opera^gal's story

If you want to share the detailed saga of your braces story, this is the place to do it. You can use this forum as a braces journal, editing and updating your posts as your treatment goes on. Remember to also visit the main ArchWired.com site for additional stories from other readers!

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opera^gal
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:10 pm
Location: NYC

opera^gal's story

#1 Post by opera^gal » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:10 pm

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

RainAndTangerines
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:43 pm

#2 Post by RainAndTangerines » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:18 pm

Hi Opera Gal! Welcome! :D

Well first of all, congrats on the braces! I too found this site very helpful and encouraging when I first got braces. You seem to have a great sense of humor and staying positive throughout the process is key.

Good luck on your next appointment!

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opera^gal
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:10 pm
Location: NYC

#3 Post by opera^gal » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:50 pm

Thanks for the reply and well wishes Rain. Nice to see someone reply!
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

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brika
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:01 am
Location: Florida
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#4 Post by brika » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:17 am

Welcome, opera gal!
It sounds like you've had a long road getting here! I'm sure your treatment time will fly right by and you'll have a beautiful smile and great bite before you know it! :D
Aw, it stinks that your adjustment got postponed. I hope the weather on Monday is a little more cooperative!
Best of luck to you!
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opera^gal
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Location: NYC

#5 Post by opera^gal » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:03 am

Thanks for the reply brika. I'm actually looking forward to the 1st adjustment, if for no other reason than to ask for copies of my photos. At this point, I have no plans to change the colour choice for the ligatures and I'm guessing I'll get a stronger gauge wire, but after reading some posts on this site, who knows?
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

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opera^gal
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:10 pm
Location: NYC

1st adjustment

#6 Post by opera^gal » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:22 am

Most of the 12+"s of snow melted and off I went to my first adjustment.
A techie removed the ligatures and then the doc came in to poke and prod and look around a bit. She left my bottom 14 gauge wire in place, saying it had more work to do, but replaced my top with an 18 gauge. So far, just a feeling of pressure but no real owwee-wowee pain. I hope that lasts. I did take some Aleve before the appointment, so perhaps that has had a dampening effect on whatever pain there might be. Stuck with the same silver ligatures, as I wasn't feeling very brave or whimsicle to try something else....yet. Maybe one day down the road!
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

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*tap*
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:41 am

#7 Post by *tap* » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:50 pm

nice 1 on getting braces, it'll be worth the aches and pains :) i cant wait for my first adjustment either because it only means more progress yay!!
1 step closer!!!!!!!!

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SharMarali
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#8 Post by SharMarali » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:20 pm

I kept both my top AND bottom original wires for about 4 months. I won't lie, I felt a little cheated! I wanted a bigger wire to do bigger work lol! Obviously I know my orthodontist knows best, and I'm sure that the reason the wimpy wires were kept in place for so long was because there was so much individual tooth movement that had to be done before the overall arch correction could REALLY be started.

It's all about personal preference as far as if you want to get different colored ligatures. Me, I stick largely to the least noticeable ones. A lot of people here love colored ones, and that's great too! I'm extremely anal retentive about things "matching" though and I think having colored ligatures would drive me bonkers. =)

I found that I was just a bit sore for a couple of days after I got my thicker wires, nothing like the pain from the first adjustment I had or the original wire placement. I also find that I feel fine after an adjustment and I start to REALLY feel sore a couple of hours later and into the following morning.
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catfish
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#9 Post by catfish » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:40 pm

Hi Opera Gal, thanks for visiting my story! And congratulations on getting braced!

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with the spacers. They are a bummer, no doubt. I was lucky and only needed two of them.

So what are the issues you need to have corrected? You mentioned implants, are those still in store for you?

I hope you post pics!
Click on WWW to see my braces story.

August 16, 2007 - Braced on top
January 3, 2008 - Braced on bottom

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opera^gal
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Location: NYC

#10 Post by opera^gal » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:37 pm

I spoke far too soon...OMG...my top molars are soooo sore and my skull feels like it is splitting open from the sinuses outward...ugh!
More Aleve and serious napping has helped but eating just wasn't in the cards today. Protein shakes rule!!!

Hey tap, catfish, and cutekittylickingthescreenavatar: thanks for replying!

Let's see if I can remember the offical diagnosis:
class 3 malocclusion (crossbite) with enamel loss from bruxism (grinding).
The doc is hoping to avoid implants to replace the bottom incisors that have taken the brunt of the grinding <one has a root canal already>, with the new bone growth from having the braces straighting things out a touch. Some teeth will be torqued a bit and the arches will both be widened as much as possible without surgery.

As far as pics, I've asked for the pre-braces pic copies from the office and will ask a friend to take some soon of the progress so far.

Appreciate the friendly, supportive attitudes of the other members of the site. It helps knowing you all are out there!!
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

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opera^gal
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:10 pm
Location: NYC

#11 Post by opera^gal » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:05 pm

Pleased to report the discomfort has decreased...yay! Still sore but no more feeling of being split open like a coconut.
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

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Jenn S
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Location: Oregon
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#12 Post by Jenn S » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:50 pm

Hello Opera Gal. I enjoyed your story. Happy to hear things are settling in for you. Our stories are similar (I too, am trying to avoid implants!) except I can't carry a tune in a bucket :wink:
So will your career be put on hold during this process?
Everything gets much less painful, awkward, irritating soon.
Braced: 12-17-08 8:30am (PST)
2 Extractions 07-21-09 *****
Treatment for: Overbite, lower overcrowding.
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opera^gal
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Location: NYC

#13 Post by opera^gal » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:15 pm

Hi Jenn, thanks for your reply.

Most likely, I'll do more studio/commercial work (less time, good paycheck) until I am out of full metal and into retainers. My agents handle the bookings and will keep me close to home for the time being. Honestly, that's fine by me, as air travel is such a major pain these days. I'm all for being safe and aware, but come on people...my tiny shoes do not have room for any 'banned' substances!!!
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

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opera^gal
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:10 pm
Location: NYC

#14 Post by opera^gal » Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:41 am

Here I was thinking..heck...fourth day after the adjustment....SURELY the discomfort will be gone...well boy howdy, was I wrong! It is just shifting around to different teeth every day...like some sadistic game of hide-N-seek...."try to guess which tooth/teeth will be uber-sensitive today?"..Arrrggggh! I know I know, it means things are moving around and working as they are suppose to...but jeezopetes!
Ok, rant-time is over...sorry about that folks. Just a tad frustrated today. Reading other stories, I should be overwhelmed at my luck in not having more severe mouth issues.
Chocolate is the answer here...yes...nice rich, melting on the tongue requiring NO chewing whatsoever chocolate!!!
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

beth1966
Posts: 435
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:32 am
Location: California

#15 Post by beth1966 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:59 am

Hi Opera Gal -

I sent this to you as a private msg but I'm not sure it went through. Sorry to post in your thread - but I had a question for you that I wondered if you could answer?

I am still debating about whether to get all metal, or ceramic on top and metal on bottom. My ortho uses a metal bracket called micro-arch by GAC. I just wondered if you knew what kind of 'mini metal brackets' you have? I read your post on the discussion about how many have metal and how many have ceramic and noticed you said you have 'mini metal brackets'. Do you know what brand they are? I see you are in NYC - I am only 20 miles from the city in northern NJ and have an ortho I really like, its just a matter of taking the next step for me and committing to treatment. Treatment I KNOW I really need. I just turned 43 and my bite has gotten worse and worse as I've gotten older. I had braces as a kid and now my teeth are crowded and I have an open bite in front. It has to be corrected, I can't even eat or bite into food properly.

Anyway - I wondered if you are happy with your mini metal brackets. The ceramics defiitely do look quite a bit bulkier - but they are also clear. :) I can't help but be a bit vain, I am a single woman and have a highly visible job too.

Thanks!

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