My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Silke from Sydney, Australia

I've always had a nice smile and never ever thought I would need braces. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would be wearing braces at the age of 36. Yet here I am day 4 with my braces on and so far so good. The reason I have them is because I had a tooth pulled out (top left, second from the back molar) around June last year. It had been giving me heaps of trouble and I'd had root canal on it and was finally told the only way to save the tooth was surgery to remove the infection around the root. I opted to have the tooth extracted, thinking I would get an implant to fill the gap.

My dentist gave me the referral to go have the implant. I made some enquiries and was stunned to learn the cost and seeming complexity of getting an implant.

I then changed dentists thanks to my mum, and my new dentist, genius that he is, suggested for me to see this orthodontist he knows who may be able to move my two upper back teeth over to fill the gap! I was flabbergasted..I would never have thought that was possible.

So off I trotted to the orthodontist. He is a young man with enormous passion for his craft who has himself worn braces quite recently. I was immediately impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of the staff at the clinic. I had 2 appointments with him before going ahead with getting the braces on. He sent me a very detailed report with all the photos of my jaw and teeth. It turns out I have a slight under bite and a couple of my teeth are twisted in their sockets. I also grind my teeth at night and get headaches quite frequently. I am hoping the braces will help to alleviate these problems.

So my "braces on" appointment was last Friday at 3pm. I swear the lead up was worse than the actual getting of the braces! I had visions of me looking like a freak and a dork and talking funny. None of these things have eventuated. I have clear brackets on the top and silver ones on the bottom with baby blue and pink ligatures). The initial feeling was like Frankenstein with this huge contraption in my mouth. My orthodontist assured me I still looked the same on the outside. I didn't believe him until I got home and had a good old squizz in the mirror.

I had to agree with him. With my mouth closed I still look like the same old me. Even when I smile it's really only the upper teeth that show and my mum reckons they look good!

I was not too impressed when 2 brackets fell off my left back upper and lower teeth the first night whilst I attempted to eat tuna pasta. I then had a wire poking me which I couldn't cut myself so had to go to the dentist the next morning to have it trimmed because my ortho isn't there on Saturdays. I woke up on Saturday with a monster headache and it pretty much stayed all day. I took painkillers and slept and ate soup and smoothies. By that evening the headache had gone and the next day I felt great. My teeth and jaw ached a fair bit but didn't stop me going out and about.

Yesterday I went back to the ortho to get the brackets fixed but he decided to leave them off until my next appointment. He said the back teeth are the most difficult to reach and to set the brackets onto, so we'll wait until the other teeth move forward a little.

My main discomfort comes from my cut up cheeks. I've been told these will heal and form callouses. I can't wait for that. In the meantime the wax is helping. Flossing is a pain but I'm getting used to it and the feeling of having food jammed all over my gums and teeth when I eat is a worry. Will I ever be able to eat out again?

Here's a tip my ortho told me yesterday; try chewing soft foods even when your teeth hurt and feel loose. He said chewing stimulates the blood flow and helps the process along...a bit like when a baby is teething and chewing on rusks helps the pain (I'm not suggesting we chew on rusks! YOUCH). The gentle chewing actually eases the pain after a while. I was on the blender diet (yummy fruit smoothies and yummy, healthy homemade veggie soups) for two days but now I am venturing to cut up apples and soft bread with avocado. There's loads of options and it's fun! I feel great. It's been like I've been on a detox without even trying.

I'm single so I also have concerns about dating with braces. My friends assure me I look great and that the braces actually bring out my smile. I do look younger than my years and I think the braces make me look even younger. They'll be on for 18 months to 2 years to close the 1cm gap and fix the other things. It's exciting to think I'll have all my own teeth looking better than ever. I'm really trying to stay in the moment and enjoy the process.

This site has been so helpful and reassuring. Thank you so much. Good luck to all my fellow metal mouths. You're all beautiful! :)

I've decided my next ligiture colours will be the all the colours of a rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. :)

Blessings to you all.

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