I finally got my braces removed on November 27, 2013!
It was a bit anticlimactic, though. After two years of ugliness and torture, my teeth didn't really look too much different from when I started. I looked back through my old Facebook pictures, wedding photos, and other images stored on my computer, and my teeth always looked passably straight. Now, with my newly-renovated mouth, my smile looks no different from before.
Nobody even noticed.
The whole process started that morning, when I was escorted into the "private suite" where I had first gotten braced in 2011. I sat in the chair, and the orthodontist assistant started to crimp the metal brackets on the lower arch. It hurt, although she had assured me it wouldn't. Soon enough, though, all 13 brackets were off and my bottom teeth felt rough from the leftover adhesive. The orthodontist then came in to remove the ceramic brackets from my upper arch. He used a little drill to break the adhesive around each bracket and then used the same little crimper/pliers to pop those brackets off. Then, he buffed off the adhesive, and left the assistant to polish my teeth and continue on with the rest of the process. She mixed up the same gloopy molding compound to make an impression of my upper and lower arches, sent those off to their in-house lab, and had me go to the front of the office so she could take photos of my teeth. While there, I had another Panorex x-ray done, and then she took a bevy of pictures. Then, I was told that my retainer would be ready that day because they create their Essix molded plastic retainers in-house. However, since I live 20 miles from the orthodontist's office, I was given the option of either waiting in the city until they were done, or having the orthodontist assistant drop them off at my home (she lives halfway between the two locations).
After my appointment, my husband took me out to eat at my favorite restaurant, and then we bummed around until my retainers were ready to be picked up. I put those things in right away and had to learn how to talk with a mouthful of plastic. I have to wear the retainers 24 hours a day, every day for a month (except for eating), and then back off to just wearing them at night for 12 hours.
I'm not really happy with the results. One of my canine teeth appears to have died during treatment, as it turned a noticeable grey at some point within the past 2 years. I believe it's because when the premolar was being derotated, both it and the canine tilted so much that their roots were starting to press through the bone. Both teeth became severely sensitive to cold, to the point where I couldn't even breathe over them without pain. The orthodontist put an adjustment in the wire to tilt them back, but I think the damage had already been done. They don't hurt anymore, but the grey tooth barely responds to any stimulus. I'm $5,500 poorer and look no different. *sigh*