Sunday, March 28, 2010

Retaining the Retainer

re-tain-er [re-tey-ner] noun
1. a person or thing that retains.
2 .a servant or attendant who has served a family for many years.
3. Also called cage, separator. Machinery. a ring separating, and moving with, balls or rollers in a bearing.
4. Orthodontics.
a. a fixed or removable device worn in the mouth to hold the teeth in their new position during the adaptive period after straightening appliances have been removed.
b. Prosthodontics. a part on a bridge or the like by which the bridge is attached to the natural teeth.

Twelve years ago this month I received what every 17 year old who is about to graduate from high school and go on to college wants: braces. Despite my perfectly straight teeth, at a routine cleaning it was decided that those baby teeth I continued to hold onto had to go. And, in order to make room for the adult teeth they were going to have to pull down, I need to have braces attached to my teeth. Excuse me? Braces? At seventeen? No thank you! Its not like I hadn't had these baby teeth for years and years. Where was this decision when I was 13 and everyone had braces?

So for the last few months of my senior year of high school and then through the first two years of college I wore braces. So hear I am in college, 17 years old, looking 15 at best, and I have braces. Is anyone shocked that the boys didn't come in flocks? Do you know how difficult it is to say "Plautz" with braces on? I wore braces for two year. In March of 2000, 10 years ago this month, the braces came off and I received a retainer. The doctor told me to wear it everyday, all day (except meal times) for something like six months. Did he seriously think that was going to happen?

I tried wearing the retainer for about two days and decided that it wasn't working for me. I finally was free of the mandatory metal mouth and I wasn't going back. Well at least during the day. I dutifully wore my retainer every night, and I have continued to wear it most every night for the last 10 years. Now I'm trying to decide if I should keep wearing it. Has ten years been long enough? Should I give it five more years? Should I have a new retainer made? Should I have it plated in 14kt gold and made into a keepsake pendant for only $300? Decisions, decisions.

5 Validations:

Allison said...

Nice! I have retainers also, and I wear them maybe once a week at the most. I usually go a couple of weeks in between wearings, though. My younger brother and sister haven't worn theirs in years (I think they lost them,) and I can tell a difference. So...have fun deciding!

melissa said...

Definitely make it into a pendant. $300 is a small price to pay for such a keepsake. You can pass it on to Amelia when she gets married (as her "something old").

Catherine said...

I'm pretty sure 10 years is enough, but if you're like me then there's something cool about ratainers. Maybe because I never got, well, had to wear one. I'm pretty sure you validated Mom and Dad's purchase of it. Maybe give it back to them as a thank you.


kenzie said...

If you're even asking, then you're probably lucky enough to not have to continue wearing it. If I don't wear mine, my teeth move. And my retainer is discusting! Definitely time to bronze it.

Dr Martin said...

Once your braces have been removed and you have beautiful, well aligned teeth, you will need to wear retainers to keep them that way. At first, you will be asked to wear your retainers all the time, except when eating and brushing your teeth. After one year, when your teeth have had adequate time to stabilize, your will be instructed to wear your retainers at night only.
Orthodontist San Diego