Adult Braces: Removal and Retainers

It has been a bit since my last update. Back then, I was in COVID timeout and had no clue when my next orthodontist appointment would be. I finally was able to have an appointment in mid-May. Then, I was told more good news at my appointment. I was ready to schedule the final 3 appointments (final check/molding for retainer, removal and then get retainers). But then the bad news. With COVID, they weren’t scheduling adult braces removal appointments yet, so I was back in a holding pattern.

Adult Braces Update: Removal and Retainers | Hear about my experience with adult braces removal and wearing retainers | Puppies & Pretties

After sitting for a few weeks, I finally got a call that we can schedule my final check appointment. I went in, got the all clear and got my removal appointment scheduled in 2.5 weeks. Now, in that appointment I did get to enjoy the experience of getting a mold done on my lower teeth for a permanent retainer. Same deal as when you initially get fitted for your braces. Except this time, you have braces on. Which really like to hold the plaster material. Let me tell you, that might have been the most uncomfortable experience to date. Having a huge tray of gross tasting plaster absolutely stuck in your mouth. The lady that was taking the mold said mine was one of the hardest mold-removals she has ever had. #winning (not really).

Finally, it was the day. Adult braces removal. The lady that did the actual removal wore a PAPR respirator because of the amount of aerosols I’d be throwing into the air. That was certainly an experience. If you think trying to talk to your dentist while they are digging in your mouth is tough, try it when the person is digging in your mouth with a respirator on. The removal wasn’t as bad as I thought, even though the sanding down of my back molars was not fun (I have some pretty large fillings back there and let’s just say getting the glue ground off was unpleasant.)

As I mentioned earlier, I also got a permanent retainer placed behind my lower front teeth. This is just a little wire that runs across my 6 front teeth on the bottom. Out of all my teeth, these were the ones that had to get the most straightening from braces. So to keep them where they belong, this little wire gets to hang out in my mouth for who knows how long.

After all that, I got molds done for my retainers. These are the ones that are easily removable and sort of look like invaslign trays. Thankfully, without braces on, the molding process was much less unpleasant. Finally, I got a bunch of pictures and x-rays done. All in all, my adult braces removal appointment lasted about 1.5 hours.

Two days later, I went back in to get my retainers. Let me tell you, those first two days of freedom were magical. I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I definitely had some tooth pain, but nothing to write home about. Of course, my eating fun ended the day I got my retainers as I had to wear my top retainers full time for 6 weeks. Granted, having to remove what amounts to a plastic tray from my mouth before eating is much better than braces, it’s just another step to deal with. Since I have a permanent retainer on the bottom, I only have to wear my plastic retainer on my bottom teeth at night.

I will say, there was some definite pain those first couple days with the retainers. And man, were the retainers tough to get off. It’s amazing how tiny shifts in your teeth just from a couple days sans braces made a difference. After about a week, my teeth were feeling much better and the retainer goes on and off pretty smooth. I am thankful that because of COVID I’m mostly at home, so I don’t have to deal with taking my retainer out in front of others. Because that would be awkward. Once again, I give major kudos to teenagers that deal with braces/retainers/all that in high school.

All in all, COVID delayed my adult braces journey by just over 8 weeks. I know in the grand scheme of things, that isn’t long, but dang. That was a long 2 extra months of braces life.