After the shock of having my brace removed on Wednesday and seeing my huge missing teeth gaps for the first time in almost two years, I was pretty down to say the least. I felt embarrassed and vulnerable without my brace and false teeth hiding them. My teeth looked weird and I felt so ugly.
I know it was only 24 hours before I got to pick up my retainer, but it still meant the embarrassment of two school runs. I just prayed no one spoke to me and tried to get in and out as quickly as possible, but typically as does always happen in situations like this, another mum did speak to me! I had to text her afterwards to say sorry if I was awkward and explained I have missing teeth temporarily so felt too awkward to talk!
Luckily I returned to the orthodontist yesterday, exactly 24 hours after, to pick up my retainer. In this blog post I’m going to share my first impressions of the clear plastic Essix retainer.
Braces at 30 | Essix Retainer Fitting Appointment | 26 Months
Welcome to my latest Braces at 30 blog post where I share my experience of wearing a brace as an adult with updates from each appointment. I had my braces fitted when I was 30 years old. I’m now 32 and have had braces on for over two years! Below I share what happened at my latest appointment.
I wonder whether it is slightly good that my bottom brace wasn’t ready to come off yesterday. It means I can gradually get used to the retainer. By the time I need the bottom one I’ll know what to expect. Though I am also considering a permanent retainer for the bottom, but need to discuss with my orthodontist.
The appointment was a five minute job, if that. I sat in the chair and was shown the retainer. It was pushed on by the orthodontist and removed as she explained how she was pulling it out. Then she handed it to me and asked me to do it without looking in a mirror. I did it just fine, so that was that.
I did want to ask a couple of questions, but as soon as I started I couldn’t speak very well! So I think I flushed a little, asked only one question and left. She did say it will take around 48 hours to get used to the retainer.
Here are the things I’ve noticed in the first 22 hours of wearing the retainer:
- I have a lisp! It’s really hard to pronounce Ts and Ss, but even since yesterday I think my speech has improved, so hopefully it’s only temporary.
- It feels really bulky. It’s like a plastic guard over the teeth, so it feels hard and bulky. Again, this feeling might go away as I get used to it.
- My tongue is swollen. I ate my dinner fine last night, then I had a smoothie for breakfast today and I’ve just sat down to eat lunch which was really tricky! I realise the sides of my tongue are quite sore and feel swollen. It must be where they are rubbing on sides of the retainer, especially the top edge where it’s quite sharp.
- It’s disgusting to take out to eat. I have to take it out to eat or drink anything other than water. When I pull it out it’s covered in saliva which strings from my mouth. Nice huh?! So I rinse it and leave it in a pot. Then I obviously have to eat with gaps galore.
- Eating out is going to be a pain or impossible. After eating I have to clean my teeth. It will damage my teeth if there is any residue of food left on them and I put the casing on top. Obviously without the retainer the food will wash off, move and be swallowed throughout the day after a meal. By putting the retainer over the teeth it keeps any food and acid there, causing damage. So after every meal I need to brush my teeth and make sure they are thoroughly clean before putting the retainer back on.
- It’s simple to fit and remove. It simply slides over the teeth. It felt tight the first time, but already it doesn’t feel tight. To take it off I clasp it and slide two fingernails underneath the top opening and pull straight down. It’s really easy to do.
- I won’t snack as much. As it’s such a pain to have to brush my teeth every time I eat, I will not snack as much. I’ll just stick to my three meals a day to save the effort of having to constantly brush my teeth.
- My teeth look much better. They don’t look perfect and close up you can see the false tooth in the retainer isn’t the best fit, but that’s only temporary. I also have the gap next to the peg tooth, but it’s a bit less noticeable with the retainer on. From a short distance it even looks like my normal teeth and I can begin to see how my teeth will look once the retainer is off and I have two false teeth.
So far the retainer experience is OK. Eating is a bit of a hassle and there’s some discomfort, but the pain and awkwardness should disappear as the brace settles in to my mouth. I feel a lot more positive today and moving forward with the next steps. I have two appointments booked to find out about dental implants and I hope I can get the ball rolling with this.
Fingers crossed I’m about six months away from the whole experience being over. It’s been 26 months this month and I’m ready for it to be over now. I’d like my mouth back!