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Author Topic: My Journey to Removable Braces  (Read 11337 times)

Offline retained

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #30 on: 12. March 2021, 01:38:07 AM »
Sounds like a challenge and really great.
I wonder if the top one will fit up to your palate more as it starts to move things around.?

It was always my ultimate dream to have retainers and I could believe the feeling when I finally got them. After a time I took the plunge and had another top one made to cover almost my entire palate.
I have to say that I do prefer that feeling.

Offline Embracer

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #31 on: 12. March 2021, 11:51:03 AM »
Gosh that is a really complex appliance. I think I can count 14 metal components in addition to the expansion screw and complicated labial bow -  which I assume is designed that way to give flexibility for opposing forces to the springs behind your front teeth.

Do the springs at the back of your upper appliance actually touch your wisdom teeth or are they designed for attaching elastics?

Are your expansion screws being activated yet? What does your ortho say about the viability of expansion in adults?

What is the purpose of the bite plane on your lower appliance? It does seem odd that the lower appliance does not have a labial bow. Perhaps your ortho is just opening up space with this one and will follow it with a second lower appliance to actually straighten your lower teeth. Rotation must be a challenge with a removable appliance.

Are you managing much wear time with both appliances?

Sorry to ask so many questions but your treatment is really interesting. Kudos to you for pressing for your choice of removable braces when it would have been easier to go with fixed braces.

Good luck!


Offline bracessd

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #32 on: 12. March 2021, 17:10:36 PM »
Very nice!

Offline Retainer101

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #33 on: 12. March 2021, 17:58:01 PM »
How are you getting on with them? How long do you have to wear them for? I was so nervous going to get my retainers I can’t imagine how you felt getting those

Offline foobar

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #34 on: 13. March 2021, 01:18:11 AM »
Can you share some shots?
No, sorry.

I wonder if the top one will fit up to your palate more as it starts to move things around.?
I don't think so. I always create a slight vacuum in my mouth, which resulted in my bruxism night guard leaving indentations in my gums, which I used as reason asking them to have the plate cover my full palate. Instead, they designed the plate to not touch the gums to prevent me sucking that negative pressure. Guess that's partially my own fault in the end, trying to use somewhat bogus reasons trying to make the appliances more extreme.

I took the plunge and had another top one made to cover almost my entire palate. I have to say that I do prefer that feeling.
Now you're just trying to make me envious! ;) I guess I still have a chance for them to create a new top plate, if I have some sensible reasons on why I don't like the current top plate. The ortho said that I should try getting used to the current plate for now and see if it works for me, and if not we'll see what we can do. Any ideas / suggestions for arguments? Another idea would be to ask for the full-palate plate for my retainers, so I get to enjoy both types in the end.

labial bow -  which I assume is designed that way to give flexibility for opposing forces to the springs behind your front teeth.
The two straight springs between the finger springs of my outer incisors and canines are to move the canines back. I think the labial bow is formed that way to control the movement of the canines better as the two loops are (or will be when adjusted) touching my canines. For counteracting the opposing forces of the finger springs a normal labial bow would probably be just fine.

Do the springs at the back of your upper appliance actually touch your wisdom teeth or are they designed for attaching elastics?
I think they are intended to touch the molars and move them inwards once activated. Currently one sits in the middle of the wisdom tooth while the other is sitting close to the gum line (which will most likely be fixed when they are activated). For elastics the wires are probably too long and at a weird angle where elastics would create too much torque.

Are your expansion screws being activated yet? What does your ortho say about the viability of expansion in adults?
The expansion screws aren't activated yet. I don't know if the plan is to activate them at some point at all. The ortho hasn't mentioned anything about expansion or the screws so far. They could be there for a reason (which I'd definitely enjoy :) ), but they could also just be there because they are incorporated into every appliance they build? I don't know. But their mere existence would suggest that they'll be activated in due time, which I really hope for. In the top jaw I have enough space for all my teeth and the planned movements. Only in my lower jaw my incisors are a little crowded. Maybe they'll try to tip my teeth slightly to make room, but then again the ortho plans IPR for the lower incisors.

What is the purpose of the bite plane on your lower appliance?
I grind and grit my teeth a lot, resulting in strong abrasions. The bite plane is used similarly to a bruxism guard.

It does seem odd that the lower appliance does not have a labial bow. Perhaps your ortho is just opening up space with this one and will follow it with a second lower appliance to actually straighten your lower teeth. Rotation must be a challenge with a removable appliance.
I don't think that a second appliance is planned. At least from the treatment plan there is one appliance per jaw during treatment, and one set each of bonded and removable retainers. Rotations and other movements are done with all of the finger springs, of which there are plenty! How the fine-tuned alignment will be done I'm wondering myself. I'd have expected a labial bow as well.

Are you managing much wear time with both appliances?
I've only gotten the top plate yesterday, so I can't really comment on that yet. Considering that all of my friends know about my braces by now, and can understand me (I sound different, but perfectly intelligible), I only take them out during business meetings and when eating. So far, with just the lower plate, I've managed to have them in 16-20 hours each day, which I expect (read: hope) to make with both appliances as well.

Sorry to ask so many questions but your treatment is really interesting.
Ask away! I'm having a blast answering all the questions! Can't really get a conversation about braces started with my friends, as they just don't care, so this forum is the next best thing :) (Also, it helps getting me to 30 posts :D )

Kudos to you for pressing for your choice of removable braces when it would have been easier to go with fixed braces.
Fixed braces were never an option for me personally. I wouldn't have my teeth fixed if I hadn't found an ortho willing to treat me with removable plates. Even though it may not seem like it given the crazy appliances, I only have very slight imperfections, nothing that would require treatment if I didn't want it.

How are you getting on with them?
So far pretty good. They feel as nice as I hoped for. Some teeth started to move, which hurt like hell, just as expected. The only two problems are the expansion screw with its gap between the two halfs of the top plate, which irritate my tongue quite a lot, and the two springs between the top right molars, which are angled in a way that they pinch my tongue whenever I move it over them. So all in all my tongue isn't too happy right now, but I somehow anticipated these kinds of problems. Hopefully my tongue gets used to that so I won't wake up with my tongue hurting in the future.

How long do you have to wear them for?
I need to wear them a minimum of 12 hours a day, but should try to keep them in for 14-16 hours. The longer I wear them, the sooner I'll be done (though I'm not sure if that's a good thing ;) ). So far I make 16-20 hours each day, let's see if it stays that way.

I was so nervous going to get my retainers I can’t imagine how you felt getting those
Before getting the bottom plate (and expecting to get the top one), I was extremely nervous. I can't remember ever having been that nervous before in my whole life, not even before defending my thesis. My blood pressure and pulse were completely through the roof, even higher than when I'm doing sports. Adrenaline was pumping like hell. As it turns out, theorizing about an event for over a decade and playing it through in my head a million times didn't help me in the slightest for this one.
When getting the top appliance a week later, for some reason I was much more relaxed. Still pretty nervous, but not nearly as much as before the previous appointment.

Offline retained

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #35 on: 13. March 2021, 18:09:50 PM »
Am enjoying reading all the answers.
I understand exactly what you mean about the nervousness / blood pressure!
When I eventually went ahead and made my appointment to go and get my (completely unnecessary) retainers and I went for the impressions, I think I was almost passing out with the anticipation. Then I had to go away and wait a week or more for the call to go back for fitting. That was the longest week of my life!
The feeling when the technician put them in was unbelievable. He asked me how they felt. I could hardly answer.

Offline Embracer

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #36 on: 14. March 2021, 15:18:50 PM »
Presumably if your ortho has not discussed expansion with you, they will not have given you a key to turn the expansion screws?

I had IPR as part of my orthodontic treatment. I think my ortho was looking to find about 3mm of extra space. It seemed to do the trick with the help of a short powerchain. It is not at all painful, but perhaps a little disconcerting the first time. My ortho did it all by hand rather than using any powered equipment and i was a lot happier with that approach.

Have you had any part of your upper brace activated yet? Or are you due another visit to your ortho.

How is your speech progressing? I  expect you will reach a stage where your speech improves to the extent that you will be able to have a go at wearing your braces for work meetings too. I think it would be desirable to aim for that. For treatment with other types of removable braces like invisalign and inman aligners, orthodontists seem to require 22 hours plus per day. I can't imagine it can be very good for your teeth to have persistent periods of tooth movement whilst wearing your braces followed by persistent relapse when you are not wearing them.

I guess it is different when treatment is completed and you gradually move  from 24/7 retainer wear to just overnight or even just a couple of nights per week.

I presume you are mostly working remotely because of covid? Has the remoteness from other people caused by covid made it easier for you to proceed with your treatment?

All the best

Offline foobar

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #37 on: 18. March 2021, 02:03:07 AM »
Update after nearly one week with both braces:

The bottom brace is perfectly fine. It fits well and doesn't produce any sore spots. When it was activated during the last appointment, the next few days the activated teeth hurt quite a lot, which I expected but was somehow still surprised by. However, it wasn't too bad, as I was still able to eat all of my normal food. Due to the top plate moving things around slightly even though it's not yet activated, and the new occlusion surface of the lower grinding planes resulting in pretty strong clenching, all of my teeth are a bit sensitive in general.
The top appliance on the other hand is a pita. It had a sharp edge in the tongue region, one wisdom teeth spring was digging into the gums, the labial bow exerted force on one tooth which shouldn't be the case yet, two springs are formed in a way that they pinch my tongue when I move it to that spot, and two small pieces of plastic already broke off. A few of the finger-springs also poke my tongue when I touch them. Due to all of those reasons I went to the ortho on Monday, who fixed most of them (apart from the pinching and poking springs where "just don't move your tongue there" is a valid solution I guess ;) ). The last few days were better, and at least my tongue isn't hurting all the time anymore.

The activated bottom teeth moved quite quickly to their new position. Already two days after the spring activation, they were in their new position and stay there since (I can't feel any further movement with my tongue since then, and the ache reduced significantly after 2 days). But already that small adjustment resulted in none of my chewing surfaces matching up like before anymore. That happened way earlier than I expected. I feel like I'm not able to chew properly anymore but instead just mush up food. It's a weird feeling.

Regarding the wax and how to remove it, an ultrasound cleaner apparently works wonders! All of the wax is gone.

I think I was almost passing out with the anticipation.
That describes it pretty much perfectly. Way better description than I tried to achieve in several sentences :)

He asked me how they felt. I could hardly answer.
My ortho also asked me if I felt any pressure. I was so overwhelmed with everything that I couldn't say anything. I just sat there in awe of everything that was happening. Even if I wanted to answer, I just didn't feel anything at all in that moment. It was incredible. Unfortunately, already in the second appointment a week later when I got the top plate, the anticipation and feeling of awe wasn't quite as strong anymore. I hope that it'll be back strong for my first adjustment in 5 weeks time. One week maybe wasn't enough time to calm down enough to get hyped up again before the next appointment.

Presumably if your ortho has not discussed expansion with you, they will not have given you a key to turn the expansion screws? [...] Have you had any part of your upper brace activated yet? Or are you due another visit to your ortho.
No key whatsoever. So far only a few finger springs on the lower appliance have been activated to start rotating my lower front teeth, and that was also only done because I needed the second appointment for my upper brace. My first proper adjustment will be at my next appointment in 5 weeks. At that time I'll hopefully be introduced to all the active parts of my appliances, including the expansion screws. When asking about how my teeth will be moved the ortho referred to that appointment. Until then I should just get used to the braces.

I had IPR as part of my orthodontic treatment. I think my ortho was looking to find about 3mm of extra space. [...] It is not at all painful, but perhaps a little disconcerting the first time. My ortho did it all by hand rather than using any powered equipment and i was a lot happier with that approach.
3mm sounds quite a lot! For me I suspect it'll only be around 1-1.5 mm of space that'll be needed (though my ortho hasn't mentioned any specific number). I still hope that it's not needed and instead can be achieved with a little bit of expansion / tipping. At least your positive experience takes away a bit of my fear for that part of the treatment.

How is your speech progressing? I expect you will reach a stage where your speech improves to the extent that you will be able to have a go at wearing your braces for work meetings too. [...] I presume you are mostly working remotely because of covid? Has the remoteness from other people caused by covid made it easier for you to proceed with your treatment?
Talking is improving little by little. I've managed most sounds somewhat well, and I'm starting to find ways to make my alveolar and postalveolar fricatives sound not as bad, but also still not good. Probably around the time I'll lose the braces again, I'll finally have mastered talking :D Currently I don't expect pronunciation to improve enough for me to wear the braces during work meetings. Maybe in one-on-one meetings with one of my coworkers with which I have probably around 50% of my meeting time at work. However, due to SARS-CoV-2 and home-office I usually have no more than 2-3 hours of meetings per day anyway. Staying home most of the time definitely helps with wear-time a lot!
I'm not sure if covid was a major deciding factor for me to get braces now. Al least I haven't consciously used it for any decision, but it probably had a subliminal effect.

For treatment with other types of removable braces like invisalign and inman aligners, orthodontists seem to require 22 hours plus per day. I can't imagine it can be very good for your teeth to have persistent periods of tooth movement whilst wearing your braces followed by persistent relapse when you are not wearing them.
My ortho recommends 12-16 hours each day for adults. Even for children she recommends only 14-16 hours with removable braces. I guess she's able to achieve all the movement in that time-frame. Treatment will maybe take longer than when wearing them full-time. Currently I'm easily able to get 16-20 hours per day, which should be more than enough. I'll see how it turns out in the appointment after the next appointment, when we'll see the first results of spring activations. I can start adapting from there if movements are too slow or unstable.
Once home office is over, I don't know if I'll wear the braces during working hours, so that may reduce my wear time down to 12-14 hours. I'm allowed 2-3 days of home office per week (even before SARS-CoV-2 hit), so I can make up time during those days. But I'll tackle that once we get there (which may still take some time as for my company there's no rush to get us back on-site).

Offline Embracer

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #38 on: 19. March 2021, 11:13:36 AM »
Sounds like you are doing well!

Offline AlexwithBraces

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #39 on: 26. March 2021, 09:37:38 AM »
How is the bottom expander? I would love to get one, but never really clear on effectiveness in young adults

Offline cancelledDSD

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #40 on: 06. April 2021, 19:03:16 PM »
Wow that sounds like such a great treatment so far! I’m quite envious! I’m looking forwards to more updates to see how it is going.

Offline foobar

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #41 on: 09. April 2021, 18:43:25 PM »
Quick update after 4 weeks of having both appliances with 11 days to go until my first adjustment.

Already two days after the spring activation, they were in their new position and stay there since
Yeah that was a wrong statement. That tooth is still wandering forward bit by bit. In fact, even though nothing else has been activated, several of my teeth are moving around. For example the spring for an upper lateral incisor is touching my central incisor, inducing some forward tipping. I guess that's what the getting-used-to-the-braces-phase is for, to let the removable appliance settle, allowing incremental changes afterwards. For fun I tried inserting my old bruxism night guard. Two weeks ago it still fit with a little pressure, now I can barely insert it. There's definitely more movement happening without any activations yet than I expected.

At this point I'm pretty used to the braces and have them in most of the time (~20+ hours on most days). There are still some rough edges, and my subconscious suction while sleeping makes parts of my cheek and tongue get pinched between the plates and teeth, resulting in several sore spots (and a bruise in my cheek). Nothing that requires an urgent appointment, but I'll ask my ortho about that at the next appointment how that can be improved.
There are times when I completely forget that I have the plates in and it just feels natural, and then there are the times where I'm hyper-aware of the braces, feeling them fill large parts of my mouth, prodding and poking my tongue, cheeks and lips. I still wish I'd have gotten an upper plate filling the whole palate. But what I have is very very close to my dreams, so I can't complain.
My grinding and clenching has already left quite some marks in the bite plane. My TMJ isn't used to the more open position due the bite plane yet and aches and cracks every now and again.

Talking is improving week by week. It still sounds different than without the braces in, and I don't expect that to change, but at least I can make distinct "s", "z" and "sh" sounds now :) I'll most likely always sound different while wearing the braces. Previously, with my ~1mm thick night guard, I was able to talk without a noticeable difference after some time, but that one is way less intrusive and I've had it for 6 years instead of the expected 1-1.5 years I'll have these braces.
On some days when I wear the braces all the time except for eating, I start to have trouble speaking without them when taking them out before meals. I takes some minutes for my mouth to adapt back to not having the braces in anymore. Unfortunately the reverse is also true and after putting the appliance back in it sometimes takes 30min until I get used to having them back in. It's intriguing to see how quickly the body can adapt to these things.

I've also received the first invoice from the ortho. For the appliances I've found some weird discrepancies. The numbers that are correct in the invoice are 16 active springs (6 each for upper and lower frontal 6 teeth, 2 in the upper appliance for moving back my canines, and 2 in the upper appliance for my wisdom teeth = 16) and 2 two-arm clasps (the two adam's clasps in the upper plate). However, additionally it lists a labial bow and a modified labial bow. The latter probably means the one on upper brace, but my lower brace doesn't have a labial bow, so I don't know why there are two in the invoice. There are also 10 triangular clasps in the invoice, but I count only 8 (6 bottom, 2 top). I'm not sure if I'm missing something or if the invoice might be wrong.
Either way, my private health insurance covers all of the cost (and already payed for the invoice), but I'll still ask my ortho about it out of personal interest.

All in all I'm not regretting my decision to get these braces in the slightest so for and am very satisfied with them. It's just such a joy to have and wear them, such a fulfilling feeling after all these years dreaming about such a treatment!

How is the bottom expander? I would love to get one, but never really clear on effectiveness in young adults

I can't comment on expansion yet, as my ortho hasn't talked about that topic with me so far. I expect my appointment in two weeks for my first adjustments to touch upon that topic. My guess is that it'll mainly be used for tipping the teeth a bit, but I don't know. I hope I can tell you more in two weeks.

Offline retained

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #42 on: 10. April 2021, 00:08:06 AM »
Thanks for the detailed update. All sounds good and its interesting that there have been quite a few noticeable changes even before activation.
Interesting to hear that speech is slightly difficult for a time when you take them out.
I certainly found that after wearing my simple retainer / bite plate absolutely full time for a few years (purely by choice). A couple of times I had to quickly disappear from a situation and put it back in because it was embarrassingly difficult to speak without it. I did like that though !

Will be good to get the next instalment..

Offline foobar

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #43 on: 23. April 2021, 17:10:51 PM »
I had my first adjustment a few days ago. Already before the adjustment, one of my canines moved back quite a lot, pretty much already eliminating the space between it and the premolars (which is the main issue I wanted to get fixed with the braces, or rather, which is the main thing I used as reason of why I wanted braces to the ortho :) ).

During the appointment, the ortho tightened the holding clasps of both appliances quite a lot, to provide better anchorage for the active elements to do their work. She adjusted the springs of my lower incisors and activated my upper lateral incisors to start pushing them out. The springs moving in my wisdom teeth were activated a lot (which really hurt!). When inserting the plate, those springs now get caught on the surfaces of my wisdom teeth, so I need to push them out with my fingers. She also activated the move-canines-back springs, but I think one of them is blocked by another wire and doesn't actually touch my canine.
I asked her about the expansion screws and when / how / if they'll be activated. She said she doesn't need to gain much space. If and when needed she'll just turn them during my normal adjustment appointments.
Given this, I don't think I can answer your question regarding the effectiveness of expanders in young adults as I won't really need much expansion / it'll only be so slight that it doesn't matter.
I mentioned the sores in my lips and cheeks I talked about in my previous post to the ortho and she adjusted a few things here and there to hopefully reduce them. Three days later I can say that it didn't really help and with the new activations other parts of my tongue now also get pinched and start to hurt. I also mentioned the impressions of the upper plate in my hard palate tissue due to my subconscious sucking in the night (which don't really bother me). She smoothed the edges a little bit (although I know that won't help as my dentist also tried everything over the five years of me wearing the bruxism guard without any success). I used that as argument for why I wanted my top brace to cover my full palate which unfortunately they didn't do. I'll continue mentioning it, in the hopes that I'll get that wish fulfilled at least for my retainer :) (which user retained made me even more envious about)

With the tightened clasps, my upper plate hangs now even lower in my palate, reducing the space for my tongue even more. The plastic now goes below my lateral incisors and is even visible from the outside (which I guess doesn't really make much difference as the plastic from the lower bite plane is already very visible). It also strongly affects my speech again. I was finally at a point where I could talk pretty well, and now, again, I sound like I have just gotten the braces…

The pain was about as I expected. When I got the upper plate six weeks ago and my lower plate was adjusted slightly, I already realized that the strongest pain occurs roughly in the timespan 4-12 hours after putting in the braces after the adjustment. An advantage of removable appliances is that this time I was able to time wearing them in such a way that the strong-pain-time was while I slept. With fixed braces I imagine you can't time your adjustments that well and might have meals with that strong ache, which explains quite a lot of tips surrounding soft food after adjustments. In my case, I was able to continue eating normally, though some things like crunchy fries weren't too much of a joy to eat ;) I guess another difference is that only some of teeth were activated, while after a wire change with brackets all teeth are activated in some way or another.
Three days later, I still feel constant pressure and some slight ache, both of which I really enjoy though!

Regarding the missing labial bow and the two missing clasps from the invoice, I asked the ortho. Those elements are really missing. The bottom appliance was supposed to have a labial bow and it's also missing two clasps. She said that she'll definitely need the labial bow to properly align the incisors, which we all were already wondering about and expecting. The technician forgot to / didn't work them into the appliance. I need to bring the bottom brace to the ortho next Tuesday evening. On Wednesday the technician will be there and add the missing elements. Thursday morning I have another appointment where I'll be fitted the lower plate again, and possibly have a few more adjustments.
Additionally, on the bottom brace one spring broke. I think that happened during the adjustment when the ortho was bending it with the pliers, as it was already broken when I was back home and looking at the braces the first time since the adjustment. Either way I'll mention it when handing over the bottom plate next week to make sure that it can be repaired if needed.

Interesting to hear that speech is slightly difficult for a time when you take them out. I certainly found that after wearing my simple retainer / bite plate absolutely full time for a few year.

Your anecdotes about that were exactly what I was immediately thinking about when I realized that phenomenon. It's crazy how quickly the body can get used to or even dependent on something like that.

Offline Embracer

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Re: My Journey to Removable Braces
« Reply #44 on: 01. May 2021, 11:46:30 AM »
How did you get on last week?