My dentist had suggested that I may want to look into braces about 5 years ago as my bottom teeth were showing a lot of crowding, and my bite was starting to cave inward a bit. At first I shrugged off his suggestion asking myself why would someone in their 40’s want to get braces for dog sake.
A few teeth cleanings later, with the same hygienist, when she remarked what great shape my teeth were in. They were easy to clean and so healthy. It was an epiphany of sorts when I asked her if I would have all of my teeth until I died. She nodded, and said, “For sure you will. They are so strong and healthy. It is too bad that your bite is changing. That may affect things down the road.” When my dentist came in a few minutes later, we talked more about braces and he told me how he had had them recently, and that his orthodontist had been excellent for him and that he would strongly recommend her. He gave me her business card that day.
Within a couple of days, I went to see her for the ‘free’ consult and this was the first set of pics that they took:
Not the greatest portraits ever taken for sure, but you can see how the bite was changing (bending inward) from the overcrowding of the bottom teeth. After a short discussion with a variety of people at the ortho’s office, I decided to go for it! On April 19, 2013 I sat in the ortho chair for an hour, while they attached a lot of metal to my teeth. Once all of the brackets were in place, a thin wire would be strung through the brackets and the braces would be deemed to be pulling my teeth in to better placement. Every 4 to 6 weeks, this wire would be changed for a thicker gauge and my teeth would ache for a few more days until they became used to it, again.
To say that I underestimated the task at hand, estimated to be for one full year, would be a gross understatement. I had no idea how often one actually eats, and what factors influence when and what one eats, and how many tooth care products one would have to carry at any given time to be somewhat able to function in social settings. It was a huge commitment…and frankly one for which I was very ill-prepared. After the first 4 months, I had lost 8 pounds, as I tried to maintain a very active lifestyle with a convenient diet. One beautiful summer afternoon I walked in to Starbucks and asked them what their highest calorie drink was so that I could drink some calories without the ensuant bid to find a place to brush and floss. You know, I was on my way to the beach. I am sure that they don’t get asked that question often. It was a Caramel Chocolate Frappucino of some sort, fyi (600 calories).
Needless to say, I sucked it up, and bitched and moaned and realized that I had so much to be thankful for, and that this pain all would soon end, and I persevered. I brushed, and water picked, and flossed, and tooth picked, and chose my times to eat, and didn’t nibble much. I experienced kissing as though my lips were so far removed from my teeth that I didn’t feel natural in my own skin. I got better at it though. Practice makes perfect. It was an unsuspected, or perhaps, unwanted hurdle that I fought hard to overcome. I mean, after all, kissing is an art, right? One that I feel that I had honed over the years. Two steps forward, one step back, it was still progress.
With one month left in my treatment plan, little tiny elastic bands were introduced. Oh joy…at first I could open my mouth about an inch without feeling the elastics do their job, and 4 weeks later, I could open my mouth about a half inch. If I yawned or sneezed, the elastics broke. To say that these were annoying and uncomfortable would once again NOT truly convey they depth and breadth of their annoying qualities.
But hey, it is done now. Today marked the end. I made a couple videos today – before and after and to illustrate what went on. Today, the pain of the past month (especially) is still fresh in my mind and while I know that with a little time, my memory will diminish the uncomfortable aspect of the last few months, and I know that it will have been worth it. Whew. Done. Finito. Progress. Namaste.