The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

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TheProfessor
Posts: 441
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:03 pm

The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#1 Post by TheProfessor »

Hi everyone,
I'm now at week 15 and thought I'd start posting my progress as a story. I'm one of those who should have had braces as a teenager, but it never came up. I grew up in a family where dental hygiene wasn't really considered to be important--I don't think we had any floss in our house and I don't remember my parents ever telling us to brush our teeth. We only went to the dentist when we had a toothache, and the dentist was old and scary and it was always a dreadful experience. So, not only did I have terrible teeth, but I also developed a fear of dentists that extended well into adulthood. My top teeth have always been pretty straight, but I think my bottoms started to get a little crowded in high school. As the years passed, the bottoms got more and more crowded and I started to feel self conscious about them, but not enough to even consider visiting an orthodontist.

I lived abroad for several years and was even more scared of going to a non-English speaking dentist, so I just didn't go. A big part of one of my bottom molars broke off and I didn't do anything about it because it didn't hurt (I know, it is terrible!) I finally got a good job at a big university in the US and moved back two years ago. That broken tooth started to REALLY hurt two weeks after I moved back, so I was forced to find a new dentist quickly. Luckily, I found a very gentle young female dentist who didn't judge and just fixed what needed fixing. She sent me to a specialist for a root canal on that evil tooth and then I got my first crown followed by several fillings. I thought that I would have a panic attack when I went for the root canal, but I got through it and realized that the dentist is not so bad! I had a lot of visits to my new dentist (with less stress each time) and eventually she put the idea in my head that I should think about getting braces so that my crowded teeth wouldn't lead to periodontal problems in the future. So, I started to think about braces and became obsessed with looking at people's teeth and comparing them to mine (I still do this sometimes :-) ) It didn't help that I work on a college campus and ALL the students seem to have perfect teeth these days! I also remembered that my Dad got dentures when I was a kid--he was probably less than 50 and I'm pretty sure that his original teeth were similar to mine.

So, the idea of braces brewed some more, and finally at my cleaning in February I asked for some recommendations for orthodontists. I walked out of the dentist's office and called and scheduled 2 consultations before I started the car!!! I knew if I didn't move on it, I would chicken out. I went to the first ortho a week later. I was surprised by how fancy the office is and I wasn't sure about the "communal" treatment room. But, the ortho was very nice and admitted to me that she had braces as an adult and it wasn't a big deal. Again, no pressure and no judgement about the state of my teeth (I don't know why I was so afraid of this!) I went ahead and scheduled the X-rays/pictures/molds appointment with them and the next week I visited the second ortho. This office was weird, I felt like they didn't acknowledge that I'm an adult and spent a lot of time showing me the game room, the movie room, etc. The ortho was nice, seemed like he knew what he was doing, but I didn't click with him like I did with the first. So, it was back to the first for all the prep work and then the treatment plan! My treatment time was estimated to be 2 years, I wasn't a good candidate for Invisalign, and she recommended Damon clears on top and metal on the bottom (I have an overbite and overjet, so the clears on bottom could damage my top teeth). The assistant then told me I could think about it and then call them to make an appointment to get the braces. I was a little freaked out, but then decided that it is "now or never" and made the appointment then and there! They didn't have an opening for 2 weeks, so I had a lot of time to worry if I had made the right decision, etc. The big day finally arrived and I still wasn't sure if I could force myself to walk into the ortho and come out with braces! I went through with it and came out thinking "why did I do this to myself? I'm actually paying someone a lot of money to torture me for 2 years!!!! Fortunately, I didn't have much pain at the beginning--it just felt uncomfortable and it was weird to chew. The worst thing was that my lips were extremely dry--for the first month I had to apply lip balm constantly, but eventually my lips returned to normal. I started to get some visible progress in a few days, but I was pretty self-conscious for the first 6 weeks--I felt like everyone was staring at my mouth! It was also weird to turn 40 2 months after getting braces!

So here is the dreaded before picture:
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1 hour after braces installed: note that 1 lower front incisor is tied to the archwire with a wire and another is not connected at all.
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After 1 month
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After first adjustment at 8 weeks: note that the wired tooth is now engaged in the archwire and the other rogue tooth is now wired
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Before second adjustment at 15 weeks (yesterday)
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During my second adjustment my second molars were connected into the top archwire (now 0.018 thickness). the ortho told the assistant to keep the same lower archwire (I'm still on the first wire size 0.014!) and to try to get the rogue tooth into the archwire. If it failed then she should tie the tooth VERY tightly to the archwire. I thought she would take out the wire and put a new one in, but she just opened the doors on the neighboring brackets and then squeezed the wire in! It was in a sharp inverted V (I wish I would have taken a picture) and she told me that it was going to really hurt in a few hours and to eat soft foods and not bite into anything for a few days because the bracket would be under so much tension that it could easily pop off. I went back to work and was busy all afternoon. That tooth started to hurt after a couple of hours and the pain steadily increased. I finally looked in the mirror at 7pm (6 hours after my appointment) and this is what I saw:

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That tooth had already moved into position!!! Of course, that movement came with a price--ouch!!! I tried to floss in that general area last night and thought that I'd pass out from the pain! But, it is already feeling better 24 hours later--I think in a couple of days I'll be able to eat almost normally again (I don't think eating with braces is ever normal....)

Here are the before and after pictures so far--still a long way to go but I'm very happy with my decision so far! And, I'm 1/6 of the way to a perfect smile :D

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Braces installed on March 25, 2014: Damon clears on top and metal on bottom.
I had braces for 25 months!

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nicolie825
Posts: 138
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 1:07 am
Location: North Hollywood, CA

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#2 Post by nicolie825 »

Wow youve had great progress! I also should have had braces when I was younger, but my parents never bothered taking us to the dentist, which is why I'm now stuck with very large fillings in my top 4 incisors that I'll have to get very expensive veneers for after braces for that "perfect" smile. I actually begged for braces when I was 17 and was finally able to drag my mom to an orthodontist but parents couldnt afford it. Like yours, my top are well aligned, but I have bad crowding on the bottom also with a rogue tooth that sits (well, I should say sat further back than the rest of my teeth, but it has moved considerably in the past 5 weeks). I also have damon clears on top and metal on the bottom. Did your ortho say anything about seeing a periodontist about the extra gum tissue caused by the crowding? Mine did and it freaks me out a little to have to go and get my gums cut up, but that rogue tooth of mine unfortunately has a lot of extra gum.

Looking forward to seeing your progress in the coming months!

SunshineRay
Posts: 853
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:44 am

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#3 Post by SunshineRay »

Great progress!

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SpottedPickle
Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:57 am
Location: Western Michigan

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#4 Post by SpottedPickle »

What awesome progress!! You are going to be matching all of those University Folks soon :)

I love how you talked about the dentist growing up, I tried to think back but it was the same with my home when I was 6 and on. I cannot remember being told to brush my teeth, I just did it when I thought of it. I always had janky teeth so I was never too keen to pay it any attention.

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Nozzelnut
Posts: 639
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:34 pm
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#5 Post by Nozzelnut »

I'm sure that moving tooth made you feel some pressure; but the quick results must be worth it.
Round 3 (lifetime) Damon stainless applied 3/16/20 (after 4 weeks attempting invisalign)
Upper ceramics 5/21/14, Lower stainless 5/28/14
Double jaw surgery was 6/18/15. Estimated time Jan 2016; still on at my 2 year anniversary...
Braces removed 7/20/18; upper and lower Hawley and Essix retainers with bonded lower too.
I'm emphatically against extraction orthodontics!

TheProfessor
Posts: 441
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:03 pm

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#6 Post by TheProfessor »

nicolie825 wrote:Wow youve had great progress! I also should have had braces when I was younger, but my parents never bothered taking us to the dentist, which is why I'm now stuck with very large fillings in my top 4 incisors that I'll have to get very expensive veneers for after braces for that "perfect" smile. I actually begged for braces when I was 17 and was finally able to drag my mom to an orthodontist but parents couldnt afford it. Like yours, my top are well aligned, but I have bad crowding on the bottom also with a rogue tooth that sits (well, I should say sat further back than the rest of my teeth, but it has moved considerably in the past 5 weeks). I also have damon clears on top and metal on the bottom. Did your ortho say anything about seeing a periodontist about the extra gum tissue caused by the crowding? Mine did and it freaks me out a little to have to go and get my gums cut up, but that rogue tooth of mine unfortunately has a lot of extra gum.

Looking forward to seeing your progress in the coming months!
Hi Nicolie,
I just looked at your story-- you are making great progress already! It is nice to see someone with a similar situation and I'm just a few months ahead of you! I've also had almost no pain or rubbing- so far I've only used wax once when the stops on my bottom wire rubbed my lip when I was talking a lot several days in a row during a weekend trip with old friends from college. My first real pain was when that tooth moved so fast on Monday. The periodontist was mentioned at my consult, my ortho said that we need to keep an eye on the gums in the areas where those two teeth had to move the most. I could see gum overgrowth being a possible issue with me too, I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!
Braces installed on March 25, 2014: Damon clears on top and metal on bottom.
I had braces for 25 months!

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TheProfessor
Posts: 441
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:03 pm

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#7 Post by TheProfessor »

SpottedPickle wrote:What awesome progress!! You are going to be matching all of those University Folks soon :)

I love how you talked about the dentist growing up, I tried to think back but it was the same with my home when I was 6 and on. I cannot remember being told to brush my teeth, I just did it when I thought of it. I always had janky teeth so I was never too keen to pay it any attention.

Thanks! I'm starting to feel really glad that I have all this junk on my teeth!
I distinctly remember when I started brushing my teeth twice a day consistently. I was a freshman in high school and my older sister ( a senior) told me that I better start brushing my teeth more or the boys wouldn't like me :heart:
Braces installed on March 25, 2014: Damon clears on top and metal on bottom.
I had braces for 25 months!

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Anna5
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Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:05 am

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#8 Post by Anna5 »

Very great progress!!

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pjade1
Posts: 213
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:46 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#9 Post by pjade1 »

Wow, that is amazingly fast progress. You have to be happy going through with your decision.
07/14/14 - 4 spacers put in
07/25/14 - braces top and bottom put in minus 2 molar bands that they couldn't fit
9/11/14 - 2 spacers put in between the bottom back molars
9/19/14 - last 2 bottom molar bands in and all hooked up, new wire, started elastics too
10/14/14 - new square wire change and thick elastics
04/24/17 - braces removed!!! :BigGrin:
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loa
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Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:35 am

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#10 Post by loa »

yes great progress!! :)

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SoIWasLike72
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:26 am

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#11 Post by SoIWasLike72 »

Wow. Your tooth moved fast!

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newbite
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:53 am

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#12 Post by newbite »

Your post is inspiring! I'm in graduate school and will be teaching undergrads this coming semester and will be getting braces in a few weeks (if everything goes well). I've been wondering if it will be a problem, if anyone will even notice my braces, or if it will make teaching difficult (speaking, pain, etc). How has your experience been with that?

TheProfessor
Posts: 441
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:03 pm

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#13 Post by TheProfessor »

newbite wrote:Your post is inspiring! I'm in graduate school and will be teaching undergrads this coming semester and will be getting braces in a few weeks (if everything goes well). I've been wondering if it will be a problem, if anyone will even notice my braces, or if it will make teaching difficult (speaking, pain, etc). How has your experience been with that?
People noticed my braces, but most were too polite to say anything and I decided to just act like nothing had happened! Teaching was a bit awkward at first since I had a lisp and some words didn't come out right for the first couple of weeks, but the graduate students in my class didn't say anything (although I'm sure there was plenty of gossip in the department after the first class that I taught with braces). I didn't really have pain when I got my braces, but it was very annoying to eat for the first week, so I think I was grumpier than normal because I wasn't eating enough. Also, my lips and mouth were very dry for the first month or so, so I had to always make sure that I had lip balm on and plenty of water to drink while I was lecturing.

I'm sure you will be fine with teaching. The students will briefly think "that's weird" the first time they see you, but they won't spend hours obsessing over it like you will :)

I've been visiting old friends in the city where I did my post-doc. No one knew I was getting braces so it has been fun to see people's reactions. At a bbq last night, a friend I've known for almost 10 years didn't notice my braces until someone else mentioned it. It was the first time I realized that other people are not always staring at my teeth and braces. What a good feeling!
Braces installed on March 25, 2014: Damon clears on top and metal on bottom.
I had braces for 25 months!

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newbite
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:53 am

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#14 Post by newbite »

That sounds great! I hope my experience is similar to yours :)
•Braces placed August 14, 2014
•Deband November 11, 2015
•Permanent retainer top and bottom
•Essix retainers top and bottom 16 hr/day for a year and then nightly afterwards.

My story: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... 51#p455351

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pjade1
Posts: 213
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:46 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: The Professor's Story of Braces at 40 (with pics)

#15 Post by pjade1 »

I agree. I don't think everyone will notice right away. I am not going to tell everyone I know and wait for their reaction. It might be fun for me. :tingrin:
07/14/14 - 4 spacers put in
07/25/14 - braces top and bottom put in minus 2 molar bands that they couldn't fit
9/11/14 - 2 spacers put in between the bottom back molars
9/19/14 - last 2 bottom molar bands in and all hooked up, new wire, started elastics too
10/14/14 - new square wire change and thick elastics
04/24/17 - braces removed!!! :BigGrin:
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