My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Kathy from California

This website has been so helpful to me. After reading a lot of the posts and posting my own questions, I decided to proceed with orthodontic treatment.

I knew I wasn't happy with the 5 mm overjet (protrusion) of my upper front teeth. After going to 4 consultations, some said similar things, some said I needed extractions and one said I didn't need orthodontic treatment. I initially begin going for orthodontic consultations in August 2005. It was a difficult decision for me because I'm in my 40's and the thought of wearing braces made me a little nervous - due to the visibility of the braces. Three of the four orthodontists said he would know more after I had my records appt. (X-Rays, photos of my teeth and impressions of my teeth).

I decided to proceed with the records appointment at the orthodontist that I felt most comfortable with (personality and knowledge and I also knew a couple people that had gone to this orthodontist and their teeth look great. I knew other people that had gone to the other orthodontists I had consultations with but I just didn't feel comfortable with them). I was able to get the records done right after my consultation appt. I made a follow-up appointment after my orthodontist had reviewed my records.

My orthodontist had initially said I would need 2 teeth extracted, I had a 5 mm overjet, crossbite on one side and some very minor adjustments that he could do if I proceeded with getting braces. He said otherwise, my teeth were very well aligned. At the review of my records appointment, he concluded that I would not need teeth extracted (good news!) but I would need an expander to correct my crossbite then braces to reduce my overjet and correct a few minor things. I thought my teeth looked okay until I saw the X-Rays, photos of my teeth and the impressions of my teeth - my teeth didn't look that great! This was on my mind when I was trying to make my decision - my thought was it was now or never. I knew if I didn't proceed with orthodontic treatment now, it would be on my mind forever, probably telling myself that if I had proceeded with orthodontic treatment, I wouldn't still be thinking about it years later and would have had my orthodontic treatment all done and over with. When I had went in for my evaluation appt., I was mainly concerned about my overjet and didn't know much about crossbites, expanders, etc. After thinking about it for a few months I decided to proceed with orthodontic treatment.

I got my expander in January 2006 and braces were placed on my upper teeth on 5/19/06. The placement of the braces went so smoothly. The orthodontic assistant placed the lip retractors in, placed a suction tube in my mouth and asked me to bite down on it - this was to keep my mouth dry, cleaned my teeth, brushed something on it, then placed the glue on the brackets and placed them on my teeth. My orthodontist then came over moved the brackets in the appropriate place, then the assistant used the device to glue the brackets on my teeth. I never tasted any of the items used to prepare my teeth for getting the brackets, as some people have mentioned when they got their braces placed. The assistant then said I could go and rinse my mouth, I didn't look in the mirror because I was afraid of how I would look with braces.

The assistant then placed the arch wire in, then the ligatures - I chose a color that blended in with my brackets. After she was done, she gave me a mirror and it looked fine - not too visible. Both orthodontists and all of their assistants and support staff are so kind and I know this has made my orthodontic treatment kind of fun and a great learning experience. Their kindness is very important to me but may not be important to others, but I know this is what is making my orthodontic treatment easier than I initially anticipated when I was initially told I needed braces. They always take the time to answer all of my questions which is so helpful to me. My orthodontist informed me at the consultation appt.that if he can't correct my bite with just the upper braces then I will need lower braces which was fine with me because I want my teeth to look the best they can (I will know in about 4 months if I will need the lower braces). My orthodontic treatment will be about 20 months, including the time in the expander then retainers for life.

At the time I was getting braces, there were two other adults getting their braces placed so I just felt like we were all going through the same thing at the same time.

I am so happy I made the decision to proceed with orthodontic treatment. I had chosen the clear brackets for my upper teeth. I know people will know that I have braces but I didn't want them to be too noticeable. I know in a few months it won't even matter to me of whether I had metal or clear brackets.

I still haven't had any pain/discomfort after getting the braces and have been able to eat most of my usual foods. I just cut up the meat a bit smaller and avoiding hard items such as raw vegetables, I can prepare my vegetables another way. My mouth does feel a bit different but I just find an area that will be comfortable to chew on and chew on that side. I haven't had to take any Advil/pain relief during my orthodontic treatment. I do expect some discomfort and hope it continues to go as smoothly as it already has. Discomfort is usually temporary and I'm sure I will be able to deal with that.

I enjoy my appointments at the orthodontist - there are not too many people that will say that.

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