My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Dawn from Ohio

I, like a lot of you, should have gotten braces when I was a teenager. I can’t blame my parents, they started the process (found a doctor…x-rays…molds…). My first doctor had to close his office in our town due to his mother’s illness, and I wasn’t thrilled by the second doctor. And, it was my senior year of high school. And, I was a lazy teenager. I was also terrified by the ‘horror story’ pictures on the orthodontist’s wall. You know the ones, ‘here’s what happens if you don’t take care of your teeth with braces’, and you see all of these wrecked smiles staring back at you. Well, that did it for me, and I decided not to get them at that time. Can you say idiot?

So now, here I am at 33-years-old, sitting in an orthodontist’s office, preparing for my consultation. I must say, the doctor’s office is quite beautiful, as well as state-of-the-art (I suppose with what these things cost, it ought to be!). The whole process was explained to me in great detail, for which I was grateful. I was presented with my choices…I had hoped to be a candidate for Invisalign, but I wasn’t. I decided against the ceramic ones, only because I may have to give up Chunky Monkey (mmmm…Ben & Jerry’s), but I won’t give up coffee, and I know I don’t want little brown brackets on my teeth! I chose what my treatment coordinator called ‘speed brackets’. They are self-ligating (like Damon brackets), and should shorten my treatment time by about three months. Fortunately, I will also only have to have one tooth extracted, and I had feared it would be quite a few more.

I was able to get an appointment the very next day to get my uppers put on, much to my husband’s surprise, so I took it so I could get this process started. They took a whole-head x-ray, and then sat me down to get my molds done. I was given a menu of about 20 different flavors to make the mold material taste better, and, of course, I chose chocolate (they didn’t have coffee). While uncomfortable, the molds went quite smoothly, and didn’t taste too bad, either. That flavoring really worked! Next, they started preparing my teeth for the application of the brackets. Here come the mouth spreaders! Thanks to this wonderful website, I had already liberally applied my lip balm (Burt’s Bees Honey…best on earth), so my lips didn’t freak out. They put the etching liquid on, rinsed me off, and the next thing I knew, the doctor was in to place the brackets. I had read here how bad that adhesive tastes, so I was really dreading this part. However, they did a fantastic job, because I never even got a hint of that taste in my mouth.

After he placed the brackets, I was sat up, and given mouthwash to rinse with. When I closed my lips, it felt like I had spikes on my teeth. Well, all of the ‘doors’ on the brackets were still open, so they felt even more bizarre than they do now that they’re closed. Next, the arch wire was placed in and the doors were closed. Still feels bizarre, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

I spent the whole first day without using any wax, so I could get a better idea of where my problem spots would be. Fortunately, there are only a couple of spots that are getting really irritated. I recommend some of that peroxide mouth rinse…it does make your mouth feel better.

While I wouldn’t say it feels like I’ve been hit in the mouth with a baseball, I’d say it feels like I got a pretty decent punch in the teeth. I never thought it would hurt to eat oatmeal, but it did yesterday morning. I’m sure it will get better. And these brackets feel huge on my teeth.

I’m not sure yet when I get the bottoms put on, but I’m sure it’ll be just as much fun! The good news is, in 15-18 months, this will all be over, and I’ll have a fabulous smile to show for it! If you’re thinking about it, go for it!

Thanks,, for being such a wonderful resource for any adult thinking about braces. It’s part of what helped me make my decision.

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