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My Journey to Removable Braces

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I've just started my second try to get braces. First time (3 years ago) I went to an ortho my dentist recommended, but they would only have used brackets or invisalign, neither of which I'm interested in, so I chickened out. For a real treatment I'd rather like to have removable plates of some sort.

Now, 3 years later, my bruxism night guard starts to crack after 6 years of usage. I had the decision to get a new one or just try to go for braces again (as I don't want to pay hundreds for a new guard and then get braces, making my new guard not fit anymore anyway).

This time I searched online for orthos near me that treat adults using removable braces and found 7 whose websites stated that they do so. Those websites mention both invisalign and removable appliances separately. Judging from their website and location I called my top 3 a week ago. In that call I directly asked them if they used removable appliances which are not aligners like invisalign. That's when one of the practices said that they only use brackets or invisalign, leading to me ending the call quickly. The other two orthos do also use removable braces for adults and gave me initial consultation appointments for today and tomorrow respectively.

Since I got the appointments, I am super nervous and my whole body is just screaming "stress" all over the place. I think the last time my body reacted this strongly to stress was during the last weeks of my thesis. To those people having gone through the same thing, how do you handle your nerves building up before the appointment?!

I had my first consultation with ortho1 today morning. Before leaving the house I checked my blood pressure and pulse and they were completely through the roof! So much for wanting to stay calm…

The practice has an open treatment area with 3 chairs. I was led into a semi-private room with an open doorway to the open treatment area. Upon entering the room I instantly spotted 6 sets of appliance presentation model. Gladly, none of them was for invisalign :) Two had fixed brackets (one with metal ones and one with clear ones). Two more had removable plates and another one even a Bionator. The last one was for showing fixed retainers.

I stated from the very beginning that I'd like to have some smaller problems fixed with removable appliances which I only did at the end of the appointment 3 years ago. I'd like to think that this helped, but judging by the models I guess there really were only two options to begin with.
The orthodontist took a look at my teeth and pretty much found the same things I had collected over the years and want to get fixed. According to her, most things can be fixed with removable braces, albeit with a bit of difficulty. However, aligning my midline (2mm off) and fixing my wisdom teeth (which have enough space but are biting edge-to-edge not affecting my bite) can only be done with fixed braces and elastics (which I don't want).

The removable appliances she showed me are somewhat similar to Schwarz appliances. She said that my plates will probably with a few springs, screws and maybe other goodies. For my bruxism, she wants to apply a posterior bite plane to the lower appliance. She'll make the plane pretty thick, thicker than my night guard which has 2-3mm to relax my joint muscles. All in all she expects 1 year of treatment depending on how much I wear the braces (12h/d minimum).
For retention she showed me bonded retainers and stated that she always uses them on both jaws, usually on the front 4 or 6 teeth, sometimes even on 8. For my bruxism I'd additionally have a night guard for my lower jaw. I asked whether it'd be possible to use removable retainers instead. She wasn't really positive, stating that I'd need to wear them for the rest of my life as teeth will always shift to a certain degree and that fixed retainers are lower maintenance. I replied that I'll probably already wear the bruxism guard for the rest of my life, so it wouldn't really matter if I'd have one or two appliance in my mouth during the night. She didn't seem to positive, but also not fully negative about it.

If I go ahead with this ortho, there'll be a second appointment for record taking where they'll take two sets of molds (one for the record and one for appliance creation) and radiographs. In a third appointment she'll present the treatment plan. If I agree to still go forward with her, the braces will be fitted in a fourth appointment.

In the end, I'm already super stoked. This was a huge success as I got an offer containing just what I wanted and which I'll gladly accept. I still have a consultation tomorrow morning with a different ortho, so I'll se what they propose. But I can go into that more relaxed as I don't really "need" it anymore, already having a very good option.

Yesterday I had my consultation appointment with ortho2. I was slightly less nervous as expected. This appointment went more like what I expected most of them to go and be like. Their website stated that they use brackets, invisalign and removable braces for adults, which was confirmed when I called beforehand. The doctor himself is rather old, which should be a good indication for removable appliances.

The practice is located in a more expensive area and was pretty large. It felt more impersonal than the practice of ortho1, which was smaller and in general felt more individual. Upon being seated in a patient room, a female orthodontist explained to me that the older ortho will retire soon and thus won't take any more new patients. Instead, she'll be taking over the practice and handle all new patients.

When I was asked why I was there and answered that I'd like to have a few minor things fixed with removable non-invisalign braces, she already started to become quite dismissive. After taking a look into my mouth, she explained what was wrong with my teeth. Only some of the things I already knew about. Other things she noticed I still don't really agree with, but then again I'm not an orthodontist. After I added the things I'd like to get fixed, she stated that only brackets or invisalign will give me a satisfactory result. Removable plates won't be able to fix most things and she doesn't like using them. She only rarely uses them, for example when a single tooth relapses during / after retention. For me the only options would be fixed braces for 9-12 months or invisalign for 3-6 months.

Honestly, this was pretty much what I was expecting to happen during all of the consultation appoints, them looking at my teeth and stating that they only offer brackets or invisalign. Luckily, as I already had my offer from ortho1 with what I wanted, I quickly ended the appointment with ortho2.

Upon leaving the building, I instantly called ortho1 to accept their offer and start treatment with them. Tomorrow (Thursday) will be the record-taking appointment. After that 2 more appointments until I get removable braces, just as I wanted (hopefully)! So now there is no way back for me (or at least that's what I tell myself not to chicken out in the end ;) )

An interesting thing is that I've been at 3 different orthos total so far (including the one 3 years ago) and all of them found and focused on pretty different problems of my teeth. I guess asking 3 people for their input will get you 4 different answers :)

Yesterday was my record-taking appointment. It didn't involve the orthodontist at all. Instead, the assistant prepared and handled everything. First, both a panoramic and a side-view radiograph were taken. Afterwards she photographed my side profile in addition my teeth from the front. The last thing to do where the impressions of both jaws. Luckily I didn't have any problems with that. The impression material went back into my mouth quite a lot, so far that I couldn't have my tongue not touch it. However, I didn't really need to gag. It wasn't necessarily comfortable, but it also didn't bother me significantly compared to what I've read pretty much everywhere else. While my impressions were taken, another patient next to me was lucky (or unfortunate?) enough to get a lower lip bumper installed. After my impressions, I was already finished, in fact quite a lot quicker than I expected. I have another appointment in 3 weeks to get presented and discuss the treatment plan. If (or rather once) I accept, another set of impressions will be taken to create the braces from (the ones taken yesterday are for record-keeping and treatment evaluation only). I guess 3 weeks isn't anything unusual, but that time will probably feel like ages for me. I wonder how much time they'll need to create the appliances afterwards. How long did it take for you accepting the treatment plan to getting removable braces? So what time frame can I probably expect?

That's pretty cool, good luck with your braces!
Where are you from?


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