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One Year Braceversary

May 21, 2012
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It was a year ago two days ago that I started a new and painful journey.  I got braces.  Again.  I had braces for three years from 12-14, like most people.  My regular dentist handled my braces, rather than an orthodontist.  That was problem #1.  Problem #2 was he took them off a little early because my family was moving cross country.  Problem #3 was he never gave me a retainer of any kind.  Once my wisdom teeth pushed in, my teeth were crooked again and my bite was way off.  My bite caused problems, like jaw clenching, uneven wear on my teeth and tension headaches.

My teeth didn’t look too bad cosmetically.  I have pretty decent teeth actually.  They’re shaped nicely and well-proportioned.  But I did hate my smile because I was hyper aware of the imperfections.  My canines stuck out and because they happen to be pretty pointy, I felt a little vampiresque.  They felt like big white fang-y chicklets sticking out.  It’s not easy to tell in pictures (and I learned what angles to smile from to minimize the faults in my teeth).

It was a big decision, a big $3500 decision.  I got tired of looking at my mom’s and my sister’s and my brother’s nice smiles and feeling like I was the wonky-toothed kid adopted from the UK.

I got ceramic uppers and metal lowers (that means the top brackets are clear and less noticeable).  Fun fact!  They don’t do ceramic on the bottom because somehow they are harder than metal and there’s a risk of breaking your upper teeth when biting down on the ceramic brackets.

My brackets are not self-ligating, which means I have bands holding the wires on.  In some cases, I also have “power chains” and “wire ties” keeping it all tight. (There is a lot of lingo that goes with orthodontia.)  I’ve had to wear elastics from my back bottom molars to my top canines for about six months.  The packages of elastics are labeled with animals for some reason.  I started with Sea Lion strength and now I’m on Galapagos Giant Tortoise.  The elastics aren’t so bad and they’ve corrected my bite a lot.  My teeth touch now!  Imagine that!

 

The weirdest side effect has been this:  I used to have dreams regularly that my teeth were falling out.  At least twice a month, my teeth would break, crumble, or decay.  I’d wake up checking my mouth for blood.  I have heard this is a common recurring dream, like falling or going to school naked.  What’s interesting is that I haven’t had that dream in a year.

The other thing that surprised me is that the teeth I thought were out of line and needed to be pulled back were actually in the right place. The rest of my teeth needed to be pulled out to meet them.  So my smile is much bigger and broader now, and that’s nice.  It changed my face a little.  And adjusting my jaw changed my profile.  All for the better.

I was told 24 months when I was braced.  My orthodontist is unwavering in her refusal to update me on projected de-brace dates.  One day, I’ll go in and she’ll just say “We’re taking them off next time!”  That’s fine, I just assume it’ll take another year and be pleasantly surprised when it’s less.  I think I’m getting close.  There’s been talk of filing a few teeth down and some minor tweaks, but my teeth are straight and my bite is aligned, and it’s all confirmed by recent x-rays.

It’s been worth it.  I like my straight smile with braces better than my crooked smile without them.  So finally seeing my straight, de-braced smile will be pretty exciting.

Note:  I previously stated, and it’s true, that I dislike discussing medical issues.  The only reason I occasionally discuss my braces (i.e. this is the second time in a year) is because when I was debating whether to get braces, I read a lot of blogs and message boards about it and it helped me make the decision.  I would encourage any Snaggletooth to go for it. 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. saycheeseworld permalink
    May 24, 2012 4:50 pm

    I know *exactly* what you mean when it comes to angling your face in pictures to downplay the imperfections. I’m happy to see that you’re pleased with your decision and the results to date. Your teeth are looking great!

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