I got my braces (well, most of them!) this past Monday. Clear on the front top six teeth, metal on the sides and bottom teeth. They didn't put brackets on my back molars yet, since those have crowns and need to be prepared differently; I go back to have those braced on September 18th.
It wasn't too bad getting the braces installed; no more uncomfortable than a teeth cleaning, which I'd just been through a week earlier. The only uncomfortable part was when the technician had to pull off a metal bracket and place it differently, per the orthodontist's instructions. They really yank those things off! Then they have to grind the adhesive off with an instrument that sounds eerily reminiscent of a dentist's drill, a sound that instills fear in my heart! It was a little painful and has me dreading the day I have to get all the brackets and glue taken off at once. Owie!
Dr. Ogden, my orthodontist, couldn't have been any kinder or gentler and further confirmed for me that I made an excellent choice.
With my normal smile, the bottom metal braces really don't show much, so I'm okay with how they look. In fact, Barry says I look younger, so I'll take it!
My teeth were fairly sore the first few days, but nothing a Tylenol or Ibuprofen couldn't handle. I have a list of forbidden foods, but nothing I'm not already used to after breaking my jaw. Mostly I have to avoid anything too hard, like bagels, nuts, pizza crust, baguettes, apples, corn on the cob, etc.), chewy, or sticky, like caramels. No popcorn or chewing gum, which is probably more difficult for teens in braces than for me. I had already been cutting a lot of food up small to eat from my jaw being a bit more vulnerable to problems during the healing phase, so I'm still doing that when necessary.
My oral hygiene routine takes up even more of my day now. Here's what was in my "swag bag" from the orthodontist:
I have to brush my teeth a minimum of three times daily with a small, super soft brush, each time with toothpaste first, then with plain water to make sure I can see any remaining debris around my brackets. I can't use whitening toothpaste because it might give me two-toned teeth when the brackets are removed, so I had to shop for plain Colgate and Sensodyne, harder and harder to find as most toothpastes do have whitening ingredients now. I use a anti-plaque mouth rinse twice a day and rinse with water after any snacks when I can't brush immediately.
I have to use special orthodontic flossers that fit in behind the wires, and these are not easy to find! The orthodontist's office gave me three to start with, but I couldn't find any more locally so had to order more online. The typical type they sell in drugstores, I discovered after purchasing some at Walgreens, don't fit under the wires.
See the difference in the diameter of the lower "arm" in the Platypus flossers (left) vs the standard ones for folks without braces (right)? The skinny "arm" allows getting these things under the wires of your braces. Ah, the things you learn!
So this is going to be my life for the next 8 to 14 months. In the meantime, I promise my next post will be about our RV and our long-underway (but finally finished!) bedroom redo. Stay tuned!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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