Yes, just shy of 26 months into my braces as an adult journey for you, I finally have some really good news: an end date!
I consulted with my dentist in early March about whitening and bonding. He was happy with the current positioning of my teeth and wrote up a proposal for the whitening and bonding that I could take to my orthodontist. I’ll be talking more about whitening and bonding in my next update, as I can’t do either until I get my braces off.
A few weeks later, in late March, I went back to the orthodontist. A little confession: at my mid-February appointment, the tech did a completely terrible job stretching the chains over my rubber band brackets. The chain stretched right over all four brackets. The rubber bands wouldn’t stay on at all. The tech and the orthodontist saw the chains. Another tech and the receptionist saw me visibly struggling to put my rubber bands on before I left the office. No one said anything.
So I left the office, figuring it would easier to put them on within the next couple of days. I’ve always had issues with rubber bands popping off, due to poor chain placement. Usually it gets at least a little better a few days after an adjustment. It didn’t. On further inspection at home, it wasn’t hard to see why. So I just left it as is and took a break from the rubber bands for four weeks.
Predictably, the orthodontist did notice I hadn’t been wearing my rubber bands and gave me grief about it. I explained the situation as nicely as I could, reminding them that I’d faithfully worn my rubber bands for 16 weeks prior to this period when they weren’t popping off constantly. Rubber bands are the worst. If orthodontists want their patients to be good about wearing them, they need to make sure the bands won’t pop off all the time.
Yes, I could have made it a priority to get it fixed. I have made it a priority to schedule extra appointments when there have been pressing issues, such as a poking wire and a broken bracket. I didn’t see this issue as a priority. It’s not my responsibility to make sure that the orthodontic staff is doing their jobs properly.
Honestly, the four week break from wearing rubber bands was the best thing ever at this point in my adult braces journey. I don’t think I would have shown up at my late March appointment and had them clear me for removal in two weeks or something, even if I’d worn them that entire month prior. I’ve watched tons of people wrap up their braces journey in the past two years, and I’ve never seen anyone receive that sort of time frame.
Apparently the staff did get the message about needing to do a better job checking the chain, though. The past month has been the best month with rubber bands yet. They haven’t popped off once. Not once. It’s seriously ridiculous how much of a difference they were able to make. Why couldn’t they do this all along without having to be told explicitly? As such, wearing them hasn’t been nearly as bad as it was for the first 16 weeks. And with an end date at last, I’ve been more motivated than ever to wear them consistently.
I share so much about the rubber bands as a message to both orthodontic patients and staff. Patients, if your rubber bands keep popping off, tell the orthodontic staff. They should be able to position your chains, so the rubber bands stay put. Staff, make it a priority to give your patients the best experience possible wearing rubber bands, so they’re motivated to stick with them.
The all-clear and last adjustment
With all that being said, the orthodontist still gave me the all-clear to come back in four weeks for a final set of chains and in six weeks to get the braces taken off and do x-rays and retainer impressions and fitting. I had the appointment for the final set of chains this week. Everything looked good, so I’m still on track to get them off in two weeks.
Over the next month, I’ll have the following appointments to wrap up my stint with braces and the work I’m having done immediately following it.
- Braces removal, x-rays, and retainer impressions and fitting. I’ll be able to pick up my retainers the same day I get my braces off.
- Whitening consult with impressions
- Philips Zoom Whitespeed Whitening
- Bonding to fill in the remaining gaps in my teeth
I’ll be sharing a post with more details about these final steps in late May. Then I’ll have one more post with a few last thoughts about my adult braces journey in June. I’ll also be sharing a post this summer with my best recommendations for what to eat with braces.
To all those who have stuck with me through 2+ years of braces updates, thanks for your support! If you’re just starting or are in the midst of your adult braces journey, I’d love to hear about your experience! Please leave me a comment.