Braces at 30 - why I hate the Essix retainer
I had my top train track brace removed after 25 months of continuous wear in May and I just had my bottom brace removed last week.
However, what would usually be a momentous and exciting occasion for most brace wearers was not so for me.
I have a lateral incisor missing at the top and once the brace was removed I had to have the other removed, so now I have two teeth missing right next to my top front teeth!
Obviously with the brace on I had a false tooth attached to the wire so no one knew I had any teeth missing. Now the brace has gone the gaps are there for all to see!
Essix retainer with composite teeth
To disguise the gaps for now, I have an Essix retainer with one false tooth inserted and also a composite tooth on the other side to hide my newly removed tooth.
This is only until I can have my real false teeth!
It's made my experience of the retainer worse as when I remove it to eat, I have the embarrassment of missing teeth.
As I’ve only just had the second tooth out I now have to wait 6-9 months to get my permanent false teeth in the form of bridges (either Maryland or traditional).
Until then, I will have my clear retainer with one false tooth and composite material to cover the gaps.
I did pick up a Hawley retainer with two false teeth this week, but it may even be worse than this Essix retainer so I’ve only been sleeping in it so far. Plus, I think it’s moved my front teeth in only two nights of wear, so I may just stick with the Essix retainer even though I absolutely detest it!
A mouthful of dentures and retainers
I’m getting a denture next week which I am praying looks normal and I can eat without embarrassment in the day and have my social life back. I have friends that are keen to go out for a meal and I have to keep putting it off as I don’t want to have to talk and eat in front of other people with two teeth missing at the front!
The brace journey certainly isn’t over once the brace is removed, but it is one step closer.
I have to wear the clear Essix retainers (or Hawleys) full time for three months and then I have a review.
Then hopefully retainers will be part time at night only.
I now have all three styles of retainer! I have the metal Hawley, clear Essix and permanent bonded retainer!
I’ve had the clear Essix retainer on the top teeth for two months full-time already so I feel qualified to give my experience of this type of retainer.
Whilst it’s great it is clear, and from a slight distance you can’t even tell a brace is being worn, it also has lots of negatives too.
I can’t wait to only have to wear it part time at night!
At least you can't see my two missing teeth gaps when I have this on. The two teeth next to the front top teeth are missing. This Essix retainer has a false tooth to cover one gap and some filling material from the dentist to cover the other. In this blog post I will share 12 reasons why I hate the clear Essix retainer.
Here are 12 reasons I hate the Essix retainer
1. Bad breath
Yep it gives me stinking bad breath. Really gross. Probably because all the spit just collects in it all day long and doesn’t flow through the mouth or get swallowed. I’m brushing my teeth after every meal so more than ever, sometimes four times a day and using mouthwash, but it still stinks.
2. Can’t eat with it in
I can’t eat with it in. This probably won’t be a problem for those who have no missing teeth, but for me it’s meant I have to reveal my missing teeth whenever I eat or drink anything other than water. This has meant avoiding any social situations where I need to eat, drink and talk to people.
3. Love life killer
It’s like wearing a mouth guard so it’s hard to kiss, plus I’m conscious of the bad breath, missing teeth and spit that is visible within it. Any love life I did manage to have whilst wearing braces (and feeling gross with those) is now totally out of bounds.
4. Disgusting in the morning
The morning is the worst! A whole night of sleeping with spit and bacteria accumulating! So most people get morning breath, but aplify that by a billion and you can imagine how it is. It tastes and feels gross first thing, but just wait until you remove it to brush your teeth. It’s like all the bad air, taste and smell is released from its protective case (being the retainer) and it’s oh so disgusting… Luckily this is only for a moment as teeth are brushed right away to rid this awfulness!
5. Spit when I talk
I spit when I talk. It’s so embarrassing. If I’m talking a lot to a friend then it’s next level. If I drink some water whilst talking then I’m just showering them.
6. Can’t snack
Well I can, but then I’d have to take my retainer out just to have a nibble and then clean it and brush my teeth before putting it back in… too much hassle. Good if you’re trying to eat less though!
7. Have to brush teeth several times per day
After taking it out to eat then you have to brush your teeth and clean the retainer. Believe me, you’ll want to as well! A couple of times I’ve been on the go and just popped it back in and heaved in the process! It’s so gross. It smells bad, tastes bad and looks bad. It’s really not nice putting it back in without being able to clean it. This means taking toothpaste and a toothbrush everywhere and trying to avoid any situation where I can’t brush my teeth after eating or drinking.
8. Can‘t lick spoons or knives
I never before noticed how often I do this! When making the kids lunch boxes or breakfast I often just eat what’s left on the knife or fork. Even when cooking or baking and trying the food. With a retainer in there’s no eating or drinking anything other than water.
9. Breaks easily
It’s just plastic so it can break. I’ve been really careful to look after mine, but it’s already split at the front after only two months. I think it’s OK for now but it will probably get worse. I’ve since read online they can only last six months which isn’t long when they cost £100 to replace.
10. Can’t bite natural teeth together
I couldn’t with the brace either as they put biting blocks on my teeth to prevent me biting together, so it’s frustrating I still can’t bite together now! No biting nails (maybe a good thing for some), Selotape, thread and so on.
11. Always covered in spit
I really hate spit. Ask Ben, my husband. I hate even using a spoon as I hate when the saliva is dragged all over it… it’s something I’ve always hated. I’d always use a fork if eating cake and never a spoon. I hate people who spit in public too. Spit and saliva are just eew to me. This thing is a spit machine! It fills with spit which are always on the teeth. The spit is visible close up as it’s see-through. When I take it out there is loads of stringy saliva hanging off. It makes me feel disgusting.
12. Lisp when I talk
When I first put it on I could barely talk at all and was lisping terribly. I’m much better now, but there are some words I can’t say and Ben keeps mis-hearing me (though I just swear he’s losing his hearing sometimes…) Either way, it’s frustrating sometimes.
So there we go. All the reasons I do not like the clear plastic Essix retainer.
At least with the brace I had a false tooth permanently and could eat on the go, without all the grossness of having to remove it and worry about being able to brush my teeth right away! Plus there was no spit!
Related teeth blog posts
My entire braces & false teeth journey from start to finish!
Braces blog posts
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