Stories from Readers

life with braces

Mother of 4 in Braces: My Experience
by Lisa in Illinois

"I'm a 35 year old women with 4 kids....2 are currently in braces. I decided to finally get them put on about a month ago. I went to the dentist seeking the instant gratification of veneers, but after I had the procedure explained to me, I was mortified at what they do to your teeth in order to put the veneers on! So, I went to the orthodontist and was all excited about what the future would hold for me with my own teeth nice and straight and since the kids were doing it and didn't seem to have a problem--I thought, why not me?

"Had the x-rays, got my before picture taken and they put the spacers in--no problem there. Later the next day--it felt like I had a huge piece of steak stuck in-between my teeth and I couldn't get it out! Just a little discomfort and nothing Advil couldn't help. I could still eat but I couldn't floss where the spacers were on. 

"A week later--I go in for the braces...full of anticipation and curiosity. I watched my kids get theirs on and they didn't seem to have any problems at all--just a little tenderness the first 2 days so I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect. Well, it took 2 different people to try to take the spacers out--ouch. Getting fit for the bands was no picnic either. I had to have a palette expander put in, so that was the first thing that was glued into my mouth and I didn't like that one bit---where on earth are you supposed to keep your tongue and saliva when some big 'ol thing is on the roof of your mouth?

"Once the braces were on I went to rinse and the minute I got up, I felt like my mouth weighed an extra 5 pounds! It was the strangest feeling. My lips felt huge and if I leaned forward to talk--I would drool. Yucko!! Driving out of the parking lot I wanted to call my parents and give them a piece of my mind and sound off about not getting them on when I was a teenager!

"I was hungry when I got home and tried to eat a sandwich---which I quickly discovered I couldn't. So, I had to take my mouth full of stuff to the store to buy a ton of soft food! I lost 6 pounds in the first 4 days of getting them on! Who needs Atkins'---just get braces!! Well, a couple days into it my tongue couldn't get used to the expander and it left deep groves in it which were painful, so six days after getting it on I went in and they put some glue on the wires to help ease the pain. It worked, and I turned the appliance key every night. That never really bothered me, because all I felt was a little pressure and I did it at night, so I fell asleep right away and never paid much attention to it.

"After 3 weeks of wearing and turning the expander key, I felt like some of my teeth were loose--so I made an appointment and went in to get things checked out. I found out it was normal and that after doing 26 of the 32 turns that I didn't need to do anymore and that I could get the expander taken out sooner rather than at my next appointment. I was all gung-ho about having it removed so I could talk "normally" and eat without getting food stuck to the roof of my mouth!

"Well, they put me in one of the adult rooms and it was a good thing, because getting the expander out was harder than pushing out my 9lb child!!! I had sweat on my brow, sweat all over my back and tears welling up in my eyes from the pain. It was excruciating!! I felt like I was having a tooth pulled without Novocain! My teeth were so tender and sore. The nurse had to make a mold of my upper palette for a retainer and when the goo hardened it was torture all over again to get it out cause I felt like my teeth were being ripped out! 

"After that, new bands had to be placed on and biting down to get them on put me over the edge and I was in tears! I felt like such a baby crying in the orthodontist's office! I never in my life imagined that it would hurt that bad and I'm so thankful that my husband and I can afford to put them on our kids--they don't seem to have a hard time at all, so I'm no longer against a kid in 3rd grade getting braces on. So, after all that, I have to wear a retainer on the roof of my mouth to keep my palette from moving back to where it just came and I thought I would talk "normal" again after getting the expander taken off....not a chance!!

"I'm not writing to scare adults away from orthodontics--but I feel like nobody truly talks about all that's involved. It's not just a bunch of wires put on and then Ooo-Ahh instant pretty teeth.....we have to go through months of sore mouths and ripped up cheeks and eating soft food.....I can't wait to bite into a taco again!"

Lisa added, a few weeks later...

"As an update---I can finally eat most foods again! Still can't bite into an apple or a sandwich, but I can finally chew without pain! It's just funny, 'cause I didn't realize how quickly teeth move and my bite seems to be different every day! I'm seeing new things when I look in the mirror at the braces closely every other day or so, and it amazes me how orthodontics works! And I'm also amazed at how well wax works!"

Next Story: Why I Got Braces at Age 50

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