About 8 years ago, I had to have two of my bottom molars extracted. It was a traumatic and rather awful event and not one that I ever want to go through again! At the time, my dentist told me that there was nothing more to be done, that I would learn to live with the gaps in my mouth and I should just carry on with life as normal.
Unfortunately, I stuck with that dentist for a long time and when I eventually moved across to another, her story was VERY different. By the time I saw Dr Paul, the back of my mouth had changed quite drastically. My back teeth are all tilting and growing in the wrong direction, the top teeth have over-erupted and the lower jaw has lost some of its density which can eventually end up changing your face completely.
In retrospect, I should have had those gaps filled shortly after the extractions took place. But, due to lack of knowledge, I didn’t and now I am facing a long and gruelling treatment plan. Thankfully, I have got an awesome team in place which makes things a little more bearable.
After many months of preparation, doctors visits and planning, this is what is in store:
Step One : takes place in two weeks time. My maxillo-facial surgeon will extract the upper wisdom teeth as well as two pre-molars. Thankfully, this will happen in hospital under general anaesthetic to minimise trauma.
Step Two : one week later banding takes place. Full top and bottom braces are fitted and maintained for two years. This is to correct everything that has gone wrong and ultimately get things ready for implants. In the process, my bite and the odd skew tooth will be corrected. (fun facts: in grade seven I desperately wanted braces with green and purple ligatures because all the cool kids had them : I wanted to be an orthodontist through most of my teen years : if my husband wasn’t so freaked out by colour, I may have considered pink ligatures on my adult braces)
Step Three : Another surgery or two take place to build up the bone and insert anchors for implants. This will happen roughly four months before my braces are removed.
Step Four : Braces are removed, crowns are fitted and routine whitening takes place. …and I end up with a healthy, happy and long lasting smile.
It’s a weird, lengthy and financially exhausting exercise but at the end of the day, this is the only set of teeth I have got. It’s frustrating that the prolonged (orthodontic) side of things could have been avoided if I had known to get implants sooner… but it is what it is. The sooner we start, the sooner it’ll all be over and one day, if our kids need braces, they are going to have one heck of an empathetic mom.
And so, heres to health, clever doctors, medical aid and beautiful smiles.