I got my upper braces off yesterday, 14 months and 1 day after application. Woo-hoo!
The original verbal estimate from my ortho was 8-10 months, which I thought was insanely fast, especially considering that almost everyone else seems to be in braces for 18-24 months. My contract stated 12-14 months treatment time, so I guess they add in a fudge factor, and as it turned out, I went right to the outer limit, so while I got a little frustrated at times, it was mostly because I felt my ortho was being overly optimistic. I would much rather he'd said 18 months and taken them off in 14. Although, I probably got a cheaper price because of the lower time estimate, and, to his credit, he did not rush me out of braces even though my payment plan was complete two months ago. Gotta appreciate that as it shows that he is an ethical person.
In fact, he even gave me an extra upper Essix, since he wasn't 100% happy with my left central incisor. He'd been working on it pretty hard the past few months, trying everything from bracket relocation to figure 8 ties to wire ties, and that puppy just didn't want to budge! So he had a retainer made that was shaped to help with the last little bit of rotation, and I can swear that in just one day, it has actually helped!
So, my removal experience was a bit tougher than my lower bracket removal a couple of weeks ago. I'll just concur with everything I've read and say that removing metal brackets is a breeze compared to clear porcelain. OWIE! Thank the gods I only had clear on my social six, but if I had known how much worse they'd be to remove, I would have gone with full metal. Those came off painlessly with just a snap snap snap, while the porcelain felt like the tech was pulling my teeth out! They shattered and required several passes to get off completely. She even had me bite down on some cotton because of the pain!
I had taken two extra-strength Tylenol, three ibuprofen, and half a Valium, and still, it was quite uncomfortable.
Glue removal was also not pleasant, but not too bad. She stopped a few times to take a break if I felt a twinge. Both techs that removed my upper and lower brackets were very understanding!
I had to have two upper impressions done because of the two Essix retainers, not so much fun but over quickly. Then they took a bunch of photos and also digital impressions. I just wanted to get outta there, but they were making my retainers as I waited.
The retainers are super tight! One is made as my teeth are now, and as I mentioned, the other was made with a slight alteration to try to nudge the incisor into perfect alignment. That's the one he wants me to wear, and I have been, BUT...it fills up with saliva bubbles right in front and looks awful. It also makes me lisp. So, I really, really don't want to wear it out in public. I'm wearing it as much as I can, but not full-time. I hope if I wear it ~3/4 time, but longer than he asked me to wear it full-time (3-4 months), I'll achieve the same results. Especially since we are moving to Mexico, it's hard enough to try to speak Spanish without having a lisp and crazy looking saliva teeth!
My lower Essix also gets some saliva bubbles, but it's not nearly as visible, so I don't mind wearing that one in public, and I find that when I have both of them out, I am still grinding my teeth, so I actually prefer to wear the lower Essix, as it completely prevents that.
I've given some thought to maybe consulting with an orthodontist in Mexico and trying to have a Hawley made. I think I would like that a lot better and could really wear it close to full-time. That's the type of retainer I had as a teenager, and although I think it bothered the roof of my mouth a bit, I certainly didn't have to worry about saliva bubbles!
The Essix on top also seems to cause my gums some issues -- they seem a bit red and swollen. Not sure if that will continue once I've had it longer, or if it's just because I'm in early days.
I need to take some photos but have been soooo busy with our move, it might be a few days.