I introduced myself briefly in the other forum section a few days ago. This section of the forums, though, seems more appropriate for posting semi-regular updates to my saga with braces.
To begin, I am 20 years old, from the Midwestern United States. Dentists have told me for several years that I could benefit from braces, but as things worked out I never had them. I can't say I was upset about that fact - my teeth never really bothered me and I never felt my teeth really looked bad, so I had no motivation to want braces.
A couple of months back, though, I realized how crooked a couple of my teeth are, and it started bothering me. I have gotten used to it over time, but my first premolar on the right side of my mouth sort of lays against my tongue and lately it has really started annoying me. I resolved to speak to my dentist about it at my next cleaning appointment as it was only a few weeks away. I still didn't think I would end up in braces, though the thought was in the back of my mind. I sort of hoped he would tell me that it would be no problem to straighten it up, and that it would require a 5 minute procedure with no pain. I was wrong! When I asked him what could be done to straighten my tooth, he looked at me and said, "You're not going to like what I'm going to tell you." At that point i knew he was going to say "braces".
He referred me to an orthodontist, and I made an appointment for a consultation. It was slightly unsettling when the first thing the orthodontist said was, "so you're here to see about getting braces?" I replied that I was there to see about getting a couple of teeth on the right side of my mouth straightened up, and she began looking at my teeth. As it turns out there were more issues than I had thought. She pointed out a few issues with crowding, with alignment, and the one that surprised me, my overbite. Somehow the dentists I had been to had never mentioned that I have overbite, and I didn't know my top teeth weren't supposed to overlap the bottom ones, I thought everyone's did that! Anyway, after the consultation, my orthodontist told me that the issues I have can be fixed and it will require 24 months+ with braces.
After considering what she told me about my teeth and the potential problems the overbite can cause, I decided to go through with braces. First, though, I had to make an appointment to get separators. I had spoke to a few people I know who have had braces, and I spoke to a couple of teenagers I know who have braces, and I was told the spacers really aren't a big deal - that it just feels a bit uncomfortable for a day or two, and that there really isn't any pain. They were wrong. When I went in for the spacer appointment, I wasn't expecting anything too terrible, and for the most part it was uneventful. The problem was, a couple of my molars are very close together, and the lady working on my teeth almost couldn't get the rubber spacer in. She finally did after quite a bit of discomfort on my part, and they recommended as I was leaving to take some ibuprofen as pain would set in a few hours later. I took their advice and the rest of my day went smoothly. I could feel a little bit of pressure, but no pain, and I even ate a couple of meals that required a lot of chewing.
That night, though, I woke up at 3:00 with my jaws throbbing and my head aching. There was the pain they had mentioned! I stumbled through the house looking for my ibuprofen, and about 40 minutes after taking some I finally fell asleep. I didn't really feel any more pain that night or when I first got up, but when I decided to try and eat something, I got an unpleasant surprise. I began making an egg and cheese omelette, when I picked up a couple of pieces of the shredded cheddar cheese I was using. I tried to eat that bit of cheese and the pain was excruciating when I tried to chew it. So much for breakfast! I ended up eating some yogurt and taking more ibuprofen. Later that day I went to the store and stocked up on yogurt! At this point I was wondering how I would survive the nine days I would have spacers!
The next day the pain wasn't as intense, and I was even able to eat some food that required limited chewing. As days have continued to go by, I have gotten used to the spacers and barely notice them. I still have to be a bit careful of what foods I choose, but I can eat anything within reason. I get my braces put on this Thursday, and I am somewhat looking forward to the visit. I am nervous of course, but in my mind I want nothing more than to get these separators out of my mouth and get on with my treatment. Sitting here and thinking about getting braces is doing me no good, I just want to get it over with!
I'm sure it will be different seeing my teeth covered in metal, but I know I will be glad in the long run that I went through with this. This week I get the top brackets on, and about a month later my orthodontist said I would get the bottom brackets. Nothing more I can do now other than keep reading all I can about braces. I'm really appreciating this website and the information I'm getting. I've spent several hours reading the posts on here and the stories of others who have gotten braces. I fell less anxious about my appointment Thursday because I feel like I kind of know what to expect. I sure hope everything goes smoothly!
Below are some pictures of what my teeth look like now. Hopefully they will look a lot better in the months to come!