My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Jessica from New York


I had wanted and needed braces for a very long time, but as the story goes my parents couldn't afford it. The last 2 years I have really been researching and trying to budget getting braces. I had a consultation last May and it took almost a year to finally make the decision to go through with it. So, on April 6th I went in for my X-rays, impression molds, and pictures. I thought I was going to get the separators at that time, but it turns out I didn't need them (Thank Goodness, since I hear they are quite painful.) A week later I went in for the actual braces.

Well let me tell you, it was not fun since I had the cheek expanders in for over an hour along with the suction drying out my mouth so they could bond the brackets on the surface of my teeth. But that was not before they put this really sour stuff on my teeth (etchant - I think they called it) to roughen the surface for better bonding. It definitely felt weird with brackets on my teeth once they were finished, but I didn't feel any pain... That is, until later that night. Ouch! Everything I did hurt -- talking, drinking water, you name it! The next day was worse. It felt like my teeth were about to fall out of my head (some more than others.) And the worst part is that I was so hungry and all I could get down were milkshakes (which I highly recommend - the cold really soothed my gums.) I don't think I was able to fully bite down for at least 3 days.

Now, it's a week and a half later and it's really not so bad. I'm able to eat just about anything now without it hurting, but I do have a hard time biting into things - like sandwiches and pizza. Everything has to be bite size. I haven't really experienced any pain with them rubbing against my lips, except in one spot on my back molar. I have the ceramic braces, but on the molars they are metal and the one side keeps digging into my cheek. That's not too bad though, I haven't even had to use the wax. What's really strange is that I can't see any changes yet, but I can feel it. Just about every morning I feel like I have to re-adjust my bite because my teeth have moved. I'm not done yet, in a few months I'll have to get the lower ones put on so I get to go through this all over again.

As far as being self-conscious goes: I was really worried about that the first couple days. But since I'm back at work and everyone has either not even noticed yet or told me their personal experiences with them, it's not so bad. I still feel a bit awkward smiling, but I sometimes forget they are even on. My advice to anyone thinking about braces - 1) Ask as many questions as you need to. No question is too stupid. 2) Keep Tylenol and Advil handy at all times and 3) Be happy with your decision. It hurts, but it will pay off in the end (...well hopefully...I'm not there yet ;-)

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