Yesterday I had an appointment with my old orthodontist to get a little retainer removed from the inside of my bottom teeth. It seems so long ago now, but I once had pretty messed up teeth. Back when I was about 13 I had my first visit with the ortho, and they started to plan the torture regimen for the next few years. First, because my teeth were so crowded, they extracted four permanent teeth from my mouth. That still didn’t provide enough room, so they cemented this little device to the roof of my mouth that reminds me of “The Rack”. Basically every night I’d stick a little key in it and wind it slightly, causing my jaw to be split apart a few microns at a time. When it was all done, my front teeth had split far enough apart that I could slide a quarter and a dime into the gap sideways. So attractive.

Then I had two years worth of braces along with elastics. When it was all done, they cemented a tiny retainer on the inside of my bottom teeth, and also gave me a plastic one for the upper teeth to wear at night. The upper one lasted a few years, until one day out in Ottawa I accidentally stepped on it and broke it into two. The bottom has been there all this time, but some of the cement has slowly chipped away from it.

Yesterday I went in (my first visit since 1994) and met with Dr. Clawson again. Strangely enough, he did a double take at me and actually remembered my name. He said it had been enough time that we could take it out, so he busted out the drill and went to town. 10 minutes later I was retainer free.

It’s a weird feeling having something like that out. Basically my tongue hasn’t had full access to my mouth for 16 years, and now it does again. So it’s strange being able to feel my bottom front teeth with my tongue again. I can feel really small glitches of cement still there, most of which I imagine will be scaled off at my next cleaning.

The retainer (a metal band) was actually pressed firmly against my bottom teeth, which actually protected it from the elements. Now that it’s gone, I can see a bright white line (where the retainer was), and the slightly less white surrounding elements. Apparently that’s what 16 years of drinking coffee and soda does to your teeth.

Anyways, I imagine it’ll take me a few more days to get used to it, as well as talking. I had a slight lisp yesterday when it first came off, but I think it’s mostly gone now. I’m back to my regularly scheduled mouth again, and it feels good.

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