28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

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28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#1 Post by YellowDogTooth »


I'm a 28 year old female from Canada and have decided to document the process of getting braces to close an anterior open bite and posterior crossbite.

I am a person who likes to know everything I can before I do something. I have a lot of anxiety and therefore I research, and research, and then research some more! Having an idea of what to expect has helped me greatly in dealing with things that make me anxious. I want to provide information for others who may also do the same, as well as share this journey with people going through something similar. I think it will also be a good outlet for me to deal with getting braces and anything that goes along with that.

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#2 Post by YellowDogTooth »


After concluding I would consider getting braces I needed to set up a consultation with an orthodontist.

I had actually had a previous consultation with an orthodontist at 17 who had suggested surgery to close my open bite. I had disliked the guy and his recommendation. I never went back nor did I proceed with any orthodontic treatment. I had been referred to that orthodontist by my regular dentist, so while my regular dentist (different one now) had said they could refer me to an orthodontist they use I decided to find my own.

I went online and started on a site called ratemds. I looked up ratings of all the orthodontists in my areas, keeping my focus on the ones highly rated. I read each review, then used google to look them up individually to find other reviews on any other websites I could. I also checked out their business website. I narrowed down my choices and picked the one who I thought was best suited for me.

Often initial consultations are free, so there is also the option to get more than one and I would recommend people do this. However I struggle a bit to deal with appointments, things I have to do, etc. so the more I can limit such things the better.

I called the office and set up an initial consultation appointment for the beginning of December. The receptionist sounded friendly, asked if I had had braces before, if my dentist had recommended treatment, and if I had insurance. She got some of my personal information (name, phone number, address I think) and set up an appointment for a week from that time. The office texted me the day before to confirm the appointment.

I arrived at the office right on time the day of the consultation. The office was quiet and my appointment was right at the end of the school day. There were 2 girls waiting, possibly a mother and daughter? They weren't really young, I couldn't determine their ages, the younger one may have been in her later teens or early 20's. I went up the reception desk where the receptionist was talking to one of the ortho assistants, both of them were very friendly and greeted me. The receptionist gave me a 4 page document to fill out.

The document was about 4 pages. I had to fill out information about myself such as name, address, age, doctor name/phone, dentist name/phone, my work location/phone, emergency contact name/phone, etc. I also had to indicate any health problems, it had a list and I just had to check all those that applied, as well as list any/all medications I take, including vitamins. There were also questions about my dental history like if I have ever broken any teeth, experienced receding gums, have any tooth/gum sensitivity, lost any permanent teeth, have any jaw pain, experience headaches, if there is any history of gum disease in my family, etc. The last page asked for my insurance information. It took approx. 30 min to fill out.

Once I handed that back to the receptionist I was asked to sit back down and told someone would be with me shortly. About 5 minutes later the orthodontist assistant came out and brought me to the back with her. The office is mostly an open design. The reception area has chairs and a coffee table with magazines and a water cooler. There is a small office with chairs and a computer across the room from the chairs, it has been empty both times I've been there. The receptionist desk is long (and has several pretend plastic mouths with different types of braces on them on display) and separates the waiting area from the actual treatment area.

As you walk past the the receptionist area there are 2 sinks which have paper towels, paper cups, and individually wrapped tooth brushes. The office is located within a building of many offices, so I think the washroom is located down the hall from the actual orthodontist office. If you need to rinse your mouth/brush teeth, you do it at those sinks.

Then there are 3 dentist type chairs set up next to each other facing the window. The window has a pretty sweet view. I sat in one and the younger girl from earlier was in the one further down, the orthodontist was making some adjustments to her braces and talking to her.

The assistant was very nice and made some small talk and then explained that she would take some pictures and then the orthodontist would come and talk to me. She went away for a few seconds and came back with a camera. She had me smile and took a picture, she also had me open my mouth really wide and took a picture, as well as had me push my chin forward as far as I could. Then she brought me these metal hook things. Not sure what I'd call them. They are about as wide as tongue depressor, each end is curved over. She had me put one end in my mouth against the edge of my cheek and pull it back/out so that my teeth were easily visible on that side and took more pictures, then did it with the other side, then both at once. The camera was bright and I was advised to close my eyes. It wasn't painful or even really uncomfortable. I had some trouble following instructions on how to open my cheeks with the hooks at certain angles, I think I was really nervous.

Then she asked me to stand up and had me stand behind the chair against the wall at the back. She took pictures of my face from different sides. I was asked to smile, not to smile, let my mouth hang open, close my lips, etc. Then I sat back down and waited for the orthodontist.

The orthodontist came over about 5 minutes later. He was kind of awkward, I'm not sure he introduced himself. He asked how I was, and said he was gonna take a look at my teeth or something. He looked inside, used a mirror to see certain areas, made notes while doing it and explained to me what he was seeing as well as his opinion on what could be possibly done about it. He was very detailed with his information and open to questions. Once I started talking to him he was really friendly and funny. He clearly loves what he does and loves to research and teach (he teaches at a university as well). I told him the guy I saw 10 years ago had said I would need surgery, he said he didn't feel surgery would be necessary. He said I have a tongue thrust, which I had determined about a week before seeing him from my own research. Said retention would be a problem because of that but that some people have had success with myofunctional speech therapy so that would be something to check out. Said I had a bit of a posterior crossbite and a 4mm open bite. He said he might use mini-implants to close it and explained what that was, and elastics. He was happy that I research things so much and went as far as writing down terms to look up that he teaches his students and they always get wrong apparently haha.

He had another patient and I went to the reception desk, but then he came and got me the card for the speech and language pathologist incase I wanted to talk to her about the tongue thrust. I said I could look her up because he was having trouble finding the card but he insisted on finding it for me. He was even telling me more about orthodontic terminology as he was going back to the other patient. I was told by the receptionist that he likes to write research papers for fun. I found him super friendly and knowledgeable with a great sense of humor. He is kind of strange/weird, which I love! Like not in a bad way at all, just like something I don't find with most dentists. His personality and mine will definitely work well together and that was a big factor in choosing him. I myself am quite weird so not feeling like he will be judgemental helps me feel relaxed. I also of course find it really important that who I work with will do a good job and be capable of handling any issues that may come up during treatment.

The receptionist is so awesome. Shes young, probably younger than me (under 28 then) and very bubbly/friendly. Gives lots of info too. She said I'd receive a report from the orthodontist and it would be mailed to me. She also gave me a quick estimate from the orthodontists initial findings. 24 months in braces for a total of $6800. Insurances covers up to $2k of that. She broke down the fee into payments spread out over 24 months, and gave me the monthly total. She also told me what was included in that: 24 months of braces/adjustments, any fixes like if a bracket breaks, 2 years of follow up, retainers, etc.

She said to give her a call if I decide to go ahead with treatment and she'd set it up. I asked her about my insurance and the "pre-authorization" I had read about on the insurance website. She explained what that was, I said I wanted it authorized before I went ahead with any treatment because I was scared it wouldn't be. She said it almost always is but that she can put that through for me right away and they would notify me or I could notify them when it gets approved depending on who finds out first.

So the first consultation went well. WAY better than when I went to the last one at 17. I'm glad I looked into who I went to beforehand. I didn't want to risk seeing someone I didn't like, even if it was just for one time.

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#3 Post by YellowDogTooth »

Records Appointment

I was able to view my insurance decision online, once it was approved (approx. 2 weeks later) I gave the orthodontist office a call to let them know it had be approved as well as to set up my records appointment. I had also received an overview of my consult from the orthodontist via mail by this time. It included initial diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and prognosis.

The records appointment was set up for as soon as the office opened again after Christmas, the receptionist explained what would happen (x-rays and impressions) and then said we would set up the appointment to get my braces bonded for a week after that in the morning.

The records appointment was approx. 45 minutes long. When I first came in I had to sign a lot of papers. 26 pages of 3 signatures were for insurance purposes (insurance pays monthly so they do those ahead of time). There were also some informed consent forms which tell you all of the potential risks of treatment. And then at the back just saying you consent to treatment and also consent for your photographs to be used for teaching/research purposes. I didn't sign the last one because I didn't really feel comfortable with my photograph being shared without me knowing exactly to who. They had no problem with that not being signed.

Then I got two x-rays, both done by the orthodontist assistant. One was a panoramic x-ray where you stand and bite down on a piece of plastic with your front teeth, it also has 3 plastic prongs which hold your head while the machine does a 360 around your head.

The other was a cephalometric x-ray which shows the bones of the skull, spine, and teeth. You stand for that one as well and 2 side things go slightly into your ears. It looks scary! It was fine though, the x-ray itself moves along the sides of your head. I found these x-rays more comfortable than x-rays I got at the dentist as a kid.

Then I sat back down in the chair and got impressions (moulds) of my teeth taken. For this the assistant mixed up some kind of putty then checked to see that the impression tray would fit, she ended up needing a smaller one.

She put the putty into the tray and stuck it in the upper part of my mouth. She held it there for 1 minute. She checked to make sure it was dry by pressing on areas of it and making sure they were firm. You can feel it slowly firming up in your mouth. I personally didn't feel the sensation to gag at all, for the upper or lower impressions. Once its hard it is kinda stuck, the assistant wiggled it up and down and popped it off. It felt like it would be stuck but she had no problem getting it off. The same was repeated with the lower teeth. The putty material is about the same as the texture of bubblegum. Its like biting into a giant ball of bubble gum that covers all your teeth and the roof of your mouth. The taste was pretty neutral.

Once impressions were done I was told I could go to the sink and brush my teeth etc. The sink had paper cups, tissues, and individually wrapped toothbrushes. Pieces of the impression putty material was sticking to some of my teeth still and had managed to get on my face. Rinsing with water wasn't enough and I did need to use a toothbrush to brush it off my teeth fully.

Then I came back and the assistant basically just reconfirmed my braces bonding date for the following week, let me know I would be eating soft foods for a bit after that so to enjoy all the hard breads and candy until then. I also took a picture of the colours I could choose from for braces, that way I had the week to make my decision.

Both the initial consultation and records appointment were free. I also made an appointment right after my records appointment that day to get my teeth cleaned before the braces went on the following week.

I've posted pics of the the x-ray machine and type of x-rays it takes. I found all these pics online, none of them are mine or of me, just to give anyone here reading who hasn't done this before an idea of what I'm talking about.
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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#4 Post by jfriend33 »

Dude. Myofunctional therapy is amazing. It has been THE saving grace for successful treatment.

My open bite actually closed 1.5mm on its own even before braces! If you can afford it, and it's close, u have to do it.

With open bites u need to find out the culprit. Why do you have it? If you know you tongue thrust, a habit appliance may work but why bother risking worsening a problem with them?

You can be cured of the problem in a dozen visits. Once a week. You will relearn how to eat chew swallow speak (a little) etc.

Do you mouth breathe? If so you need a referral to an ENT. You may need your tonsils and adenoids removed? I'm 31 now and luckily this second time around treatment my tonsils have shrank enough. I honestly think they have become less inflamed because I am breathing through my nose more.

Not trying to tell you what to do or anything. But for me to feel comfortable I had to seek out a teaching clinic at a university that uses cutting edge techniques.

Read my intro if you want more info. Post some pics if you want to track your progress.

Life is full of turns. My open bite got a little worse before it got better. Just part of my back molars settling in the right place.

Just remember any orthodontist will treat you. They will take your money and get you ok results. But you want results that will last a lifetime. So I'd highly recommend the myofunctional therapy, in addition to some tongue tamers bonded behind your two upper front teeth and your left and right lower front four teeth. And definitely consider permanent bonded upper and lower retainers when finished.

I'd also ask them now what happens if you relapse? Will they treat you for free? What is their rate of success in treating your condition... Etc.

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#5 Post by xpx1 »

good progress, very encouraging

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#6 Post by OpenBiter »

Please update us about your progress.

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#7 Post by Anna5 »

Good luck with your treatment!
Maybe you can post some pictures of your smile? (but of course only if you want to...) We all love to see progress pictures!

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#8 Post by YellowDogTooth »

Thanks so much!

I will update soon. I'm so bad with that kind of stuff! I'll be active and then disappear and then come back.

I had a really nice thing done up in photoshop comparing my before/after pics of the first week but then I realized I had been stretching the pics when resizing them (making them look all pretty, easily comparable) so it would make certain things look off. So now I have to redo it. I really wanted to update in order of things happening, but I may have to forgo that as it just doesn't seem to be happening! I'm approaching my first adjustment in a little over a week already!

I really appreciate all the information jfriend!! I am definitely looking into that and have been for a while. My orthodontist actually recommended I look into it and got me the card of someone in the area who practices it. Unfortunately some major unexpected emergency expenses came up literally the week before getting braces, so I can't afford the speech sessions right now. I do have a few years though and am definitely planning on doing some sessions before getting braces off.

I do mouth breathe, but its most definitely habit. I have no problem breathing through my nose at all and I doubt I ever did. I just prefer my mouth, feels more comfortable/right. I have been working on that though and it is improving. I often catch myself breathing through my nose now rather than my mouth without even trying! I have triangle elastics near the front of my mouth which has helped I think, it often hurts at first to keep my mouth open so I keep it closed and don't like breathing through closed teeth haha.

One thing though, when breathing through my nose, sometimes the air is so cold it hurts my nostrils....is that normal? Like then it hurts to breathe, mouth breathing this happens less although it can still happen even then. The air is actually cold when this happens, near freezing temps. but not quite that cold. Just chilly I guess. Possibly happens to everyone, no clue.

I really do appreciate all the info though. I am planning to get bonded retainers upper and lower in addition to removable. The issue definitely is tongue posture, it rests against my upper front teeth quite hard. I do have a narrow mouth probably due to this. I never rested my tongue properly, I'm working on that too, and surprisingly it has been coming along very slowly.

One major issue is I wake up with my tongue against my upper front teeth and I sleep on my stomach only so possibly tongue naturally comes forward?

I'll try to update soon! With pics!

Thanks again everyone!

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#9 Post by YellowDogTooth »

Getting Braces On

This update happened about 2 months ago now, so I'm finally getting around to posting it!

The appointment was January 13th at 9:30am. My orthodontist only puts on braces in the mornings apparently, I was told he likes his patients to be "fresh," when they get their braces on. I'm assuming he means not falling asleep haha. I would have preferred the afternoon though, mostly because I could have gone to work then....yeah I actually really like my job haha.

I had granola bars for breakfast since I wasn't sure if I'd be really hungry later and able to eat.

Anyway I made it to the appointment right on time. I immediately was directed to a chair. Have I mentioned my orthodontist office has a really cool view? It really is a cool place. I love the staff too, seriously their receptionist is just awesome, I love her!

The assistant (also awesome) came over and made small talk for a few minutes then explained the "scary," looking equipment to me. I being a super anxious person had already looked all of it up haha so I already knew what it was all for. I listened quietly anyway, better to get more information if I can! I was definitely really nervous at this time. Initially I had planned on colours, I was talking about getting rainbow at some point. Made a huge deal of it at the records appointment...and even before when choosing the type of braces, saying how I specifically wanted colours. But at this point I was backing out of that haha. Thinking I'm going to go all silver the first time, just until I'm used to it...dont' want something too noticeable, etc.

The equipment consisted of some metal tools like scrapers and also things that looked like needles, but they weren't (I had definitely already made sure NO needles were involved so again, I wasn't alarmed haha). The needle looking thing is just the etching gel. The scariest looking thing was actually the cheek retractor in my opinion haha. I'll post a pic of it. I figured it would be hard to talk, but it actually is more like impossible with that thing in. It pulls back your lips and cheeks, and has a holder for the tongue. It has a suction thing connected to it via some tubes so your mouth is kept dry the entire time. So far I disliked that the most. I mistakenly put my purse with my phone in it on a chair in the corner. So no pictures and also, no way to communicate later when the thing slightly dislodged and hurt for the next 45 minutes. I could just make sounds but there was literally no way to make words of any kind....had my phone been in my hand I at least could have typed out "cheek retractor dislodged when dr. made me laugh and now it hurts." Keep your phone in your hand.

After getting the retractor in the assistant polished my teeth and then put the etching gel on. After that I had to wait a bit for the orthodontist, he was seeing other patients in the 2 chairs beside me throughout this time.

The orthodontist placed the brackets on the first half of the lower teeth. He would place one at a time and then use a special light to make the glue harden quickly. He is hilarious and talks the whole time and makes jokes. Like I said, he made me laugh so much that I actually lightly dislodged the retractor at one point and then it dug into the gum behind my lower teeth for the next 45 minutes.

After that the assistant came back and held the light on each bracket for a longer period of time. Then the orthodontist came back and repeated the process with the other half of my lower teeth. This was totally painless and I couldn't tell the difference as to which teeth had brackets and which didn't.

The process was repeated for the top as well.

After that was all done the orthodontist held the light on each tooth again, and at some point the assistant took that job over and held the light for the last bit.

Then they finally took out the cheek retractor! The best part was that thing being taken out. I hated it, especially after 2 hours my lips were very dry (wear chapstick I guess...I don't like it though) and towards the end I started feeling like I was going to gag a bit. Only slightly. Plus like I said, the thing had started to dig into me after I laughed.

It felt pretty strange. Bulky under my lips. Not really uncomfortable and not painful. Just weird.

The assistant asked me to bite down a few times and I could feel some of the glue on the bottom of a tooth. She looked and said that was just part of my tooth. I'm like, no way, that was never there before. She scraped at it slightly and again said it was part of my tooth. After more of me insisting it wasn't she scrapped it off and it was part of the glue. She said it was the exact colour of my tooth haha. Don't know if thats good or bad. The glue seems pretty white...so I guess its good. My front teeth are not very white, but my back molars are for some reason. I think the front stained from coffee and coke.

Then I chose my colours. Saying how I was going to get colours but now was thinking just silver. But the assistant actually encouraged me to get some colour, since I had been so enthusiastic about it before. I went with my initial choice of blue and silver. At first I said metallic blue and metallic silver, then I changed my mind to midnight blue (glows in the dark). My orthodontist yelled from across the room that it doesn't really glow and he and a kid had tested it out haha. I got it anyway.

The wire was put in. I got a very light bendy one. A "starter" wire. My very back molar on each side were not wired (4 in total). As they wire was tied in I started to feel the pressure. Afterwards the assistant said it looked good and gave me a mirror. It was about what I expected it to look like I guess. I liked the colours.

My orthodontist wanted me to start elastics. I was given elastics in a triangle formation on either side. They go from the top canine (3rd tooth) to the bottom 3rd and 4th tooth. The assistant showed me how to put them in and take them out. She had me practice which was awkward for me but whatever. The elastics came with a little tool to use, but I find it easier to use my fingers.

The receptionist said they looked cool and she liked the colours. She said how she was surprised when she heard me say all silver at first because I had been so excited about colours at the previous appointments. She said she was glad I got some colour.

The next appointment was scheduled for 8 weeks later.

Now pics. The little dots on the braces are used when the brackets are put on to line them up correctly. They come off I was told in about a week. I scratched them off the front teeth pretty quickly using my fingers and a pen cap haha. All of them are gone now (8 weeks later) and have been for a while.
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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#10 Post by YellowDogTooth »

First Few Days with Braces

The first few days actually haven't been too bad. The first day I was a little sore but the second day was worse. When I got home from the orthodontist my husband was there since he had taken the day off (well worked from home) to be with me. He made me Macaroni and Cheese for lunch. No problems eating it. I was sore but it was soft. I had a bun with it too. That hurt too much to bite into although I did the first few times, then I just ripped small pieces with my fingers.

I had a small mcdonalds cheeseburger before dinner since we had to go out to take the dog to the vet around 7pm. I used the tear it apart with my fingers technique again haha. A bit sore to eat, nothing horrible.

Had hamburger helper for dinner...so delish! Getting more painful but it was do-able.

The next day hurt more. I had soup and buns the next day. And a banana. I can't remember what I had for dinner.

Overall I didn't really eat any differently than I usually do. I think I had steak the third day or something. It just took longer to eat and hurt.

The pain diminished further as the week went on. I think I was mostly pain free within a week.

I never took any painkillers :) And I only used wax when the actual end of the wire began making a hole in my cheek. The pain wasn't horrible, it wasn't non-existant. I can't tell if most people would have used painkillers or not. My brother and dad have a really high pain tolerance, I don't know if I do too or if I"m actually just stubborn and insist on toughing it out. Maybe both haha.
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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#11 Post by YellowDogTooth »

2 Days Later - A Wire Needs to be Clipped

So within 2 days the back bottom bracket has the end of the wire sticking out far enough that it is digging into my cheek and making a hole. I used some wax but it comes off when I eat. My husband told me to call them and they will clip it. I was just going to leave it. Seemed like it was normal haha. I called them and they made an appointment for me for after work that day.

I came in and the assistant clipped it. It got clipped a little short and the wire felt tighter on that side after that. Took about 15 minutes total. If that. No more poking! Yay!

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Re: 28 y/o Getting Braces for Open Bite/Crossbite

#12 Post by YellowDogTooth »

8 Days Later - Upper Back Bracket Comes Off

I woke up this morning and went to the kitchen. I was getting a drink and noticed something between my upper lip and gum at the back. Something hard. Hoping it wasn't a piece of my tooth I picked it out. It was a bracket.

It must have come off in my sleep. It was at the very back and I remember they had trouble getting it on in the first place. They actually ended up leaving it and coming back and doing it at the very end of the appointment. So I think maybe it wasn't glued on very well.

I called the office and they said to just bring it with to my next appointment and they would glue it back on at that time. It wasn't really a big deal because the wire wasn't hooked up to it anyway.

Some of the glue was still on my tooth and bugged me for the next 7 weeks. I was always feeling it with my tongue and/or picking at it!

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