Braces at 41 - this is happening!

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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41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#1 Post by 41Braced » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:17 pm

Hello,
Where to begin... well let's start with I'm 41 and getting braces for the first time (appointment is next Friday, Jan 26th). Growing up, my parents were extremely poor. So doctors were only for absolute emergencies and I had no dental care whatsoever. I don't blame my parents, they did their best and certainly made up for their lack of money/insurance with lots of love and support. But man, my teeth. It's a rough state of affairs. I have never smiled with my mouth open, or at least not ever since I can actively remember, I guess because I'm so self conscious about it. I have a really good job and great dental insurance so I should have gotten this taken care of a long time ago, but I was so scared to even go to the dentist. I preferred to just try to keep my mouth closed/hidden as much as possible. Which sounds silly and irrational, but honestly, that is where my head was at for a very long time. Then I met my SO and he convinced me to do two things no one else in my adult life has been capable of: 1. He got me to fall in love and move in with him. 2. He talked me into going to the dentist. And that is how the braces journey began, really about 3 months ago when I first stepped foot into my dentist's office. The good news is, my teeth are relatively healthy for not having any dental care. I did have to have one root canal, two fillings, and a gum graft over one tooth (which I'm still in recovery from and could easily write a whole chapter on that topic!). But next Friday is the big day to get braces. It is hard to imagine a world in which I have straight, pretty teeth. I find myself thinking that it will be really awkward and feel unnatural to smile with my mouth open or openly laugh or do all the things that most people take for granted. I've controlled and denied myself this pleasure for so long it's just going to be weird. But hopefully a happy weird? My ortho says expect 2.5 years of treatment time. I'm in it for the long haul I guess. But I'm so glad I found this site, it helps to have a community for support and venting and commiserating. More to come! :)

darabobeara
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:30 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#2 Post by darabobeara » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:07 pm

Hi!
I'm sort of in the same situation as you. My family is very poor and I had never been to the dentist until this past summer. I am eighteen. I have Medicaid and I was able to be approved to get my braces for free. It is such a blessing. I had to have two root canals, eight filings, and two extractions before I could have my braces put on. I felt a little sad that I was getting my braces on years after everyone else my age but it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing as long as you're happy. I've always felt so bad about my smile and my appearance, it is really sad that so many people take going to the dentist for granted. I have no idea how long I will have my braces, I got them in October but I already feel so much more confident. I feel like having braces gives me a sense of self acceptance and it feels so cool. They are really all that I had ever wanted and knowing that my teeth are going to be straight is a dream come true! Good luck on your dental journey! Oh and I have a few tips:
Take Advil before
Drink water before
Bring Chapstick
It's like a walk in the park, I promise!

41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#3 Post by 41Braced » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:46 am

Dara,
It is so nice to hear I’m not alone and thank you for the advice! I will be doing all suggested activities. :) Also, I like that braces have given you self-acceptance and confidence. I sure hope I feel the same way at some point. Right now, I’m kind of in dread-mode. I just don’t want it to hurt and I think about what people will think, oh well. I’m going through with it regardless! I will let you know how it goes and please keep me posted on you too!

EmilyTravels
Posts: 318
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:01 am

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#4 Post by EmilyTravels » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:13 am

Good luck to both of you and thanks for sharing your stories. You are going to love having pretty teeth and being able to laugh and smile without trying to hide your teeth. If you've had root canals, you've been through the worst of it already and the rest will be a piece of cake!

Emily
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41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#5 Post by 41Braced » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:31 am

Thanks Emily for the support! I thought the root canal was not bad at all. This makes me optimistic about dealing with braces. We will see in 5 more days. :tingrin:

41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#6 Post by 41Braced » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:43 am

I just found the diagnostic findings in my office and thought I'd throw them on here:
Facial Profile is well balanced
Lip posture is normal
Symmetry of the face appears normal
Upper front teeth are left of center with the facial midline by 1mm
Lower front teeth are right of center by 1 mm
Back teeth are in a normal relationship
All teeth present are permanent teeth
Moderate crowding of the upper teeth
Upper and lower front teeth position are normal
Excessive overlapping of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth
Tooth #7 is in crossbite
Tooth #10 is in crossbite
Presence of worn enamel
Gum tissue recession
Bone around the teeth has been lost

Treatment recommendations:
Full braces on upper and lower teeth
Elastics (rubber bands) will be used to correct the bite
The restorative dental treatment that is planned can be done either before or after orthodontic treatment is finished (mostly done but will need a few more things done afterwards)
A referral to a gum specialist (periodontist) is necessary (ended up getting a gum graft in early January)

It's not that I didn't already know this, but when reading through it, it sure feels like a lot of stuff to correct, which doesn't feel great. I just want Friday (day of bracing) to get here so I can get it over with and start to try to focus on getting through this 2.5 year process.

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Ali
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:57 am

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#7 Post by Ali » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:52 pm

Congrats on taking these steps! You'll see...pretty soon you'll be smiling and showing your teeth even though you have braces!

Don't forget to take photos so that you can compare before, during, and after!

Vega
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:32 am

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#8 Post by Vega » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:45 pm

Those 2.5 years will fly by! There will be times you forget you have them on. :wink:
I'm very comfortable with my braces, and I never had any comments except positive ones. (okay I had a 'what are you doing to yourself'- one)
Good luck! :D

Oh and for a tip: get a water-pik, that thing is great!

41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#9 Post by 41Braced » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:34 pm

Yesterday was the big day and I finally have braces on. It's really, really weird. I think I may have said that 5 times after I was all done. But, let me start by explaining in detail what happened.

My appointment was at 7:30 a.m. and of course I couldn't sleep the night before so I was pretty tired when I got there. Dr. R's receptionist welcomed me and as we filled out the financial paperwork she told me how excited she was for me and how great it's going to be once I'm done and that braces on adults are "sooooo in right now". I was a bit skeptical about her last comment but she is so darn perky and upbeat that it was kind of hard not to feel some excitement. So after she sufficiently pumped me up (is she paid to do that? lol), I confidently strolled in back with the assistant and got my x-rays done.

After that, I sat down in the dentist's chair and the assistant walked me through the process. Prior to my bonding appointment (during my consultation) I had already decided on traditional metal braces. It probably wouldn't be my first choice but I'm a somewhat complex case and Dr. R said that it was the best choice for me for the quickest/best results. But at my bonding appointment, I got to pick between silver and gold. I actually went with gold braces as they aren't a shiny gold, more of a muted dull gold. During my consultation, I got to see a few pictures of previous patients in various different types of braces and the gold braces really seem to blend into your teeth way better than the silver for some reason.

Once I selected the braces type, she put some kind of polishing stuff on my teeth (similar to what they put on your teeth when you get your teeth cleaned). And then she put in the cheek expanders. My mouth in general is pretty small so the regular sized one pinched too much and they got a smaller one for me. I'm so thankful for that! They also put some plastic thing over my tongue to keep my mouth dry/suction out any saliva. This sucks way more than the cheek expanders as it kept cutting into the bottom of my mouth. I couldn't figure out what to do with my tongue and I kept wanting to swallow but couldn't really. She put some gel glue stuff on my teeth (smelly!) and applied some of the brackets, then Dr. R came by to check them and then they bonded them. This process went on for a bit until they were done. I kept thinking, OMG OMG OMG what the hell is in my mouth? But it wasn't painful at all.

Then I got to select the rubber band color. I went with pearl. It just sort of blends in to your teeth/braces. I like the look of it. I found out at this point in time that they didn't put brackets on all my teeth. 1. I have to have molar bands and there wasn't enough space to put them on so I was getting spacers on my back teeth (more to come on that!). I wonder why they didn't give me spacers before the bonding appointment? 2. Also, due to crowding, some of my front teeth didn't get brackets. My other teeth need to move first to give them space and then they will get brackets.

After that they put on the wire for those teeth that had brackets. This when I started to notice a tight feeling, but it wasn't too bad at that point in time. The front teeth that didn't get brackets have wire going over them. I really don't like this. It looks awful and feels weird.

After the wire, I got spacers put on my molars. My teeth are so tight that they couldn't use the rubber ones so I got metal ones. It didn't hurt putting them in but I started to feel an achy feeling very quickly afterwards. And that was pretty much it for the appointment. I kept telling the assistant, this feels weird this feels weird. She just laughed, and said, yeah, it will for awhile. As soon as I got done, Ms. Perky, said "Show me your teeth"!!! I know she was just being nice and happy for me, but let's me just say this: People with crooked teeth don't exactly like to flash their smiles. But what could I do? There was no getting out of it so I just flashed my metal mouth. And she says, Oh they look great, they are so pretty. I just sort of laughed and said thank you. I think positivity can be infectious because I did feel pretty pleased with myself as I left their office.

Then my boyfriend picks me up. First thing he says, "Show um to me". People with crooked teeth don't like doing this!!! Well, at least I don't. So I have to go through the same thing with him as Ms. Perky and have to just put my whole crooked metal mouth out there and he says, "oh it's gold, they look so pretty." LOL, again with the pretty comments. Bless his heart.

By the time I get home I hurt like hell. It's an achy feeling that radiates all through my teeth, jaw, and even up into my nose (not sure if that's normal?). My lips are super dry (even though I loaded on the chap stick prior to my appointment) and I'm tired. I had a meeting I needed to dial into for work and thankfully I didn't have to say anything because I realize that talking is really hard. I can't say S words very well at all and everything hurts.

Randomly, my 5 lb 1 year old Chihuahua has dental problems too (like owner, like pet???) and she had a follow up appointment later that afternoon for her dental surgery she had last week. I go to the vet clinic and the vet and vet tech mention something about me getting braces and ask to see them. At this point I've openly flashed my toothy smile more than I have in the last 30 years. But the thing is, people are very complimentary and keep saying they look really nice. I find the comments to be quite encouraging because it hurts super bad and I feel extremely awkward. It's funny, I've read lots of other posts where people say most people don't say anything or acknowledge them, this does not seem to be the case for me. However, maybe it's the universe teaching me a lesson in being more comfortable and confident in myself because after multiple times of having to show off my teeth with all its imperfections and metal and wires (my friends/family made me text pics too!), I started to realize it got easier each time. And people are super kind and don't mention how messed up they look. They all seem genuinely happy and excited for me. Even strangers.

Later that evening I went to the grocery store and couldn't find Stir Fry Sauce. I asked one of the employees where the Stir Fry Sauce was and she couldn't understand me. I had to say it 5 times. I was all slurry and just couldn't get it out right. I really hope my speech improves. Right now, I'm kind of a hot mess. And the pain... oh man, does it hurt. I went to bed feeling terrible, completely maxed out on X-Strength pain relievers. I'm not sure if it's the spacers or the fact that I recently had a gum graft or just part of dealing with your first few weeks in braces.

Oh and by the way - I can't eat anything. Tried having mac and cheese for dinner last night and it was too hard, hurt too bad. Ended up drinking a meal replacement drink, which is what I also had for lunch. Oh the joys of the dental diet!

This is a long story but I did want to share my experiences in hopes that others can relate and also to encourage people who are thinking about getting braces to actually go through with it. So far the biggest Pro is that people around me are extremely supportive and kind, and of course, keeping the end results in mind is a big motivator. The Con's are pain, awkwardness, inability to talk and eat. However, I do think this probably just all temporary (I hope!).

I'll post pics once I can figure out how to do it.

Vega
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:32 am

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#10 Post by Vega » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:57 am

How is it going by now?
Oh wow gold braces, that's so cool. 8) They never suggested that to me!
Don't worry too much about the pain, it will subside in the next couple of days! My first days I was worried that i could never (well the next 2 years) eat a hamburger anymore but a few weeks later I was eating almost everything (except for nuts, but you are not supposed to eat them so... I tried tough :oops: ).

Most people have more pain-issue's with the spacers than with the braces. So maybe yours is a bit worse because of the combo spacers/braces. I had spacers before the braces and then 1 time when I was already in braces, but by then I was used to all sorts of pains.

Anyhoo, you will feel comfortable in your braces in no time and be suprised on how fast you'll be getting movement! :wink:

41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#11 Post by 41Braced » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:14 pm

Hello! I am two weeks in and thought it would be a good time to update. I had a lot of pain the last two weeks and could barely eat anything. My poor boyfriend had to deal with me being so crabby because all I wanted was food, meat in particular. I guess this means I could never become a vegetarian! I realized (after the fact) that my pain was related to the spacers and since I got them removed and molar bands put on this morning, I am feeling much much better! I actually ate some string cheese at lunchtime, which is the hardest food I've been able to eat since braces and I was so happy I almost cried. Tonight I have halibut cooking in the oven and I feel pretty confident I should be able to eat this as well. It is such a blessing as I was so cranky, weak, and overly-emotional without normal meals.

But back to the spacers and my ortho appointment this weekend. My appointment was scheduled for 30 minutes but I was there for well over an hour. I'm not sure why it took so long! First, the assistant took out my spacers and my back teeth felt so weird. Like there was a lot of pressure being put on them, but when in reality, the pressure was taken off. Then she fitted me for molar bands, trying on several sizes until she got the right ones. Honestly, this wasn't too pleasant and hurt my gums, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things I guess. While this was going on she said my bite was already looking better and that she wasn't sure if I would need bite turbos anymore. This was another thing that I was incredibly happy about because bite turbos suck. It is nearly impossible to chew anything with them.

Once the assistant determined she had the right sizes, Dr. R checked them over (and actually, there were two where he requested a smaller size), and then she glued them on. This again, wasn't overly painful but they put these big cotton balls in your mouth to keep it dry and ask you not to move your tongue. Of course, as soon as anyone tells you not to do something with your tongue, you want to do it, or at least I do. :) The whole time I kept wanting to move my tongue and swallow but I was able to get through it.

I was sort of surprised that I didn't get wires on my back teeth yet. She said that the dentist is going to wait until my first adjustment on March 6th to put the wire on my back teeth. Apparently the wire on my front teeth is so light and flexible she said it would just pop off if attached to the molar bands. More wire likely equals more pain so I am grateful for the small reprieve.

Rewind to a week ago - I had an huge presentation (scheduled for 2 hours) that I had to give to the executive leadership team at work and I was sooooo worried about these braces. Mostly that I didn't want it to be a distraction and that I wanted to be able to talk normally. I practices it many times and avoided S words (which S words aren't that big of a problem for me right now but they were a week ago, since I was still trying to get used to speaking with braces). It went well overall, I spoke just fine, and no one said anything about my braces. I figure if I could get through that, I can pretty much get through anything at work. I guess the moral of that story is that you care the most about your braces and other people either don't care or are kind of enough to not make it a negative thing/big deal when you are in those kinds of situations. Although I have had a lot of coworkers acknowledge and mention that I have braces. Yes, I know I have braces. But I think people just like talking about it (more in a positive way, not negative at all).

Ok the fish is done... gotta run! More later and I promise pictures too.

unwisesage
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:55 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#12 Post by unwisesage » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:59 pm

Hello!
Congrats! I am 20 years old and just got braced! I am so excited for this journey and path to improve my confidence! I already can not wait to get them off,lol!

unwisesage
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:55 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#13 Post by unwisesage » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:08 pm

I also wanted to add that my family could never afford it and after appealing insurance(Medicaid), they agreed to pay for it since it is medically nescessary even though the top look fine(which never really bothered me because when I smiled in photos they looked ok) and I have really bad TMJ and Maloclussion. I am a "Southern Ivy League" school so it is interesting but im just so happy that they are in the process of being fixed.

41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#14 Post by 41Braced » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:29 am

unwisesage wrote:Hello!
Congrats! I am 20 years old and just got braced! I am so excited for this journey and path to improve my confidence! I already can not wait to get them off,lol!
Haha, I know! I still have a very long way to go and I already want them off! The wires have really been poking me the last two days and it's driving me nuts. There is no amount of wax to make this better. But on the plus side, I can eat more! Small wins, I guess.

How long have you had braces? How's it going so far??

41Braced
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Re: Braces at 41 - this is happening!

#15 Post by 41Braced » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:31 am

Vega wrote:How is it going by now?
Oh wow gold braces, that's so cool. 8) They never suggested that to me!
Don't worry too much about the pain, it will subside in the next couple of days! My first days I was worried that i could never (well the next 2 years) eat a hamburger anymore but a few weeks later I was eating almost everything (except for nuts, but you are not supposed to eat them so... I tried tough :oops: ).

Most people have more pain-issue's with the spacers than with the braces. So maybe yours is a bit worse because of the combo spacers/braces. I had spacers before the braces and then 1 time when I was already in braces, but by then I was used to all sorts of pains.

Anyhoo, you will feel comfortable in your braces in no time and be suprised on how fast you'll be getting movement! :wink:
Thanks for the encouragement Vega! It's going pretty good so far. Having the spacers off has been such a big change!

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