Retainer Free

Last modified on October 15th, 2009

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.

7 responses to “Retainer Free”

  1. TheQuack says:

    Wow – I thought I won the weird dentist name contest with my dentist, Dr. Thrasher … but Dr. Clawson is pretty competitive. Lol

  2. Tia says:

    I vividly remember Orthodontic Hell. It started when I was 13, and it didn’t end until I was 16. I got the evil braces of doom off in time for my 16th birthday and trip to Europe, and boy, was I happy not to see the Orthodontist every month. In their wisdom (realizing I was hideously non-compliant with elastics?) they cemented both the bottom AND the top retainer in. Good, because I would never have worn a night retainer, but bad, because I ws let loose upon the world with no orthodontist, and a piece of equipment (stupid bottom piece) that kept popping off, forcing me to go to strange orthos around the country. When it finally busted off when I was working on a rez in the north I gave up. I still have the top one though, and that bastard is cemented down tight. Sucks to floss, but keeps my dad’s $4000 dental investment in place.
    Woot for tooth crowders.

  3. Jen says:

    Oh wow – Dr. Clawson is still there. I figured he’d be retired by now. He did my braces lo those many moons ago (and I too still have the bottom retainer).

  4. Kimm says:

    I think they should have cemented my retainer in, cause once I was braces free I barely wore mine after a year or two. I recently found the case but of course it was empty.

    welcome to the being retainer free club

  5. Wow, that is the longest orthodontic story I’ve heard. And I love that your retainer was a metal band.

    Or should I say, you had a metal band, RËTAÏNER! Meedlymeedlymee!

  6. Dianna says:

    This gives me hope! It’s been 16 years since I’ve had my notion retainer cemented in and I’m so over it! Dentist told me I should keep it in cuz the bottom teeth can shift easily… Maybe I should talk to the ortho! 🙂

  7. Dianna says:

    Er not notion… Bottom… Thank you iPhone.

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