Ten days ago I took one giant leap of crazy determination towards a healthier and problem free smile. Adult braces are becoming more and more common, either because as a teen one was not able to get braces or because retainers were not worn correctly and teeth have shifted back to their original position. Mine was neither, my problems began and progressed as an adult.
People have questioned my decision, mostly because the front of my mouth looks perfect. I have always actually liked the placement of my teeth. But YES I do need the braces, this is not me trying to fix problems that don’t exist and this is not a cosmetic thing. Without braces I cannot get implants and without implants I risk losing a bunch of other teeth. I am not even 30 yet…. I cannot risk losing more teeth!
My appointment was at 10am and I was told that I needed roughly 2 hours for banding to take place. The girls went to my mom for the morning which allowed me to focus on me for a bit. It was great!
Is it sore?
The banding process is not sore at all. It is uncomfortable because for a good hour one must wear cheek retractors (a strange looking device that is attached to suction and keeps your cheeks off your teeth while holding your tongue back and continuously getting rid of saliva). It is not comfortable but also not sore.
I think the strangest thing when banding is done is that you cant feel what they are doing while they are working so when you open your mouth, it all feels very normal and then an hour later, when you close it, it EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.
I opted for clear brackets and I’m so glad I did. They are more expensive but as an adult, it really is worth it. I have been warned that the clear ligatures (or elastics) may change colour with certain foods… so curry will make them yellow, red wine will make them purple etc. But, they are also easy to replace and will be replaced at each monthly visit or as necessary.
Teeth are polished, rinsed, cheek retractors are inserted and teeth are dried.
They get to work straight away applying a bonding agent, followed by brackets and then a light is used to set the ‘glue’. I loved seeing how much care my orthodontist took in placing the brackets and making sure that they were exactly where they were meant to be. The cheek retractors are then removed. This feels incredibly odd as the ligatures and wires are not on yet so everything is really rough. But YAY for no more cheek retractor.
The orthodontist then places the arch wires and elastic ligatures. The amount of pressure that you feel on your teeth when this is done is enormous. And it pretty much remains that way until you get used to it.
And that was it. They demonstrated how to floss, gave me a little bag with some essential care information and oral cleaning items, they took a rather large amount of money off my credit card and I left feeling very unsure of myself.
I felt a lot of pressure on the first day and I took my first dose of painkillers at around 3pm but the ‘pain’ that I was feeling was nothing compared to what was coming.
This day was my absolute worst. I was in so much pain! Keatynn had vaccines on the same day so she was miserable and I was parenting solo. I was sore, tired and impatient. It was a difficult day.
While painkillers dull the ache… nothing really takes it away.
Apparently, not everybody experiences this pain… clearly, I do!
Another very sensitive and sore day. It takes me THIRTY MINUTES to clean and floss my teeth every morning and every night. That means that over the next two years, I will be spending roughly 730 hours cleaning my teeth
The very back brackets are cutting me up a little. They have all got hooks on which are rubbing against my cheeks. Ortho wax is my new best friend, although it is a mission to get to those back brackets. Ortho wax is a silicone like substance that you can mould and stick onto the brackets that are hurting.
Finding it difficult to believe that these things are ever going to be comfortable. The ache is better but I am battling to get my lips around the braces. My speech has changed as well as my bite and so everything is feeling a lot out of sorts. Flossing is incredibly painful at the moment and I dread each and every session.
It’s Mother’s Day and I’ve got my family coming around for lunch. I am making gnocchi with a walnut pesto chicken and an angel food cake as they are both delicious AND soft. I can’t chew anything as my teeth are just too sensitive but the continuous ache has now gone.
I have been on a mostly liquid diet until today… this meal made me realise just how difficult it is to eat while still looking presentable – thankfully it was just my very forgiving family.
Dischem and Gum brands of ortho wax are IT! They stick way easier than the brand that the orthodontist gave me. The Dischem brand is difficult to work with in cold weather though and can take a while to soften up.
Excess saliva is normal and usually the result of your brain telling the mouth that braces are food. Dear mouth, they are not food and they will be there for a while… you can stop now.
My teeth are feeling exceptionally loose. Its as if the only thing holding them together is the wire.
This is normal, but definitely not comfortable.
I bought an aqua flosser to take some of the load (and pain) off of flossing (this must be used as an exception rather than rule). I am really disappointed with it and feel that I should have spent the extra money on a waterpik instead.
I popped into the orthodontist this morning as I thought that one of the back wires were poking me. Turns out, it was just the bracket. Nothing can be done and I should continue to use wax.
The ache is completely gone now but the sensitivity it not. Chewing still feels very strange and I am convinced that I will be living off of soup and smoothies for the duration of my orthodontic treatment.
My teeth are still feeling as if they are all going to fall out at once.
My speech is so much better now. I can’t remember what it was like to not have braces. They are comfortable in the sense that I have no more pain (except for when Keatynn accidentally head butts my mouth) but I am still a while away from eating regular food.
Cleaning and flossing has become easier and less painful. It is probably taking half the amount of time than what it did originally.