I’m pretty impressed by all
the positive “First Day” stories. I decided to get braces at
the ripe old age of 57 because it would be nice to have
straight teeth and one of my best friends is an
orthodontist. He wanted to know what the experience felt
like (physically and emotionally) for patients so that he
could find ways to improve his practice.
I have to say that it is not so
much having the braces as getting them that was a source of
discomfort for me. My head was way back which restricted my
nasal passage and I had trouble breathing with all the apparatus
in my mouth. I got braces that are similar to Damon but which
don’t stick out as far (called Smart Braces). The procedure that
was used to put them on is fairly new and allowed them to glue
all the brackets on at once instead of individually. I was also
a guinea pig for a new gluing procedure for gold crowns that
would allow the bracket to be glued directly on the crown.
The most memorable moment
(beyond the breathing discomfort in the chair) of the first day
was trying to eat an egg salad sandwich. Whoa! That was a
mistake! Egg salad went everywhere but down my throat and it
took nearly 15 minutes to clean it out of the wires and
brackets. I nearly cried thinking “I can’t do this for two
years.” I’m writing this on day 6 and things are going much
better. I’ve lost two brackets (attributable to being a guinea
pig for my friend’s glue experiment) but I’ve only had minor
pain that a few Ibuprofens pretty much handle. My lips are sore.
I’ve used a fair amount of wax and ordered a couple of types of
lip protectors to try out until I get a callous or two built up.
Eating is getting better. My friend assures me that “something”
happens in the second or third week and people learn to eat
without all the mess. I seem to be progressing toward this
without having to repress the gag reflex and swallow everything
whole. It would be nice if my mommy was around to mash my food
like she did when I was three or four. Cleaning is still a pain
but becoming less so.
I’d like to see some weight
loss but I’m not sure that will happen – I seem to be pretty
innovative at finding food I can eat. It looks like I’m more
likely to end up with a lean, mean tongue than a lean, mean
body. Oh well – my wife will be happy. One thing that surprised
me with braces is discovering how asymmetrical my teeth are in
relation to my cheeks. I never noticed that the left side was
leaning out and the right side leaning in. All I saw was the
crowding in front. I wonder if my face will feel crooked when my
teeth are finally straight? That would be weird! The other thing
is that it is really hard to smile with braces on (at least so
far). I’m kind of proud of the braces – with my iPod and a
backward baseball cap I feel pretty young and rebellious. All I
need is a piercing or two and a tattoo to be cool (not!).
Anyway, it would be nice to smile and show them off. But then my
lip catches and I have to peel it back over the brackets.
I guess that was more of a
first week story. The moral seems to be that it helps to
distract yourself, focus on what you do appreciate (thank God
for soup) and imagine how beautiful you will be in your sixties!
Also, it is fun to annoy your orthodontist. I am working on
becoming his “new worst patient”! Maybe you could add a section
on “Fun Ways to Get Even with Your Orthodontist” to this
(Editor's note: Ha ha, that
would be a fun "tongue-in-cheek" thread for the message board!)