Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

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Khan
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:49 pm

Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#1 Post by Khan »

Allow me to introduce myself:

I am Khan (not my real name, just a fan of the Star-Trek villain). I have had an overbite that I have had as long as I could remember (since childhood), and I have recently discovered that it is considered a deep overbite (lower front incisors about 80-90% covered). I am now looking into whether or not I should consider braces.

Some background: I have Asperger’s syndrome (high-functioning autism) and a sensory processing disorder. I was that that kid who would be picky about socks. The seam HAD to be right at the tips of my toes. If they weren’t perfect, it was like nails on a chalk board. I’m also pretty sure I needed to have tags cut off the back of my shirts when I was young. I was picky with food as well. Lima beans and squash were (and still are) a total brown note for me. I will vomit if either touch anywhere inside my mouth. I was also that kid in first grade who covered his ears one day in the school gym when there was a concert because, as Huey Lewis put it, it was just “too darn loud.”

It’s still a joke (I’m not laughing) to my older brothers and later my nephews and nieces that I “scream like a girl” when some rather unpleasant sensory event happens to me.

Oh, and I also was not very fond of brushing my teeth as a kid, and as a result, I racked up the fillings (and one crown) through my teen years. I never liked the aftertaste. How I ever managed to never need a root canal is beyond me. I also was not fond of having anybody work inside my mouth, and as a result, I was a bit of a jerk to my dentist as a kid. Thankfully, those days have passed, and I eventually learned to tolerate dental cleanings (and the fillings I still needed to have done in my late 20s). Oddly enough, I actually came to enjoy the water pick and looked forward to it at every cleaning; I found it really, *really* soothing.

Suffice it to say, I don’t react well to some senses, though it’s not *quite* as bad as when I was younger.

Now, onto the braces. I am pretty sure I would have reacted badly if I were forced to wear them as a kid. As in, I would find a way to rip them out as a kid. My dad has *plenty* of tools lying around the house and garage. I was bound to find a set of pliers and wire cutters rather quickly. I am pretty sure the reasons that I never had them put on are threefold:

1) Looking at my parents’ smiles these days, it was pretty evident that neither side of my family considered orthodontic work a priority.

2) If my childhood dentist ever had the thought cross her mind that I would need braces, she would have dismissed it quickly because I did not take care of my teeth, and that it would have been a pointless battle.

Today, my overbite is such that my lower incisors just barely brush the extremities of the gums above my upper incisors. Secondly, I do have a lower incisor that is just a little bit out of alignment with the rest of my teeth (which apparently is the same with both my parents <_<). My teeth do look generally straight otherwise (just not perfectly so), but then again, I don’t have a wide smile. In fact, my smile itself is crooked due to the muscle responsible for pulling down my lower lip on one side never working. So my smiles have never revealed many teeth.

Right now, the only thing I could possibly attribute to the overbite is a TMJ disorder that has only really ever flaired up about three or four times in my adult life. Two of those instances around Thanksgiving time, however, so that is what prompted me to even start considering braces. However, it has come to my understanding that it is not agreed upon that braces can even help with the TMJD, and in fact, braces have *caused* TMJD in some people.

At the moment, I don’t know that there are any other issues that could attribute to having the overbite.

Right now, I can say that I’d rather not do any orthodontics if it would mean having to pull any teeth (I was just NOT functional for two weeks after having my wisdom teeth taken out), or if I would have to have my jaw broken. I may also want to negotiate a grace period that will allow me to terminate if I decide after a month or two that I am unable to tolerate the braces. If all the consults I go in for say I must do one of those things, then braces are out of the question for me.

However, if those barriers are cleared, I still have concerns. What might come of a deep overbite if left untreated? I have heard that gum recession could happen where my lower incisors meet the upper gums, but on the other hand, I also have heard gum recession is a side effect of braces as well.

I am also concerned about pain management. I tutor K-12 students, several of whom wear braces. I saw what happened one day when a 13-year-old came in for tutoring right after having his braces tightened. His concentration was just not there. I had to call his parents to bring him some pain medication halfway through our session. I don’t have much faith that pain medication is going to help me because it does not work on my dad at all (seriously, when he was in the Navy and had his wisdom teeth taken out, he came back after four hours wondering when they were going to give him something for the pain. He was *already* given enough codeine that should have put him down for 24 hours!) and I fear I may have inherited that trait.

And then the matter of retainers. How common is it that one really needs to wear them for life? I can just see myself getting complacent with the retainer after a few years, and I have heard some people who had some mild shifting when they stopped wearing their retainers after a few years.

I’m not interested in aesthetics. I would only be interested in preventing medical issues. I think the only gain I can think of is that it would be easier to get a strand of floss in spaces where it is rather tight. As such, perfectly straight teeth is not a priority for me.

So...Would braces be something I should seriously consider? Or is a deep overbite something that isn’t going to be serious enough to deal with?

Mermaid
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:30 pm

Re: Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#2 Post by Mermaid »

It is absolutely worth it. In a couple of years, you will be a couple years older, braces or not.

Khan
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:49 pm

Re: Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#3 Post by Khan »

Mermaid wrote:
> It is absolutely worth it.

Can you elaborate? I am not interested in aesthetics here, only whether or not it is sufficiently medically necessary. I am attempting to weigh any medical benefit against a potential for not being able to tolerate braces.

Cost is another issue altogether, as I have only been able to find part-time work for the time being.

Mermaid
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:30 pm

Re: Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#4 Post by Mermaid »

That's not really a judgment I can make, that's between you and your ortho. What is your hesitation? Having braces is not a big deal, I don't mind them. They take a bit of getting used to.

User avatar
djspeece
Posts: 1923
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:36 am
Location: North Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#5 Post by djspeece »

What an interesting post -- well written and engaging!
Of course you'll need to find an ortho who understands your issues and is willing to listen to you, and to modify treatment and/or office visits as may be needed (e.g., private room vs. open bay setting, which is very common). In my mind this is the first, and arguably the most important consideration. I think if you lay it out to him/her just as you have here, you'll be able to assess the "fit" with the ortho, and hear what alternatives are available. If you are in the Washington DC area, I would recommend Dr. Andrew Schwartz without reservation (previously my ortho).
In any event, best of luck to you, and stay safe.
Dan

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. -- Buddist saying

pcspinheiro
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:37 am

Re: Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#6 Post by pcspinheiro »

You're in the same bandwagon as me: deep bite, some upper crowding in my case, and no aesthetic concern whatsoever. In my case, unfortunately, I ended up getting myself into a nightmare with an idiot who was not only incompetent at orthodontics, but probably even worse, at listening. After wrongful extractions of teeth, TMJ disorder and many frustrated attempts to get things done to address MY simple needs (carefully and exhaustively explained on day 1) I gave up and, in one moment of fury I went to a routine appointment but instead demanded debracing right there and then. I was left with the sizable extraction gap of an upper premolar (she was unable to close it, despite it being my only request for the last 4-5 months of "treatment", one dead lower premolar due to her incompetence, and ugly, old man smile and my one problem of deep bite/wearing lower teeth not solved at all.

Fast forward to today and, in well under 1 year a new ortho has realigned my teeth, gave me a more natural smile and closed the extraction gap, but my deep bite problem persists because I refused lower braces this time, only asked to get the ugly gap closed as best as possible, which she did (my midline shifted only by about 1 mm, despite the lack of a full tooth on that side, courtesy of former idiot). I'm afraid of completely losing my lower premolar and somehow the upper braces made the front tooth's premature contact a little worse (the arch has retracted a bit to close the tooth gap). But my jaw is better, works less retracted. Tomorrow I'm going for my first appointment in 3 months and ask if we can try lower braces and either an auxiliary arch or TADs for intruding the front lowers. She'll probably say reverse curve archwires instead, and that's a no-no because they'll pull up on my now dead premolar, and I don't want to lose it, as it's sitting there just fine and dandy. So, it's possible tomorrow is my last or before-last appointment before debracing and retaining. And, anticipating tomorrows talk, i'll still be left with the main problem that took me to orthodontics in the first place, at the age of 38... (now 41)

All this to tell you, given your multiple concerns: DON'T do anything you don't want or have doubts about, you may regret it bitterly. Make sure your ortho's goals are YOUR goals! In my case, unknown to me as I was completely illiterate in orthodontics, they were not since day 1. And after actually studying some orthodontics to be up to speed (reading reviews and medical journals) I realized she really was an idiot, in more ways than one.

Good luck with whatever decision you make, as long as it's an informed one.

philippe78
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 9:08 am

Re: Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#7 Post by philippe78 »

I have the same problem at 42 years old with a deep overbite of 6mm and crowding and spacing issues, Have seen a good orthodontist and he is able to fix the big overbite and spacing with full fixed metal braces, Invisalign is not an option for me and neither is any of the other options as they are not strong enough because to correct such large issues in an adult male with strong muscular jaw, I was also told the smaller metal brackets wont have a big enough handle to correct issue and has advised me that I will need the older larger metal brackets top and bottom with molar and pre molar bands for 3 years, I decided to start treatment 3 weeks ago and the week after my spacers where fitted that caused a lot of pain he fitted the brace last week, It took him 3 hours with my mouth open to fit them large metal brace as there was not enough room for the 8 bands so he had to force them and glue them on with minimal room, The pain was excruciating installing the braces as my adult teeth are set, But that was not as bad as a few hours later when I got home and the brace started to move my teeth, And have been in serious pain ever since, Adult braces are extremely painful, I can honestly not believe how painful Traditional fixed metal braces are, And they are permanent with no relief, There is no doubt they are working as half my teeth are loose and the brace is so tight, I am dreading my next tightening in 2 weeks, my mouth is torn apart from the extra large metal brackets, and so tight, my 8 back molars are completely encased with big metal rings forced and glued on with large metal brackets on every tooth top and bottom, my orthodontist was so rough and forceful and there is so much metal in my mouth, He didn't seem to care how much pain I went through as long as the brace was fitted and 3 hours later it was and have been in pain ever since, It just seems so strong and tight with no way of removing it as its been fitted so strong and permanent, Traditional fixed metal braces may be the gold standard and best but are they worth 3 years of agony, I thought my teeth where set in stone at 42 and unable for braces to work but how wrong was I, These big metal braces are moving my teeth with ease they are so strong and tight, This brace taught me my teeth are so weak compared to the braces, But when you see how much metal hardware is in my mouth you realise how strong metal braces are.

Carno
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:47 am

Re: Worthwhile to get braces at 38?

#8 Post by Carno »

philippe78 wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:05 pm
I have the same problem at 42 years old with a deep overbite of 6mm and crowding and spacing issues, Have seen a good orthodontist and he is able to fix the big overbite and spacing with full fixed metal braces, Invisalign is not an option for me and neither is any of the other options as they are not strong enough because to correct such large issues in an adult male with strong muscular jaw, I was also told the smaller metal brackets wont have a big enough handle to correct issue and has advised me that I will need the older larger metal brackets top and bottom with molar and pre molar bands for 3 years, I decided to start treatment 3 weeks ago and the week after my spacers where fitted that caused a lot of pain he fitted the brace last week, It took him 3 hours with my mouth open to fit them large metal brace as there was not enough room for the 8 bands so he had to force them and glue them on with minimal room, The pain was excruciating installing the braces as my adult teeth are set, But that was not as bad as a few hours later when I got home and the brace started to move my teeth, And have been in serious pain ever since, Adult braces are extremely painful, I can honestly not believe how painful Traditional fixed metal braces are, And they are permanent with no relief, There is no doubt they are working as half my teeth are loose and the brace is so tight, I am dreading my next tightening in 2 weeks, my mouth is torn apart from the extra large metal brackets, and so tight, my 8 back molars are completely encased with big metal rings forced and glued on with large metal brackets on every tooth top and bottom, my orthodontist was so rough and forceful and there is so much metal in my mouth, He didn't seem to care how much pain I went through as long as the brace was fitted and 3 hours later it was and have been in pain ever since, It just seems so strong and tight with no way of removing it as its been fitted so strong and permanent, Traditional fixed metal braces may be the gold standard and best but are they worth 3 years of agony, I thought my teeth where set in stone at 42 and unable for braces to work but how wrong was I, These big metal braces are moving my teeth with ease they are so strong and tight, This brace taught me my teeth are so weak compared to the braces, But when you see how much metal hardware is in my mouth you realise how strong metal braces are.
I did not experience anything like this, but my situation was much different than yours. Sounds like your experience was pretty rough, which is a shame!

Hopefully the above experience doesn't dissuade anyone from considering getting braces, because that is NOT the norm. Adult braces are NOT extremely painful for most people that I have talked to who had them.

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