Hi everyone! I've been reading the site for a while now, and gleening lots of really helpful information both pre/post braces application. Figured it was time say 'hello' and add my story to the pool...as the water looks fine!
I'll begin by explaining my nickname: I am a professional opera singer and I work all over the USA and abroad. Getting braces was a big decision, not only to correct my various bite issues and grinding, but not knowing how it would/could effect my career.
It's been a bit like "The Amazing Case of Benjamin Button" lately for me. Experiencing an adult tonsilectomy (zero fun as lactose intolerant so no ice cream!), and wearing a hawley-style retainer/biteguard for a few years to attempt to correct the grinding. Each new thing seemed to regress my age a few more years, much to my older siblings delight. The teasing still has not stopped. When my dentist suggested I get an orthodontic consult for braces as a 'last resort before implants', I was horrified.
Day of the consult: Lots of poking and prodding, with the doc initially saying she wasn't sure if braces could correct everything. I asked her to contact my dentist while I was in the chair, and consult with him to see what he was considering as correction. After a short while, she returned to say that after seeing some Xrays and moulds, she's have a better idea what could be corrected. It was still going to be a bit of a 'wait and see'.
They fit me in immediately for records: all the Xrays, moulds, pictures, which I appreciated getting done and out of the way.
One week later: back to the doc to find out that, yes indeed, I could be helped with a probable 12-18 month stint in metal brackets upper and lower. Ceramics were not an option, as the doc didn't consider them to be as strong for what she needed to do. I was shown a couple of sets of brackets and chose the smallest metal they had.
Another week later: Spacers! Holy Hell!!! I had read lots of entries about them but still felt somewhat ill prepared for the experience. I only had 7 placed, as they skipped a molar with a crown and used the furthest back one on the bottom right. The assistant tried and tried to get them in with the plier-looking device, to no avail. She had to call in an older women, who used double dental floss to yank/shove/rip/tear/etc. them into place.
The rest of that week, I could feel my pulse in my gums/teeth.
Brace Day: 2/2/09
Spacers plucked out, followed by a stench from some unholy hellmouth. Egads! Someone must invent a way to clean around spacers, or make them less food particle attractive. Now came the band trial and error. On/off/on/off/on/off..bite down/bite down (it's below my gumline, I think it's as far as it will go!!!). The doc arrives to say to leave the bands in place while she places the brackets, to let the molars become more adjusted to the space needed (as the spacers didn't quite do enough to make room). The etchant wasn't too bad and the brackets were put on in no time flat. Now to sit for a while, with my lips spread open like the creature from "Predator", while the cement hardens. At least the exam room had a huge floor/ceiling window to look out of during the process.
Now a little bonding material for the bands, which are once again ripped off and shoved back on to 'cure' this time, and the initial wire is clipped and placed, ligatures (silver) applied...Done!
Overall, not too much pain in general, perhaps due to the fact that my teeth on the whole, are straight and the wire isn't too strong......yet.
SonicCare toothbrush feels good, the vibrations easing a little itchiness. The silicone pads on my nightguard from splintek, allow for easy chewing to get the blood flow working. But flossing...well, it feels like my teeth are just too tight together. I find out later that there were extra bits of left-over cement/bonding crapola between several teeth, and once those were 'nudged loose' by myself for the most part and my dentist for the rest, I could floss all of the pearly whites just fine.
The first adjustment: Postponed due to 12+ inches of snow!!! The office manager called my home at 630am on Monday, to cancel the appointment and another staffer called Tuesday to reschedule for Friday.
Guess I'll post again after that little ray of sunshine happens.
Thanks to you all: those finished with the process and those going through it, for all your stories, advice, and encouragement offered. Just reading the site, has been very helpful!
2/2/09: metal braces T/B
8/20/10: braced removed (18mons, 18days), hawley retainers T/B
9/16/10: LR central incisor extracted (failed root canal)
2/23/11: implant/bone graft
9/15/11: implant crown placed, lower lingual bonding corrected
9/21/11: upper bonding on lateral gaps from upper arch forward advancement
10/17/11: new hawley retainers w/plastic tubing over the 'social six' wire, both T/B