been, especially the last month? Naaaaah. I'll just make sure I wear them every night from now on. The ortho proclaimed my teeth to be Hollywood perfect. They sort of are, aren't they? And, unfortunately, I lost my Hawley retainers a few days before my appointment, so they could not be cleaned. No "bing." Of course I found them two days after my appointment, in the pocket of a hoodie, so I can have them cleaned six months from now. Sigh.

With the 12 hour requirement, that means that basically by 7:30 pm in the evening, the retainers should go in. So far, I haven't even done that. Instead, I try to wear them a little longer in the morning, maybe pop them in after breakfast for a few hours. I hope this is enough. At night when I finally put them back on, I do find that they are snug, but not uncomfortably tight. And in the morning, they are back to "normal", that is, "after $7000 orthodontic treatment for 22 months normal." I still find it incredible how much I paid for treatment. What I mean by "normal" is that the retainers aren't so snug anymore, meaning that my teeth have likely moved back into their artificial post treatment position.

In pictures, I find myself smiling widely, revealing my very large front teeth. Sort of a Julia Roberts look. Actually, I think I look sort of freakish with those big teeth. I haven't whitened my teeth for six months because I haven't paid much attention to my teeth much anymore.

Posts: 148
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Location: Texas

Re: Karencoutts' Story with Carriere Distalizers and Damons

#125 Post by KayKay »

I googled carriere and lingual arch to read whatever I could find on the internet - and here you are. A worthy story to spur me on. I'm going to have to start my own story - which I should have done 4 months ago when I decided to get braces at the age of 58. Your story is helpful - thank you for posting it. I'm about to move from lingual arch to ceramic braces (in a little over 2 weeks) and I've already lost 10 pounds because even with this lingual arch/carriere and elastics - my bite feels off and eating is a chore.

I hope you are still enjoying having gorgeous teeth and that your adjustment to your retainer is behind you.

Thanks for taking the time and energy to post your story. You have helped me.

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