Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Debanding doesn't appear in the online Webster's dictionary, but it is a word. It is the orthodontic term for removing braces, which I had done today. At last, after a year and a half!! This appointment was setup for several weeks, but I didn't want to think about it too much in case it got moved back after an exam.

That didn't happen, and this morning I went through the removal process. It wasn't really what I expected. When they put the braces (the proper term for each one appears to be bands) on each tooth, they used some plastic dental adhesive. The process was: dry the tooth, paint on the adhesive, add the band, then shine some ultraviolet light on it to dry out the adhesive and cement the band. I sort of figured the removal would involve some magic plastic dissolver. Nope, band removal was a lot like nut cracking.

After taking out the wires, the orthodontist came over with a tool that sort of looked like a garlic press, except it had a razor blade. After fitting the tool over each band, he squeezed the handle and the band either snapped off, or shattered (I had ceramic ones). Afterwards, all the bands were gone but the dental adhesive was still left.

To get that off, they used a regular dental drill, but fitted with a burr (as they called it). Actually they had two drills, one probably bigger and rougher than the other. After this came a regular dental polishing, and then I brushed my teeth.

It was over yet. Next up was adding a small metal support wire behind the middle four lower teeth. I guess that helps keep those small teeth from getting pushed around. That was added with the same dental adhesive process for the bands, except it was so much less time since the wire is only anchored on two teeth.

Then came impressions for the retainers. This is a short but somewhat unpleasant process where they mix up some pink goo (er... quick drying plaster) and poured it into a mold that was used to make a model of my upper and lower teeth. What is unpleasant about the impressions is drooling while it is being done. Each one only takes a minute, so it wasn't too bad.

I'm not done visiting the orthodontist. I have a retainer to wear at night, and a followup appointment in 2, 4, and 6 months to check that everything is fine. Still, 98% of the process is over with and I'm pretty happy. :)

No comments: