You can almost say I started the day with the staff and nearly ended the day with them = /. I was forewarned it would be a very long day for me, but so is primping at the beauty parlor for five hours (yes, that actually happened to me on a busy salon day a few years ago). I was a scheduling sardine of sorts. Anyway, I had a new hygienist taking care of me today. She was most thorough and was especially so, knowing that my whitening procedure would soon follow. Good deep-cleaning = better whitening. Think a good exfoliation before a fake bake =) for those of you who like to tan without the sun. The chair talk consisted of buttered lobsters and lobster salad sandwiches *stomach gurgling*. Dr. B came in twice to check on me (I figured he was bored waiting for his next patient). She reported good news to him, in that my teeth and gums were in pretty good condition with no visible build-up (which is commonly seen during the removal of braces). I’m a sucker for positive reinforcement. I really did work hard to earn it and happily changed my bad habits. The deep-cleaning was ~40 minutes?
Archive for the Angela Category
My retainers fit like a glove and snap in pretty easily… Before leaving Dr. B to see Dr. M for bleaching, I had to practice removing my retainers and setting them back into place at least a few times. I felt like I was fumbling with them but I knew that after several times wearing them, this would become second nature. It’s a lot easier for me when I have a mirror around to look at while I’m doing this. Dr. B gave me the choice last month of correcting my lower mid gap with retainers rather than spending an extra month or so with braces. Because of this, I’m determined to do my best at wearing the elastics every time the retainer is on. I am writing this blog today, September 6, 2010 and can confirm that the gap has practically closed (of course I will wear the elastics as long as Dr. B advises me to do so). One thing I will need to get used to is waking up with a dry mouth. Not sure if the retainers cause me to sleep unknowingly with my mouth open? I don’t like that my mouth feels so pasty in the morning =( but I will have to get over this. Ever since my oral hygiene improved quite a bit these past 1.5 years, I’ve been waking up with a mouth that actually feels much cleaner. I will definitely miss this =(. I also have to practice speaking with them on since they make me slur most of my words. I’m a little mortified about this but I need to get through it somehow.
Here were my instructions:
1) Wear my upper retainers especially when I’m at home, but may have the option to go sans uppers when I’m not at home.
2) Wear my lower retainers with the elastic whether or not I’m at home.
3) I may drink with my retainers on; however, no eating with them on.
4) Clean them a few times a day with a brush and orthodontic cleanser tablets.
5) Keep them in a safe place, especially away from pets.
6) Do not drop them on a hard surface.
My Translation of The Rules:
(1) + (2) I’ve been adhering closely to the first two rules.
3) I don’t eat with my retainers on and although I do drink with my retainers on, I only drink water. I think it’s a bit nasty drinking soda, milk, coffee, or orange juice with them on. I’m not sure if rinsing would be enough to cleanse the retainers. I’m also undecided on what to do about tea yet, but I imagine that rinsing a couple of times afterwards with water might suffice. I want to avoid re-staining my teeth at all costs.
4) My oral care still consists of using:
- Sonicare brush with sanitizer
- Toothpaste: Colgate Total or Go Smile AM & PM or Sensodyne with Extra Whitening (for now)
- Proxabrush and Reach flosser or regular floss
- Peds toothbrush for back of teeth, especially lower front
- Orabrush for tongue
- Rinses: Natural Dentist (AM), Colgate Peroxyl (mid-day), ACT Restoring (PM)
- Use of a soft brush and CVS Minty Fresh Denture Cleanser tablets AM & PM (CVS confirmed that this particular item should be used at maximum 3x per day, otherwise may start to dissolve the retainer).
5) My pets have no access to my bathroom.
6) I’m using a retainer case my dental office gave me to store my retainers. A proper retainer case keeps expensive retainers safe and clean when not in use; they have a hinged design with ventilation holes. I imagine that keeping retainers in anything other than a case meant for them wouldn’t be such a good idea (they may be prone to damage or bacterial growth). There are sparkly, nicely scented, and patterned ones out there so accessorize accessorize =)!
I also purchased a Brimm’s Sea Bond Denture Bath for less than $3.00 from CVS to use during the times I need to soak my retainers in a effervescent bath. I love that it has a lift strainer. Although I keep my sink very clean, I can’t imagine using it as a retainer soaking basin since the porcelain may damage my retainers should I drop it in by accident. There may also be germs I’m not aware of (after-all, I do use it for multi-purposes).
This may sound like a lot to do but I’ve already gotten used to this amount of craziness. At the end, it’s worth it =)
After 20 months of dedicated care by me and Dr. B, I began my count-down a week earlier anticipating this day. Much like a child impatiently awaiting Christmas morning…..
The visit began with Dr. B joking, “well today I won’t ask you what color elastics you want” and I quickly retorted, “neither am I going to tell you which ones I want.” This procedure took about an hour. Dr. B asked me if I ever had a chipped tooth? About several years ago if not more, I had one each on my upper left and right sides. My answer would decide how much pressure he could assert when removing the braces. I was surprised he didn’t undo a layer of orthodontics at a time. He warned me, “this is going to sound like thunder and lightning.” Crack, crack, crack. Ohhhhhh =(. I sat there imagining some of my teeth being stuck to the brackets as this was happening. Obviously, a horrible thought. I asked him as soon as he was done, if everything was okay and he confirmed that everything went well. I suggested that someone should invent a unglue brackets spray and he agreed that maybe they should but unfortunately there was currently no such thing. Maybe one day they will? Then came the polishing to remove any leftover glue. I swear that I will never get used to that awful carbon smell =( (a most distinctive burning odor, unlike a wonderful fireplace or holiday barbeque). My to-be-brother-in-law recently mentioned that there might be some teeth discoloration after removing the braces. I remembered to ask Dr. B about this since I had no mirror in front of me at the time. Dr. B said that this usually occurs in patients who have not had the best oral hygiene during the time they had their braces on, but that it could occur even with good hygiene, however less likely. He said I had no such discolorations. I was very happy to hear this of course. I had imagined the weightlessness I would feel once my braces were removed… maybe so much that when they were finally taken off, I was not surprised to instantly feel like my old self again. I ran my tongue across all my teeth and they felt perfectly smooth, but with a fuzzy thin film if that makes any sense? (probably from being dehydrated, breathing with my mouth open during what Lora B coined “de-bracing”). I was off to bigger and better things this day =)… Read on…
I waited quite a bit for Dr. B today but at least I was entertained by watching the Food Network channel. Not the best preoccupation after having to abstain from eating since 8:30 this morning (appointment was scheduled for 12:15 pm), but a necessary inconvenience to prevent vomiting or worse, aspiration. I had two questions for Dr. B before I would allow them to take the impressions:
1) Where the retainers would anchor from? (I’m still undecided about whether or not to pull my last wisdom tooth; right lower). As you can tell, I know very little about retainers from even asking this question. The dental assistant assured me that the retainers would anchor very similar to the points where the braces begin and end now.
2) For the past week, I’ve been seeing a gap re-form along the front lowers (smack in the middle) and wasn’t sure if that would render today’s impression inaccurate and a waste of everyone’s time. Dr. B said this small gap could be corrected with braces or even retainers so you can guess what I chose.
The first set of upper and lower impressions were a failure. Dr. B wasn’t happy with the way they looked so he had his regular assistant redo both of them. The glue that they added to the impression mixture stung my mouth =(. At one point they had to add a little water since my brackets were ripping the impression apart as they were trying to ease the mold out of my mouth. The first time my uppers were taken, I gagged a little since the first assistant held onto the mold with more pressure than I would have liked. The second assistant held onto my chin so tight when she was doing the lowers I thought my chin would bruise. I kept quiet and wanted them to do a good job since 5 times at trying to get the impressions as perfect as possible was uncomfortable, all over my face, nose, & clothing messy, and just plain gross (like plaster in your mouth) yuk yuk! Thank goodness, a little bit of water seemed to do the trick and so the impressions were finally good enough to send off to the lab. Now I see why Dr. B didn’t want me to eat for a couple of hours before the procedure… Yeah, I definitely can see people vomiting from this procedure.
There was an infomercial on t.v. regarding dog dentures while I had the mold in my mouth and I started to crack up a little. Can you imagine that? Worse time I could be trying to laugh.
I asked for pink elastics but had to settle for red or purple. I want to like red but it’s not a lucky color for me. I felt a little childish turning down the red but whatever.
For the next appointment, I will be looking forward to transitioning from braces to retainers, a deep cleaning, and a whitening. All these will probably take a few hours in total. It will be well worth it once I can walk out of the dental office with some new-found freedom, happiness, and confidence. Time to get out the Sensadyne =). Yippeeee!
*Last braces photo YEAHHH =)!
Dr. B said he didn’t know what more he could do with the braces and so he reminded me to not eat a few hours before the next appointment (hour+ of retainer impressions etc) just because he’s seen enough people a bit sensitive/reacting negatively to the process. I have mixed feelings about this announcement even though I’ve waited so long to finally hear that I’m ready for the braces to be removed and have my retainers made. I still feel disappointed about the cross-bite, but I understand this to be a petty preoccupation in the grand scheme of things since my teeth have never been this straight. After the retainer impressions, the following visit I will have the braces permanently removed. I hope my mouth will be abrasion or closed-sore free. That has been one of the worst “side-effects” of having braces. As you can tell, my pain tolerance is pretty low. I am looking forward to getting my teeth whitened, eating corn on the cob, eating a Red Delicious apple without having to chop it up first, chewing gum haha j/k sort of, and flossing my teeth like normal again =)!
I left a message for the dental office on Friday afternoon to schedule a special visit as soon as possible (darn- I must have just missed them and the after-hours service was activated). This is the second time that the end elastics both broke off causing my lower archwire to lose tension and even worse this time, the left side of the archwire was freed and occasionally poked me on the inside of my mouth (I had the horrible image of a fish on a hook in mind). Ouch! I temporarily secured it with a thick layer of ortho. wax but as you may guess, this can be of only limited help. The receptionist returned my call early Monday morning and I was finally able to convince them that my situation warranted a visit that day. At first they hesitated to oblige my request. Upon arriving at 10:30 am, I noticed they were a little short staffed and was very surprised that who I thought was only a receptionist was also the one to replace the elastic ligatures for me. She did a good job. I happily trotted out the door to meet my husband for breakfast… I love a happy ending =).
I was the only one in the waiting room this time. Usually it’s packed. Dr. B even saw me a few minutes earlier; I say this because it’s a rarity. Usually he’s 15 to 30 minutes late and I have to bear the screaming of little kids in the office with their equally frustrated parents. Today he had just shuffled in and I was his first appointment. I asked for purple elastic ligatures. Dr. B quickly rummaged through his cart and finds them for me. I figure that deciding on what color to wear is the only small control I have in this process. I’m always delighted when he has pinks and purples left. He confirmed again that I could finally have my braces removed in a few months and was pleased with my progress. Yes, FREEDOM =)! I wasn’t the best patient today since I wanted to catch every glimpse of Animal Planet on t.v; sometimes it’s re-runs of NCIS. Before leaving, he customarily asks if the braces are hurting, scratching, irritating me in any way and 10 to 1 everything’s okay at the time. Like clock-work, a few days later, something definitely starts troubling me. This time it’s my lower left brackets which are rubbing against the inside of my mouth. I’m rinsing with Colgate’s Peroxyl and will place some ortho wax over the brackets for pain relief. Honestly, I’m still really unhappy with the slight cross-bite after all the sacrifices I have made up to this point. I’m hoping that once my teeth are whitened that it will barely be that noticeable… I know, wishful thinking… Until next time…
Yup, nothing like a lil’ Rincinol, Canker-X, and ortho wax can’t fix =)
I was steaming mad today. Showed up at the dental office with the staff looking at me nearly cross-eyed. “I think you’re here on the wrong day…” Apparently they switched my ortho appointment without notifying me. At first they tried placing blame on me even though it was clearly their fault. The receptionist said, “Oh Dr. B is always switching his days around”… blah blah blah “maybe next time, call the day before to make sure.” What a waste of time! I could have been spending my time doing something useful and it’s an effort for me to get to this office. Just terrible! Sorry for all the griping =(.
I arrived at the office a few minutes late from running a couple of small errands. I asked Dr. B if he knew whether or not my extended braces maintenance would result in more dental fees. To my relief he said no. I also asked how much longer it would take before I was ready for retainers. I had guessed maybe another 3-4 months. He agreed that was a pretty accurate guess. It’s a waiting game with the slow progression of my lowers; gaps appear, disappear, re-appear arghhhh. Pink and light grey elastic ligatures this time and the white elastic thread is back on the lowers =(. I’m planning to start brushing with Sensodyne toothpaste at least two weeks before my teeth whitening session(s) to alleviate the sensitivity caused by the whitening procedure. Of course my plans to whiten my teeth can’t begin until the braces are removed… One can dream… I’ve also been thinking about at home whitening treatments. I have a feeling that e.g. Crest Whitestrips, Crest Whitening toothpaste and the like are much more effective after you have received a professional/in-office whitening beforehand and are possibly a good way to maintain those new pearly whites.
*Photocredit: Various Sources
Dr. L assured me the dental x-rays from last visit showed no cavities and everything seemed fine. Dr. B tightened the braces as usual but added a dusty blue spacer in between two of my right lowers since a tooth was a bit down-turned and needed correcting (center picture). Pink and grey elastic ligatures. Nothing new to report. I wonder when I will finally be ready for retainers? The lowers keep needing an adjustment here and there (annoying). The spacer has caused a little pain since last night and most of today (Dr. B warned me this would be the case). Nothing that warm rinses and soft foods can’t fix. It’s bearable for now. I’m sure by tomorrow, it will be even better.