Another quick visit for retainer tightening. I was so happy to hear that I’ve graduated to less frequent ortho visits. Yippeee =)! Although Dr. B intially scheduled my next visit for early February, he approved an early March visit instead to coincide with my next dental deep cleaning.
The front lower gap closed within the first month of using my retainers with the ortho elastic and has not returned since. What a relief! That was one stubborn gap. I’ve become used to having my retainers on at night. It didn’t take long to adjust but is there really a choice in the matter? Dr. B has been tightening my retainers a little here and there. He says they can loosen with regular wear and tear but that it’s a normal occurrence (a snug fit without any discomfort is the ideal). I was so happy when he told me I didn’t need the elastic band anymore. It was slightly annoying to get them on my left and right retainer hooks. I did lose a bunch of elastics as they went flying in the air when I tried to put them on the retainers (which was what I had to do 3-4x per day). My prescribed routine remains the same as the day I received them. I do however go retainer-less most mornings and evenings. I wouldn’t dare go without them at night. Don’t want to ruin all that hard work of 18+ months! As you can tell by the update, I’m still going to the dental office once a month for now. I believe the visit frequencies will probably decrease down the road, of course not counting my dental deep cleanings which are every few months.
*New picture to be posted soon*
I wasn’t sure whether or not this topic was post-worthy but I finally decided to write on the subject of retainer cases since I found it difficult to find one I liked (I know I’m very particular). I recently ordered from Smile Shop’s online site and was pleasantly surprised (more like shocked actually) at how quickly my order arrived on my doorstep. They also have an excellent variety to choose from so check out their site! I opted for their sparkly purple and bubblegum scented pink hard cases. Another place you may want to check is on eBay (remember to always check a seller’s feedback rating before deciding to bid); luckily I have found that most sellers I have dealt with have been very professional….. Always good to have a backup retainer case =)
*Photocredit: Smile Shop
This has been a recent curiosity of mine… VIOlight Dental Cleanser/Spa, which boasts both sonic and UV technology is said to be ideal for dentures, bite plates, retainers, sport mouthguards, invisible braces, and whitening trays. Does anyone own this for retainer care? I’ve seen several good ratings/feedback on this gadget but wouldn’t mind hearing what others think of this for retainer cleaning. I saw one comment which suggested that cleansing retainers in this particular dental spa is best at maximum twice a week (as per a dental office). I also saw another consumer comment that the “longevity” of VDS is about two years. Not sure if anyone can confirm these things to be true??? Please drop me a comment. I would appreciate your insight very much.
I’m happy that I got my teeth straightened. It wasn’t a small decision and I consider it a team effort which did involve both my family’s and my dental team’s support. The entire process does have it’s challenges but it was very worth it! Thanks so much for following me on this crazy adventure, especially through my bumps, blips, and under-the-breath mutterings here and there. I understand that a 100% smooth process is too much to expect. Gosh, what a stark difference. Photos don’t lie. Well, the journey continues… Until next month’s new (retainer) post, here’s to good dental health =)
I happily hopped out of the deep-cleaning chair to take a small break. It’s kind of pathetic that as much as I was happy to say goodbye to my braces (although I was appreciative of what they had done for my ugly teeth), I was even more joyous to finally reach the whitening process. I had decided nothing was going to stop me from getting this done! I made sure I used Sensodyne for a MONTH without fail (though this particular office suggests using it two weeks before the process). I normally do have the occasional teeth sensitivity during a certain time of month ahem. A kind of weird sensation =(; reminds me of cavity chills. First the dentist examined my teeth, then they placed a mouth separator, glopped on a ton of bleach mixture (I also heard a beeping noise at this time but can’t tell you what exactly it was as my eyes were shut; I just know it went with this step), placed a big pair of orange protective goggles over my eyes, shut off the examine room lights, turned on the UV lights and directed it towards my mouth (just like in the picture below), allowed to swallow since the mixture was placed in the front of my mouth, they handed me the t.v. remote, and left me alone to sleep or watch t.v. (with the occasional few returns to suction my mouth of drool). Pretty ha? This is what vanity gets you *snicker*; yeah an hour of self-inflicted torture and the occasional squirming in the chair. Squirming, you ask??? Well, during this process I felt several waves of teeth chills and popping as if it was from inside my teeth =(. I opted not to fall asleep since A) House was on *thumbs up* and B) I wanted to keep my mouth exactly aligned to the UV light machine. This was a complimentary whitening with my ortho package. Like yeah, I was definitely going to make the most of it! After about 45 minutes or so, Dr. M peeled the hardened “plaster” off my teeth and I happily rinsed and rinsed and rinsed *YUK*. He said my teeth may get lighter over the next two days, though I was skeptical of that. He along with my husband believe that there is visible lightening of my teeth. I’m tough to please I suppose, but I see only a small improvement and I’m slightly disappointed. I guess I was expecting Hollywood teeth in one go. I know, tall order for the years of neglect in my earlier childhood and young adulthood, tea-loving, previous short-cutting ways = /. Yesterday I started using my Go Smile ampoules (more than 72 hrs post-whitening) and have adhered to Dr. M’s after-bleaching instructions which I will highlight shortly. I did experience sensitivity for several hours on-and-off that day. It has thankfully since not returned =). I also spotted a tiny pale patch on my lower left gums (I was told the bleach mixture on gums can do this); however, it quickly disappeared afterwards like the dental assistant said it would. Dr. M reminded me that the whitening process causes teeth dehydration and that my teeth would gradually get back to normal over the next 48 hours.
General Post-Whitening Tips: To Ensure the Longevity of the Success of Your Treatment According To TeethWhiteningWays.com:
- Avoid drinking dark beverages e.g. tea, coffee, soda or any colored drink which can stain your teeth (post-procedure, your teeth can absorb any color for the next three days until they harden). Also avoid the juice of grapes, cherries, tomatoes, peaches, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, red wine, soy sauce, slushes, and popsicles as they contain a dye that stains your teeth.
- Don’t drink very hot or cold liquids as at these extreme temperatures, the temperature of your teeth tends to change radically. This sharp change in temperature causes the teeth to expand and contract, thus permitting stains to penetrate. Whenever you drink permitted liquids, use a straw as this helps reduce the amount of liquid that passes the front of your teeth and minimizes the breakdown of enamel.
- Avoid e.g. blueberry muffins etc, sauces or marinades that contain soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, beets, Spanish and Indian food.
- Avoid dark color food or soups, stews, dark chocolate which can also contribute to staining your teeth and leaving behind an ugly residue. Citrus fruits, due to their acidic properties, discolor the tooth enamel and should be avoided particularly last thing before bed. If you must eat them, then brush and rinse your mouth thoroughly after eating them.
- Sweets, chocolates and desserts, being sticky, can attract bacteria if you don’t cleanse your mouth well after eating. They also discolor your teeth and damage your teeth enamel.
- Refrain from cigarette smoking since its nicotine content stains the teeth and blackens them.
- Overall, stick to a healthy diet and drink a lot of water. This is good for your body and bones. Take multivitamins and plenty of protein to keep your teeth strong.
***Overall, please consult your dentist first before getting this procedure done! It may not be for everyone. One of the best simple tips I’ve seen online so far is that anything which can stain a white t-shirt is probably something you would want to stay away from post-whitening. Ask your dentist regarding anything you may be concerned about e.g. mouth rinses you may use afterwards (since many are artificially colored), etc. It’s always better to be thoroughly informed before any procedure (preparation, during-process, after-care, what to expect [within normalcy], signs or symptoms of abnormality, etc).***
Examples of My General Diet Post-Procedure:
- egg omlette with mushrooms
- baked chicken
- white potatoes
- hamburger with cooked onions, no ketchup
- soda: Sprite (cleaned teeth right after)
- pasta in olive oil is great too (though I didn’t have this)
- boiled/stir-fried veggies in olive oil e.g. green leafy, cucumbers, summer squash, you get the picture.
*Addendum: September 7, 2010
Dr. L’s office called back and instructed me to begin the Go Smile at home program a week after the in-office whitening procedure. Oh well, I guess I will have to wait a couple more days = /.
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?
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 =)!