Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

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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littlething
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:19 pm

Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#1 Post by littlething » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:55 pm

Hi everyone! New here and so glad to find this site, as this braces thing can sometimes seem daunting and overwhelming.

A bit about me...
I'm a 30 year old female from California, and have had severely crowded teeth all my life. My parents never really took me to the dentist growing up, and my mom would always comment that she needed to take me to get braces, but that never happened. Meanwhile, my mouth was turning into a giant mess, and as my teeth got worse, the more terrified and embarrassed I was of seeing a dentist.

Last summer, my boyfriend, who had seen over the years that I was VERY self-conscious of my teeth, gave me the push and made an appointment for me with an orthodontist. My initial consult was at the end of June. Not surprisingly, he said that while orthodontic treatment would definitely be beneficial to me, I had a lot of decay in my mouth that would need to be taken care of first, and referred me to a general dentist.

I was pretty terrified to get all the work done, but that dentist that I was referred to has been amazing, and he and his staff have truly gone above and beyond for me at every step. He also has a great working relationship with my orthodontist, and they've collaborated together in coming up with a joint treatment plan for me (another plus is that they are across the street from each other). Now all the restorative work is done, I've had two more re-examination appointments with my orthodontist, the diagnostic records are done, and FINALLY I have a treatment plan and the all-clear for braces - pending extractions (I have a couple molars broken down to the gumline that need to come out, and we will be shifting the wisdom teeth in their place, and a lateral incisor in the front that also needs to come out and then having canine substitution done). There is talk of getting the braces on immediately after, perhaps even that same day, or the day after - eeek.

I have my consultation for the extractions coming up on Monday. They will be done by a specialist who works out of my dentist's office, which is great because they will be done in a familiar setting and I like that office (which will help because I'm still freaked out about the extractions)...but he only works out of there twice a month. Add to that that my orthodontist's office is only open 3 days a week, and my own crazy schedule (I've somehow have a crazy March coming up), and this scheduling thing has been frustrating. So, I think I'm looking at getting everything done and braces on in April.

A part of me is still really nervous to start, but the other part of is SUPER excited to start. I never thought I would get to this point, so it feels good to FINALLY get there!

Looking forward to hearing your stories, and sharing mine as well!

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#2 Post by littlething » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:59 pm

Forgot to add...I'll have full upper and lower braces for about 30 months. Opting for the ceramic braces. Rubber bands will be a huge part of my treatment plan, and I may possibly need some TADs to control the movement from shifting my bottom left wisdom tooth forward and keep my bite in check. We are doing canine substitution to move tooth #6 into the spot left by #7, so some reshaping (and possibly bonding) will be done. Since I'm only doing canine substitution on one side, my midline will shift to the right a bit...but right now, my midline is slightly to the left, anyway. So not perfect, but considering that I've hated my teeth all my life, I'll take it.

TheProfessor
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#3 Post by TheProfessor » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:07 pm

Welcome to the club! I had a similar story to yours and didn't convince myself to overcome my dental fears and get my teeth straightened out until my late 30s. I'm now close to the end of 2 years in braces and I'm so happy I did this for myself! You should be proud of yourself for taking the plunge! Keep us posted on your progress... :thumbsup:
Cheers,
Prof
Braces installed on March 25, 2014: Damon clears on top and metal on bottom.
I had braces for 25 months!

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#4 Post by littlething » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:06 pm

[quote="TheProfessor"]Welcome to the club! I had a similar story to yours and didn't convince myself to overcome my dental fears and get my teeth straightened out until my late 30s. I'm now close to the end of 2 years in braces and I'm so happy I did this for myself! You should be proud of yourself for taking the plunge! Keep us posted on your progress... :thumbsup:
Cheers,
Prof[/quote]

Thank you, Professor! I looked through your story, and WOW - my mind is blown by your transformation. Your teeth look amazing! I constantly have to talk myself out of the second thoughts that creep in...mostly because there's still so much time until the braces go on, and I tend to worry myself into a ball of anxiety the more I have to think about it - in the end, deep down, I know I'll be okay. But seeing that really inspires me to go through with the whole thing. :) Just even getting all the restorative work done and seeing the change in me after that (my front teeth were pretty bad) has made sooooo much of a difference - and my teeth are nowhere near perfect!! (besides the crowding, I still have a funky looking front tooth - it is coming out, but my dentist did a temporary cosmetic fix on it in the meantime since he knew it would be awhile until everything got finalized) That feeling also makes me determined to go through with it. Of course, I'm still really nervous about the whole thing, but I know I have a great team behind me, and I am SUPER excited for the end result!

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#5 Post by littlething » Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:25 pm

Had my consult for the extractions this morning. The oral surgeon doing them seems like a really nice guy, and all the reviews about him speak of positive experiences. He works out of my dentist's office twice a month, which helps because I am comfortable in that office, and any little bit to lessen my anxiety helps. Surprisingly, I am super calm about this whole thing at the moment. He said that in a scale of 1-10 of difficulty, they will be a 2. The teeth that are broken at the gumline are apparently really easy to take out, but the decayed front tooth might be more challenging because it might crack. Yikes.

These are happening at the end of April, due to my crazy schedule the next month, and because he's only there twice a month.

The bracing was originally supposed to be scheduled around the extractions so that they happen right before the braces get put on. I had already made the appointments for spacers and bracing last month, but figured I'd have to push them back to April.

Not so. Looks like the braces are going to come on first, on the day that I originally scheduled the for. This means that they are happening a month earlier than I was preparing myself for! I am both super nervous and super excited about this. I've waited so long to get to this point, but now it feels like it's happening so fast!!

Also due for a cleaning a couple weeks before the braces come on, and hoping that everything is looking good.

In the meantime, I've decided to create a list of things I can't eat for the next 2 1/2 years and binge eat those things for the next month - HAHA!

nicolie825
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#6 Post by nicolie825 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:46 am

Congrats on making the steps to get braces! The hard part is making the decision to just do it and follow through. Once you do that and start seeing progress, it makes everything worth it. My story is similar to yours. Needed braces as a kid and it just never happened because of money. Neglected my teeth for years and was scared of the dentist until my boyfriend at the time encouraged me to go when I was in my late 20s. Got my teeth and gums healthy enough for braces and it was the best thing I ever did.

Can't wait to see how your journey pans out!

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#7 Post by littlething » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:41 pm

[quote="nicolie825"]Congrats on making the steps to get braces! The hard part is making the decision to just do it and follow through. Once you do that and start seeing progress, it makes everything worth it. My story is similar to yours. Needed braces as a kid and it just never happened because of money. Neglected my teeth for years and was scared of the dentist until my boyfriend at the time encouraged me to go when I was in my late 20s. Got my teeth and gums healthy enough for braces and it was the best thing I ever did.

Can't wait to see how your journey pans out![/quote]

Thanks, Nicolie! The follow through is sometimes hard - I still have second thoughts and have to talk myself out of them. I know it's just the anxiety talking, and I KNOW that this is all going to be worth it in the end. I think reading other people's stories on here and seeing their transformations really is starting to motivate me, though :)

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#8 Post by littlething » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:58 pm

Well, spacers went on this morning! Am not a happy camper at the moment. The floss got stuck when the first one went in and I thought, "well, this is gonna be FUNNNN." She had to get my orthodontist to help put in the second one and that one was NOT fun. Wasn't really sure what to expect with the soreness, and it was uncomfortable almost as soon as they went in, but it was an hour or so after when they started to get really sore. I have 8 in total, but the right side hurts the most because the top right quadrant has 3, and the others only have 1 or 2. Popped a couple of Advils, and they are helping, but I can't bite down on my molars at all, and my front teeth don't fit together very well so it is driving me insane and I can't chew. Had some soup for lunch but I am still starving. Bah. Any good suggestions for food?

They told me that tomorrow will be the worst, and it should gradually start getting better after that. I am going out of town for a wedding this weekend and HOPING that things will be much better by then.

This too shall pass, I suppose?

Braces on a week from today! Now that I feel soreness in my mouth, and now that I've forked over $2k for my down payment and signed my contract, it all feels real now.

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#9 Post by littlething » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:47 pm

Well those spacers were NOT fun. I spent the last week miserable because I could barely eat and I was tired of eating just soup and bananas. At best, it was really uncomfortable, and at the worst, certain teeth were throbbing. Needless to say, I took a bunch of Advil throughout the week. It got better during the weekend, which was great, since I was at a friend's wedding and I could actually eat (some of) the dinner! Had a bit of a reprieve, but now...

I AM BRACED!

Braces went on about 2 hours ago. The fitting of the molar bands was really uncomfortable for me and seemingly took forever. After that, the whole thing was not so bad. The orthodontist started reshaping the canine in preparation for the eventual canine substitution once I get my extractions done next month. I've spent the last couple of months staring at that tooth and wondering if it would be too short/look weird, but it actually looks pretty great, and he is going to work on it a bit more later on. (I still may actually still have my dentist do bonding on it anyway, since a) I think he will do an amazing job and b) I still think it's a tad too short.)

I am biting on the outer hooks from the molar bands which is really annoying because I can't really bite down. This will clear once the teeth start moving, but I am annoyed that I will probably have trouble chewing until that happens - grrrr. The hooks on the inside of the bands feel really uncomfortable and sometimes makes my gag reflex act up.

I felt immediate pulling and pressure once the wires were in, and it has been getting progressively tighter as time goes on. I imagine I will be pretty sore very soon (perhaps time to go pop an Advil). They told me the soreness may last 2 weeks, which I am NOT looking forward to. Mostly, everything feels a bit clunky and it is awkward to talk...or SMILE! I feel like I can't smile normally anymore, haha. My boyfriend says that he can barely tell that I have braces on.

Some pictures...

Here's a before & after of the restorative work so you can see what I started with...
Image

And with the braces...
Image

Image

My first adjustment is on April 25, same day as my extractions. Sounds like that will be one uncomfortable week!

Chippy3000
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#10 Post by Chippy3000 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:02 pm

Congrats!

I found the first three days were the worst! It's two weeks now and it's so much better. Chewing and everything! I hope that you don't feel pain for too long. I think it's the one pain I just can't cope with!

The doubt has pretty much vanished now. I barely notice them now.

Hope this helps get you through the tough bit :) it will be worth it and you'll be surprised at how things start progressing.

Good luck with the extractions.

X

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#11 Post by littlething » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:10 pm

Thanks, Chippy! Glad to know it gets better :)

Day 2 update: I feel constant pressure in my teeth, but not so much pain UNLESS something touches my teeth. Then I want to scream. So brushing and flossing are painful, and I still can't chew anything. Am also still biting down on the hooks from my molar bands anyway, so either way, can't chew much. Been subsisting on a LOT of soup! We went for lunch for my coworker's birthday today, and tofu was my saving grace (we went for Chinese). But I absolutely could not bite down on anything else (and my coworkers noticed I was really struggling). The brackets still feel bulky, and talking/smiling is still super awkward. I don't feel them rubbing against my cheeks so much, I feel indentations, but no sores or discomfort. I felt the inside hooks on my bands kind of rubbed up against my tongue, so I have used a little bit of wax there.

The thing that I'm struggling with is that the home care part seems super overwhelming. My routine before I got braced took pretty long every day already, and now it takes even longer! Brushing takes forever, flossing takes forever (and is awkward), I've added a proxy brush to my routine...I also got myself a Waterpik which arrived right in time and that thing was a lifesaver last night. The amount of food debris that came out in the sink was pretty gross. LOL. It all seems like so much to keep up with every single day - for 2 1/2 years! I'm also afraid of failing at this or that I'm doing something wrong and that I'm going to get yelled at or my teeth are going to crumble while I have these things on (especially since I had so much decay before and am just now getting back on track), and reading my hygiene instructions saying "YOU MUST DO THIS OR ELSE XYZ MAY HAPPEN"...it's overwhelming.

2 1/2 years with these things on seems like soooooo long. I know that time will pass by in an instant, but still.

But in other news, I already see a tiny bit of movement in my bottom teeth, so that is exciting!

metalliKa
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#12 Post by metalliKa » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:21 pm

Hi! Welcome!

Yes, the cleaning routine does take longer than what you're used to. I remember I had to just floss with regular floss for the first few days because I couldn't get to the store to buy the threader floss. Boy, that was a pain! But brushing and flossing will get easier. I still struggle every now and then because all my teeth are engaged and it's harder to floss the molars.
Offenses: Skeletal and Dental Class 2 malocclusion
Sentence: 12-15 months
Jailed: 3/24/15
Released: 5/24/16
Life behind brackets: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... =9&t=48554

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#13 Post by littlething » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:11 am

Thanks MetalliKa. Glad to know that it does get easier.

Tomorrow will be a week in braces. I am still struggling a bit.

The soreness peaked on day 4 and 5, when my teeth were just sore even without anything touching them. Random teeth would start throbbing, like they did the first few days with the spacers. Now it's back to soreness when there is pressure on the teeth, so brushing and flossing hurt, and chewing is still impossible. Add to the fact that my teeth have started to feel loose, so combined with the soreness, even biting into a banana is impossible. Soooo it's been a lot of soup (SOOOOO MUCH SOUP) and mushy food (i.e. mashed potatoes) for me. I can also kind of eat salmon and rice, but I do more swallowing than I do chewing. I think the hardest part for me has been the fact that I haven't been able to eat much - it is driving me insane. We are off to Denver this weekend, and since I plan my trips around food, I am hoping I regain SOME eating ability - I'll settle for being able to eat pasta!

I also have sores all around my mouth now, and they hurt. They are mostly around where the hooks and tubes are around my molar bands. My ortho's office gave me a sample of Rincinol in my goodie bag, and I will be stocking up. I didn't use much wax my first few days, but have gone through 2 containers of it since Friday. At first, it didn't seem worth the trouble to put it on and take it off all the time, but now I need it. Ordered a ton more on Amazon. It almost seems as if I basically use my Prime membership for ordering dental doodads!

I also managed to pop off a ligature while flossing the other day, so it's back to the ortho for me. I find that I keep getting the floss caught on the bracket and it snags...it's sometimes pretty painful. Any tips to avoid that?

Anyway, the good news that is I am seeing a tiny bit of progress so that's encouraging! (and makes dealing with the discomfort a lot better) You can't really see it much in the photos, but my top central incisors are starting to unravel a bit...when I got the filling to fix the chip in the left one, it created an illusion of one side being longer than the other based on what angle you were looking at them at. I've noticed that is almost gone now. The left lateral looks a little bit straighter to me too (the wire looks straighter there). There's also a super slanty bottom tooth that is less slanty now (I noticed that one had moved on the second day).
Image

Image
(not sure why my bottom teeth look super stained here - I swear they aren't!)
Very, very subtle movement, but I'm still excited! There were several moments over the last week when I kept thinking "WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MYSELF" and wanted to give up because it all felt like too much. But seeing these little changes really does motivate me, and make me happy that I did it.

Jdizle
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#14 Post by Jdizle » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:56 pm

Looking good! :)

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littlething
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Re: Braces at 30 - FINALLY!

#15 Post by littlething » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:19 pm

Well, today marks 2 weeks since being braced!

Things have FINALLY settled down for me. I would say that the first 10 days were super rough, and it has gotten better since the weekend. (Great timing, since I was also on vacation and could actually enjoy the food I was eating!) There is still a tiny bit of soreness, especially when there is pressure against the teeth, and random teeth hurt at random times. Still can't bite into much, and my teeth definitely feel loose.Flossing still hurts in certain spots. The brackets still feel really awkward. But other than that, things have gotten MUCH better. The canker sores have finally healed, and I finally weaned myself off wax (for the time being anyway). Chewing is still a bit uncomfortable, but I am eating actual food, and that makes me happy. I think the worst part of the whole adjustment period was not being able to eat much.

I will say that the adjustment period was super rough for me. It was discouraging at times. I was prepared for discomfort (and wouldn't shut up about how much I thought I would be in pain), but it was completely different than how I thought it would go. On the roughest days, I was on the verge of tears and it took me every ounce of willpower to not pick up the phone to call my ortho and beg him to take these things off. I second-guessed myself a lot, and was afraid that things wouldn't get better. But they do! And seeing little changes here and there kept me motivated to keep going through with it.

Still seeing my top front teeth straighten out, but they are subtle changes since last week (so I won't post a photo). The central incisors on top are no longer overlapping, which is awesome!

Am still overwhelmed by the hygiene routine, but am keeping up with it. So far, I've been brushing 4-5 times a day (depends on whether or not I eat breakfast) - first thing in the morning, after every meal, and before bed. I will usually use a proxy brush after lunch too. My bedtime routine takes close to 30 minutes - argh. I use a rubber gum tip, Waterpik, proxy brush, floss (with a threader), brush, and mouthwash. Sometimes it seems excessive, but I had so much decay before this that I'm determined to prevent that from happening again.

Anyway, I get a 2 week reprieve and then it's extractions AND my first adjustment on the 25th. Am not looking forward to it, but I will survive. Super nervous about the extractions, but those teeth need to go, and I'm ready to FINALLY get them over with. That will finally finish off everything on my dentist's original treatment plan, and that will feel good!

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