I'm free! My braces are history, woohoo! I'm am super happy with my new smile! Unfortunately you'll all have to wait to see it because my main computer broke recently so my webcam is out of commission right now, please don't be mad at me! :o) I promise to post photos as soon as possible, I have a new computer on the way!
I arrived a few minutes early and Jasmin was just finishing writing my name on the white board - "Congratulations Graham, you're getting your braces off!". It has been a very long time coming waiting to finally see my name on that board, I feel like I just graduated grade 8, haha! All was quiet so Jasmin took me in right away. Everyone in the office was commenting on my big day and I was feeling bittersweet about it, hard to believe I have reached this point in my journey after 2 and a half years.
The first step was to put in my permanent retainer wires, one on top and bottom, bonded across the back side of the front 6 teeth. Jasmin used a neat little trick with strings to harness it in place before curing the cement, I wondered how they would do that because the wire is very thin and delicate, easy to drop or bend. The process was much like getting brackets on and went quickly. It feels smooth and bumpy on the back of my teeth now, kind of like peas in a pod. I think I'll be able to get used to it pretty quickly.
And then the fun part, snapping all the brackets off! A couple of the steel ones didn't want to go so she had to use the burr tool around them first and that did the trick. A couple of the ceramic ones shattered and so she had to grind them off with a really awful sounding tool that was like nails on a chalkboard, ick! The rest of the glue came off easily with the burr tool and I only had a few sensitive spots so it was pretty bearable; plus I've had brackets replaced a handful of times so I already knew what to expect.
I could feel myself getting emotional as she was getting close to finished with the burr, and hearing Chasing Cars on the radio didn't help but I managed to keep my composure. She then did a quick polish and it was time for my final rinse before the big reveal!
I took a deep breath, this was my moment! I stood in front of the mirror and let my smile shine! Wow, amazing! They look so huge! My smile finally looks like I want it to and I am feeling great about it! Dr Waese was commenting from across the room saying he wanted free front row tickets to the next movie I'm starring in, ha! Yep, I'll be walking the red carpet at the film festival next year!
Jasmin then went and got my first set of photos from 2005 and we were comparing, amazed at the difference. She then showed me how to floss with the retainers and Dr Waese came over to check my bite with some contact paper, which was all fine.
"Now that we're all done we have a little presentation for you, Graham. Come on over here," Dr Waese motioned. I knew I would get emotional now! Dr Waese blew on a whistle and the whole staff lined up and sang me a song, "You got your braces off today, hurrah, hurrah!" to the tune of The Saints Go Marching In. I lost it, and with tears in my eyes and a shaky voice I said "thank you all so much!" and shook everyone's hand. I knew I would be back next week for new molds but I really didn't want to leave! That office has been my happy place for 2 and a half years. As I walked out the door the tears of joy kept flowing and I decided to just walk home rather than take the subway to give me some time to let it all sink in.
Next week I get new molds taken for my TMJ splint and then the week after that I go back to try it out and make sure it fits.
Today feels better than my birthday, such a personal triumph for me, a long journey that has changed my life. I can't thank my dream team of doctors and technicians enough. Enduring this process has been worth it 1000 times over.
Photos coming as soon as I can get them up. Now time for my first naked lunch!