My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Joanne from New Zealand

I have read other adults experiences on ArchWired over the last couple of days and wish I had discovered your web site months ago!

I have never looked after my teeth as I was never proud of them, they were quite crooked, all slanted inwards and had heaps of fillings as a result of the neglect, which I really regret now. Sometime when I was in my teens my Mum took me to an orthodontist who charged a small fortune, and I ended up with 3 secondary teeth being extracted and a plate with a spring on one upper tooth that I was to wear at night. Proved to be a useless attempt as it moved out at night and back during the day.

I went to a new dentist June 2004 when we moved to a new town and asked about getting a better smile and having that front tooth capped that was way back behind the others. He suggested I could have a consultation with a local orthodontist (NZ$40 - nothing to lose) which I did a couple of weeks later. Turns out that was the single best piece of dental advice I have had in my 44 years! I remember saying to my husband, "well I'll see what he says but there's no way I'd be bothered going through with anything as radical as braces...". However the orthodontist commented that I was a grinder (news to me...) and my top and bottom teeth bore no relationship to each other (not really news to me). He said he could do something for me and that would involve wearing braces for 18-24 months. After discussion with my husband, I decided to go ahead. The cost of NZ$5000 seemed reasonable enough.

My experiences of having the braces put on are just like most of the other stories I've read on this site, the same discomfort and mouth ulcers and that thought over the first few days of "what on earth have I done?". The top braces (clear) had to go on for 3 months before the lower set could even be fitted, and the whole feeling was so tight and altered my bite so radically with each adjustment that eating became a mission. Soft food and anything I could eat with a knife and fork were often the only options. The bottom set were metal and had stainless steel wire ties which were really uncomfortable. However they have now been on for 16 months and the time has gone quite quickly. I had the usual ribbing from friends and relatives who thought I was crazy, but my husband has been a terrific support and I'm thrilled with the results - it has definitely been worth it!

I have become a compulsive tooth cleaner and flosser, and am looking forward to having my teeth whitened when this is all over. Will also have a few fillings replaced/renewed to complete the picture.

The best bonus of all has been the weight loss, I have dropped 10 kgs (about 22 lbs) over the time I have had the braces due to the eating problems and required low sugar diet - best diet I have ever been on!! I am back to the weight I was in my early 20's and have had to buy a whole new wardrobe (bugger!!) And there is no way that weight is ever going back on, my diet has changed for ever.

My next appointment, in 4 weeks time, is for a new set of x-rays and a decision as to whether or not a final new arch wire will be fitted, so I guess the end is nigh.

Thanks to all the others that have posted advice and stories on this site, they are all inspirational. Just wish I had searched for a site on Orthodontics months ago!!

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