My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Mandy from Ontario, Canada

I grew up in the states. When I was younger, I didn't go to the dentist until I was 14 years old. My parents couldn't afford it. When I finally did go to the dentist, it was mentioned that I needed braces. We scheduled a consultation with the orthodontist. The day before my appointment, my dad was laid off. That was as far as things went as a kid.

I moved to Ontario, Canada when I was 18. At the age of 22 I went to the dentist for a teeth cleaning. They told me that my teeth would fall out in twenty years if I didn't get braces. The first step was getting my wisdom teeth out. My mouth was too small for all of the teeth that was in it. So I was put to sleep and all of my wisdom teeth were cut out.

In 2002 I had an orthodontist consultation and decided to go ahead with the braces. Then I got pregnant. The whole plan was put off until after the baby was born.

Finally October 2004 the bottom braces were put on. The top braces didn't go on yet because I needed the top jaw widened. Since I was over the age of 21, it was too late to widen without surgery. December 24, 2004 I had top jaw surgery to widen my palate. An expander was placed in the roof of my mouth. I had to turn the key every day to widen my top jaw. I felt like a robot tightening myself! I recovered from that surgery and in February 2005 the top braces were put on. After the surgery, there was quite a gap in my front two teeth. I felt hideous! I hated going out in public. Eventually the gap closed and I was starting to look normal.

After the widening and teeth straightening, I developed an under bite. I then had to have another surgery. July 2006 I had to have my top jaw moved forward. This was more extensive than my first surgery. The first surgery was a day surgery. It was done and I was out within hours. This surgery, however, had me stay overnight. I was heavily sedated and I honestly can't remember if I was in the hospital one or two nights. I do know that I looked awful! I felt and looked like I had been in a bad car wreck. Of course it was on the hottest day of the year when we left the hospital to drive one and a half hours home.

It took about six weeks to recover from that surgery. I was on a lot of pain medicines and a restricted diet. At first it was liquid then I gradually moved to normal foods throughout the six weeks. The end result, though, was a nicer bite and it also opened my airways. Ever since it has been easier to breathe. My husband tells me I don't snore anymore and I have noticed I am no longer a mouth breather.

In less than two months my braces are scheduled to come off. I think I will miss them. They have become a part of me. I like having the different colors. And I don't have to worry about throwing away my braces like with a retainer. I am thoroughly pleased with the end results. I am happy that I went through it all. It has gained me some self confidence. I have had people not know who I was because it changed my bone structure a bit. I thank Dr. Redigonda and Dr. Frydman for all of there help with my successful braces journey!

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