Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I don't wanna...

...wear my retainers ANY MORE. I'm posting about them because I'm hoping someone (or multiple people) will tell me I don't need to wear them anymore, but David says that won't happen. He says I'm just looking for someone else to blame if I stop wearing my retainers and my teeth move. Are you feeling brave?

I had a large overbite as a little girl, and my parents wisely (and generously) decided to invest in some orthodontia for me. I started with a few brackets and bands in the fifth grade and advanced to a full mouth of metal, complete with rubber bands pulling my jaws together, and a headgear to wear at night. Four years later I experienced a blessed release from all that headache (literally and figuratively).

But the braces were immediately replaced with these clear plastic retainers. At first I wore them all the time. Then, months later, the requirements decreased to night-time wearing. As high school graduation approached, I was wearing them every other night. In college I went down to every three days, then every four, and so on. Now I have to wear them one night every week or so or my teeth will hurt intensely the next time I put them in.

I used to wonder when I could stop wearing them. After ten years? When I got married? Here I am, 10 months married and 14 years into wearing retainers (and they've only been replaced once due to cracking). Has the time finally come?

Why do I hesitate? Because I've seen how teeth can shift back to their "natural" positions even after years of orthodontia. And I'm afraid of that because many people consider my smile my best feature. Is this vain reasoning? I don't want to care so much about my physical appearance. I also want to make a choice out of gratitude to God for the gift of a smile and to my parents for the sacrifice they made to enhance this gift.

In the end, I will probably have to continue my retainer regimen as a practice of obedience and self-denial. I should probably wear them until they break. And no, I will not hasten their end . . . not on purpose, anyway. ;)


Anonymous said...
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WOOD said...

I stopped wearing my retainer a LONG time ago... and my bottom teeth did get crooked again. However, for my brother, the orthodontist glued in a permanent retainer on his bottom teeth. So my brother never has to think about it. I wonder why he didn't do that for me. We saw the same orthodontist at the same time.

Diane said...

Mom says: wear your retainers! Remember what my teeth look like now :(

Devin Rose said...

In 8th grade, I had braces, too, and rubber bands and spacers and all that heavy metal gear.

I was told to wear my retainer for an indefinite period of time. I eventually stopped (like 14 years ago), and though my teeth have shifted some, they still look good, the benefits of the braces were not lost because I quite wearing the retainer.

Here's the other good news: You are already married, so you don't need to worry about your teeth shifting a little! That's part of my reasoning anyway.

Lillian said...


I had braces for fours years, rubberbands and headgear. I wasn't given a retainer but did get an occlusoguide to wear at night. It looks like a plastic mouthpiece football players wear.

Anyways, I stopped wearing it back in college. My braces were taken off in 7th grade.

No teeth have shifted and my smile still gets lots of compliments.

I stopped using it because I lost it. So permission is granted if you want it. ;-)