My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Jannie from San Francisco, CA

I'm a 30-year woman who grew up in San Francisco and have always had bad teeth as far as I could remember. My teeth were crooked, not really "too" bad had it not been my under bite. I have what dental professionals call a Class III malocclusion. A severe one in fact, that braces alone can not correct the problem. I would eventually need jaw surgery. My condition was detected when I was 10-11 years old, but the ortho suggested that I wait until my jaw is fully grown. Then I revisited the ortho when I was 16, but like many others, my parents did not have the money to pay for braces and surgery. Fast forward to many years later to 2005 in May when I turned 30 years old. This is a pivotal point for me. I knew I needed to fix my teeth and jaw ... it was now or never.

The first initial appointment with the ortho was in June and for the next 3 months I had to make numerous appointments to get the process going. The best news was that I found out that health care provider covered the jaw surgery, which could be in the upwards of 20-30 thousand dollars. X-rays, molds, primary care doctor, oral surgeon, wisdom teeth extraction, etc. It was not until mid-September until I got all my ducks in a row and I was ready for my braces.

September 12, I got spacers put in. My back molars were very tight but the actual insertion of them wasn't too bad. But the worst was yet to come. Those little darn spacers can do so much damage! They made my teeth very sore, and put a lot of pressure on my front teeth. So much pressure that I think some of my teeth started to buckle (or it could be just my imagination). I couldn't bite so I resorted to eating soft foods only. The spacers made my teeth feel like they are decaying. And of course, they feel like food is stuck in between my teeth, waiting for a floss. I was very fortunate that I only had the spacers in for 3 days. I would recommend people to schedule the spacer appt to the brace appt as close as the ortho allows it

September 16, I arrived at 9:30. The ortho told me more in detail of his plan and course of treatment. They finally took the spacers out!! The fitting of the braces was probably the most painful part mainly because my teeth were very sore from the spacers already. When the assistant asked me to bite down, I felt like my teeth could fall out any minute. They ached so much! Yeah, people are right, the sour liquid they put onto the teeth before the brackets went on was disgusting. The rest of the process was fairly painless. I had clear upper and bottom metal. I was glad I was able to witness the entire procedure.

It's already been 3 days since I had my braces put on. For the most part, I am holding up pretty good. My ortho told me that I will feel soreness the day following the braces, but I don't feel anything. I haven't had a need to take Advil so far but I always keep it close by. I do feel moments of tinkliness on my teeth, other than that, not a big deal. The only uncomfortable thing is that the metals (esp. the hooks) scrap against the insides of my mouth and it's quite painful sometimes. I try not to use wax unless absolutely needed because I want my mouth to hurry up and develop the tissues to withstand the scraping. Eating is still a pain, during and after. My teeth are still sore but I am still able to eat noodles, rice, and soft foods. And because I have an under bite, I only chew with my back teeth. As result, a lot of foods get stuck there. Cleaning is a drag but worthwhile.

Tomorrow is my first day back at work and I am nervous how my coworkers will react. I only told 2 people. It will be an interesting day! Please tell other readers that it's NEVER TOO LATE to get braces!

Sorry this story ended up taking so long. I just can't wait until all of this is over! Braces and surgery. By the way, I am to wear braces for 1 year, have surgery, and then still wear braces for another 6-8 months. My ortho said 2 years or less. So I'm hopeful. Can't wait until I get my perfect smile!

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