weeeeeeeird . . . .

So that’s what the backs of my teeth feel like.

Thirteen years ago, my orthodontist popped my braces off and glued a pair of permanent retainers to my incisors, top and bottom: two little wires, cemented in place, to keep my bite stable. When I went to college, I started bugging him to take them off, with no success; by the time I went to grad school, they had become such a fact of life I never gave them much thought at all.

Today, having had a dentist tell me I really ought to replace them with removable retainers, I had those wires taken out. For the first time in thirteen years, I can feel the backs of my teeth.

My mouth has become alien territory.

0 Responses to “weeeeeeeird . . . .”

  1. gollumgollum

    Weird. I’ve been told i’ll have mine forever, which has always seemed like poor planning. (I have both kinds; the permanent on the bottom of my teeth, and the removable mold for the tops.)

    And it’s weird to think what it would be like to not have it there anymore.

    • Marie Brennan

      The permanent ones make it more difficult to clean between those teeth, which can lead to gradual bone loss — as had begun to happen with me. Keep that in mind in case you need to think about replacing yours with something removable.

      • gollumgollum

        That’s what i figured, especially with the terrible general condition of my teeth. I’m ready for something new.

        But weeeeeeeeeeeird.

      • akashiver

        Yeah. I used to have a permanent one until my family got a new dentist who told my mother that the permanent retainer wasn’t necessary. Then I wore a removable one for a while, and was told when I was 18 or so(?) that it shouldn’t really matter. I haven’t worn a retainer in 10 years, and while my teeth have slipped forward by a few millimeters, it’s nothing that would cause me to get braces again. (And I used to have a huuuge overbite – almost a centimeter!)

        I would investigate if you even need a removable retainer, Bryn. After all, you’ve probably got your adult teeth & bone structure. And kate, I severely doubt you need a retainer at all. Permanent retainers (according to my former dentist) are now outdated in medical practice. You also have to remember that, what with improved preventative tooth care and the new wave of orthodontics in the 80s, dentists and orthodontists have been put out of business by their own success. People don’t have as many cavities any more, or as many tooth alignment problems, so unfortunately dentists/orthos often push unnecessary procedures on their patients in order to make ends meet. If you’ve got your permanent teeth and they’ve settled in a position that works for you *you probably don’t need a retainer.* (Unless you play the trumpet.* Which as far as you know, neither of you do.)

        (*SRSLY. Apparently trumpet players press their teeth against the mouthpiece to the degree that, over the years, they distort their teeth.)

        • Marie Brennan

          Brass in general. The last time I hassled my orthodontist to remove the wires was over a college vacation; when I went back, I was playing in the pit for a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Dress rehearsal night, our run went so badly it couldn’t even be written off with the usual folklore; we had to run it a second time.

          And the thing with brass is, as you get more tired, you push the mouthpiece harder against your face. First your lips get red. Then they get a circular indentation from the mouthpiece. Then you get an imprint of your teeth on the inside of your lips. Eventually, if you keep going, your teeth end up hurting from the continual pressure. By the end of that second run-through, I was pretty sure the retainers were the only thing preventing me from shoving my teeth down my throat.

          I do think I need the removable; my bite is not particularly stable, I’m told. It’s likely to wander if left completely unattended.

  2. astres

    I’m apparently going to have mine until my wisdom teeth get pulled. *winces*

    • Marie Brennan

      How long will that be?

      • astres

        *has no immediate plans for torture*

        • kurayami_hime

          Wisdom teeth removal is not nearly so bad as all that. Your millage may vary, but I was eating solid food same day after having all four removed (none of which had come in). The only real problem was my brother laughing at me while I tried to find my mouth as the anesthesia was slow to wear off.

        • diatryma

          My wisdom teeth came out easily, though only two of them were close to being in all the way. No bleeding all over the pillow, no chipmunk cheeks, and nothing felt better than the first sip of hot cream of chicken soup.
          My sister puffed up like a hamster, though. It’s a coin toss.

          • astres

            Mine aren’t even showing yet. I have three and I haven’t felt any pain etc etc. I’m 22 and starting to wonder if I’ll ever be “wise” 😛

            I kind of want to steal your dentist but at least mine already knows that I want to kill him (he gave me a few tips and some movies to watch about killing dentists, lol)

  3. nojojojo

    Congrats! But why the heck wouldn’t your orthodontist remove them when you asked him to??

    • kurayami_hime

      Because some of them are just like that. It took my uncle walking in with a pair of pliers saying either they took his braces off or he would before his orthodontist would do it.

    • Marie Brennan

      What said. His answer was always that the longer we left them on, the better it would be for me — stabilizing things and all that — but I was too young to realize I could insist on a removable instead.

  4. khet_tcheba

    I’m with you on the weirdness thing. I remember when my braces came off and all of my teeth were unnaturally smooth.

    My orthodontist pulled the same thing with me. After the braces came off, he installed a permanent retainer on my lower teeth. When I asked him when it could come off, I was told when I was 25 (probably just to shut me up).

    It’s still there and is a colossal pain to clean around. I may need to look into the removable option at some point – even if it means reacquainting myself with the backs of my teeth.

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