Good bye braces, hello retainer

After a shorter timeline than expected, Namine’s braces have been removed!

Braces removal

The day has finally come! Namine visited the dentist to have her braces removed. When she first got them, it was predicted that she’d have them for at least three years. But in just a little more than half that time, her teeth have been declared fit for removing the braces.

I’m getting ahead of myself a little, though. When Namine goes to the dentist, she takes what her doctors call a pre-med — an antibiotic to protect her from potential infection. Gums tend to bleed at the dentist and, since she has a congenital heart defect, Namine is at greater risk to bacterial infection getting in her blood stream. There are times when Namine has seen the dentist and not needed the pre-med, but when she does they’re supposed to list its requirement in her visit notes and send the prescription to our pharmacy ahead of time. Key word: supposed to.

The pre-med was not listed in her appointment notes, so we thought perhaps it wasn’t required. When we got to the hospital, however, the first thing they did was ask how long ago Namine received her pre-med. Whoops.

Rather than reschedule the appointment — which would have been a whole ordeal — they ordered the pre-med from the hospital pharmacy. Since we’re supposed to give Namine the medicine well enough in advance, we had to wait even longer until she could have the actual braces removed — you know, the whole reason why we were there in the first place.

The braces removal itself, on the other hand, went off without a hitch. Now that she’s free of them, Namine has said that she kind of misses having them. “My teeth feel weird and slimy,” she says. I believe it.

Getting retainers

We weren’t completely done, however. Namine’s mouth needed to be molded for her new retainers, which as a process is always unpleasant. It’s not something completely unknown to her, though, since she had to go through a similar process for the palatal prosthetic and in preparation for her braces. Namine did not enjoy it — in fact, she said that the impression material felt as though it would drip down her throat — but she bore it, knowing that it would soon be over.

Namine’s retainers look far different from mine did when I was young. There is no metal; they simply look like clear, plastic teeth. There are two, one for her upper teeth and one for her lower teeth. We were surprised to learn that Namine does not need to wear them all the time (like I did). Rather, she only needs to wear them overnight. When Namine put them on, she said, “My teeth feel like they’re wrapped in a snug, plastic package!”

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