Switchblades' Braces Story - Updated 12/17 (New Pics p.2)

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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switchblades
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Switchblades' Braces Story - Updated 12/17 (New Pics p.2)

#1 Post by switchblades » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:23 am

A little bit about me: I'm currently 22 years old, finishing up my university degree. Ever since I was little (as in REALLY little, 6 or 7 years old) my teeth have been a HUGE confidence-breaker for me. I was teased from Grade 2 until about Grade 8, when finally my mother could afford to get braces put on my teeth. Here's where the REAL trouble began...

At 13 years of age, I had a consult with the same Orthodontist who did my older brothers and two of my cousins' braces. I've always had a severe overbite, and my left front incisor turned outwards, with the second incisor twisting behind. He told me that, due to my overbite, braces were needed and that I needed my jaw broken and reset in four places, and that because I was finished growing, an appliance would not do the trick. My mother agreed to go forward with bracing, however, she was horrified of the thought of her little girl 1) being finished growing at 13 and 2) having to go through that kind of surgery so young. So, we proceeded with braces, and, as it turned out, I was NOT finished growing (I was 4'11 and 75lbs then...I'm now 5'8 ).

My original treatment was supposed to last 3 years. However, since my mother was adamently against the surgery, the ortho said he would not promise my teeth would not move back where they were. He took my braces off after a mere 14 months, and, 6 weeks later, told me that I should no longer wear my retainers, as my teeth would not set. In reality, he was retiring and did not want to finish my treatment, but refused to refer me elsewhere.

Several months passed after getting my braces off, and I started high school just in time for a botched wisdom teeth extraction, and the subsequent bruising, swelling, scarring, and infection that followed. As soon as the swelling went down, I was met with another horrifying revelation: my front teeth, the bane of my first 15 years, had begun to twist and shift back into their old positions.

$5600 out of my low-income family's pocket, gone striaght out the window.

~~~

Over the next two years, I had several consultations with different dentists - my family dentist being one - and the new ortho who moved into my old ortho's office, all of whom blatantly told me that my bite problems could have - NO doubt - been repaired with an appliance and the completion of my bracework, but, as I had just finished a major growth spurt, and my family was entirely depleted of the little disposeable income they had had, it was not viable to attempt the appliance at this point. I had also begun grinding my teeth quite seriously at night. I cracked one tooth in half to the gumline, knocking out a filling and exposing the nerve. That, my friends, was painful.

I recall a specific meeting with my family's dentist, who also did bracework, where I literally burst into tears, because I was going into my final year of high-school and hated my smile so much I was afraid to get my graduation photos done and terrified at the prospects of prom, where everyone would be looking at me and telling me to smile.

Over the course of high school and my first few years of university, I toyed with the idea of getting braces again, but every time I had spare cash, something came up - textbooks were too expensive, student loans didn't cover my tuition costs, I lost my job and was unemployed for three months. Then my family dentist, who had quoted me at about $2500 for the work to be done, retired. I was devastated.

Cut to this past summer. The same dental office referred e for treatment with another ortho, who quoted me at $6800 for just the bracework. I politely declined, as I've only got a limited amount of time left on my mother's health plan and a limited dollar amount in coverage, and opted for a second (or twentieth by this time, if you will) opinion. I called several offices and got in that very day for a consult within a 20 minute bus ride of my parents' place (a feat, they live in the middle of nowhere).

I was sent to the dental school for a cephalograph, which revealed what I already knew - my bite was severely disaligned and it was causing wear on my cartilage.

After various consults and imaging sessions, I was met with "Jen, I don't say this often, if ever...but you are THE perfect candidate for surgery". My heart fell, and I'm sure he saw it on my face. "However, that is not my area of expertise, and if you are interested in that, we will get you in with the board of surgeons for a consultation. I can, however, straighten your teeth".

I could have kissed the man. From my first consultation, it took about a month to get the braces on my teeth. I got the top ones on October 22nd, 2008 - the 9-year anniversary of the first time I got them on. I'm being set up with a consult for the surgery, to determine the costs and such, as my province has very recently started funding functional cases, even though most private insurers (including mine) still consider it cosmetic. So, I may be able to have the surgery with no cost out of my pocket.

~~~

As I said before, I got my top bracketing and wires done on October 22nd. He used cemented brackets on my second-from-back molars, rather than molar rings, and a very light guage wire. He could not do the bottom brackets that day, as my bite is narrow on the bottom and my top teeth nearly cover the bottom, which would put too much pressure on the brackets. Instead, we're adjusting my top bite so that it is slightly narrower.

My first day was okay, but the next few my teeth were pretty sensitive. I compounded this by going out to celebrate a friend's birthday, having a few too many, and biting into a piece of fairly tough pizza. No damage to the braces, thankfully, but my teeth were sure sore the next day!

I returned around the second week of November to have the top braces checked, and to decide when to put on the bottom ones. As the top teeth had begun to move, it was decided that a slightly heavier wire would be put on and spacers placed for the bottom molar rings. I don't remember the spacers being quite so unpleasant the first time I had braces, but they were AWFUL! I felt like there was food stuck in my teeth for a week, and I couldn't floss my back teeth...not fun.

When I went in to get my bottom molar rings on, the right side went on perfect, without a problem. The left, however, was not cooperating, and would not go on far enough. This is the result of my nightly grinding, having worn down the crown of my tooth and altered the shape. After much pushing and biting and pulling, the rings were cemented in place. However, the receptionist had booked an appointment after mine, not leaving enough time for bracketing as well.

I went in this past Wednesday (December 3rd) and got the remainder of the bracketing done. One of the brackets is not tied in, as it kept popping off again (the tooth is significantly higher than the others). He also put the anchor brackets on my very back top molars, but did not tie those in yet. One of the first things the ortho said was "your top teeth are really straightening, they're coming along really nicely". I've noticed it too, as have my family and friends. I'm really quite pleased with the results so far, only a month and a half into the actual treatment and my top teeth are jut as straight as the day got my braces off the first time.

My only issue right now is the pain from the bottom braces. I can't rest my teeth together, as it hurts too much. I have sensitive bottom front teeth anyway, and it feels like they are constantly being over-stimulated with something cold, and my whole jaw is sore. I'm trying to keep up with my hygiene, but flossing is so excruciating it brings me to tears. I'm a little worried, as I have an exam in the morning and can't sleep from the pain :(

Last Edit I promise: more pics!

Before: note, the problem is functionally worse than it looks, and looks worse than these pics :(
Image

Day of bracing, October 22nd, 2008:
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October 25th, 2008:
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A bunch from today, one day after bottom bracing. The side-on one is showing that my front left incisors are no longer twisted :):
Image

My smile as of today:
Image
Last edited by switchblades on Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:17 am, edited 3 times in total.

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switchblades
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#2 Post by switchblades » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:51 am

So, it's been about 5 days since I got my bottom teeth braced, and I still can't eat anything harder than overcooked pasta. My top teeth hurt a little bit, as my ortho changed my ligatures when I was in to get the bottom ones on. I keep making the pain worse too, because I keep trying to eat - I work at a mall, and unless I want to eat Dairy Queen, or pay $15 for a little plate of pasta, for every meal there is literally nothing soft for me to eat. Yesterday, I attempted chicken fingers cut up really tiny and onion rings, but after about halfway through I was in severe pain so I didn't eat any more.

I'm kind of worried, because I'm extremely thin to start with (5'8 and about 115-120lbs), and I've lost weight since I got my braces on. I just can't eat, and there's only so much yogurt and apple sauce a girl can take. Anyone have suggestions, short of throwing everything through the blender? *shudders*

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#3 Post by Flaka » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:06 pm

Hey switchblades, hope you feel better soon. Have you been taking some over the counter pain killers?

Things will get better, don't worry. I am a thin person as well and I know how difficult is to gain or mantain the weight we have (some people can't understand that) but something that has helped me gain weight during braces is drinking protein shakes (I like Muscle milk mixed with whey protein) and I also excersice to gain muscle and tone up ( I have gained 10 pounds and I am very happy)

Do you like vegetables? If your teeth hurt, make a cream of something (cream of squash, broccoli, mushroom, etc). Bake potatoes, a beef stew.

Also, try to chew, even if it hurts. The more you chew, the faster the pain will fade.

Godd luck!
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grneydfairy
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#4 Post by grneydfairy » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:05 pm

Soup, yogurt, milkshakes, canned fruit (its been soaking for a while)... sorry that they hurt so much :( It will get better

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switchblades
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#5 Post by switchblades » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:08 pm

Thanks for the support guys :)

I had some homemade veggie soup the other night, I made it a while back and stuck it in the freezer (there is only so much of a massive pot of soup that two people can consume before it gets old haha) so I took that out the other night. The hardest is at work, I wolr in a mall and my options are literally rice from the chinese place, or ice cream from DQ. I'm getting sick of rice, and ice cream is SO not supper!

I'm definitely killing the yogurt and apple sauce, but hadn't thought of canned fruit! Thanks!

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#6 Post by switchblades » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:33 am

Post-op I'm going to be on liquid only for at least a few weeks I've been told, but that's a year away (which is good because it's going to be horrendous). I'm nervous about it but I'm trying to tell myself that I'll be fine, and not to worry about it a year ahead of time because I still have a whole year to get used to the idea.

My teeth feel a lot better today, I had some french fries last night that required a little chewing, and it hurt last night but today it feels a bit better. I'm gonna stick with soft stuff for the next couple of days though. Usually a few weeks after the initial pain goes away my teeth start hurting again because of motion...I'm just hoping I'll be okay for Christmas dinner, my mom is the best cook in the world!

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#7 Post by kaydee » Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:57 pm

Hi switchblades

Im on day 3 of braces and so far this has been my diet.

Day 1 for lunch I had a choc milkshake and choc mousse from a cafe and pumpkin soup for dinner.

Day 2 i was feeling a little more adventurous and had 2 minute noodles (chicken flavour) and i got through them slowly but stained my ligs goddamnit and for dinner I had a piece of snapper, mashed potato and some really well cooked caroot and broccoli (just the tree bit up top, the stalks were a bit too challenging)

And now on day 3 Im feeling a little more confident and Im going to make chicken soup (not blended, cos like u blended is not appertising) with really soft vegetables like potato carrot peas and swede and some rally well cooked macaroni.
I might add though, I so far have no ulcers and havent taken a pain killer for these braces, Im hoping I have been a lucky one or the other side is the pain just hasnt kicked in yet.... Tomorrow i might try shephards pie.

Wishing you the best of luck, hopefully it gives you a few ideas.

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#8 Post by switchblades » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:23 pm

Feeling a lot better today, one of the guys at work has a friend who works at New York Fries in the mall and got me a big thing of fries full of chili and cheese sauce...it was quite possibly the best thing I've ever tasted, and no pain! My jaw feels a little achey (sp?) but my teeth themselves feel okay, as long as I don't overdo it!

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#9 Post by switchblades » Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:54 am

Sorry for the delay, it's been a busy weekend! bracedagain: My lipring doesn't touch my braces, and the only problem my ortho had was accidentally getting the tweezers caught in my ring when putting my lower brackets on. He said it shouldn't be a problem because it doesn't touch my teeth :) I was glad to hear that because I'm not quite ready to get rid of it yet!

Short update: My lower teeth have always been extremely tight and crowded, but now there are gaps of about 1/2mm on either side of my right lower canine. The other side it looking a little better as well, but due to not having one of the brackets tied in on my left lower incisor, those teeth are not moving quite as much.

I'm excited that I'm seeing movement already! And the tenderness is mostly gone, sometimes it's a little tricky to eat chewy breads and stuff, but I generally avoid things I'm not supposed to have.
Initial Consult: August 22nd, 2008
Upper Arch Bracketed: October 22nd, 2008
Lower Arch Bracketed: December 3rd, 2008
Debraced: October 15th, 2009

My Story: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... sc&start=0

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switchblades
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#10 Post by switchblades » Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:55 am

Oops, double post!
Initial Consult: August 22nd, 2008
Upper Arch Bracketed: October 22nd, 2008
Lower Arch Bracketed: December 3rd, 2008
Debraced: October 15th, 2009

My Story: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... sc&start=0

grneydfairy
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#11 Post by grneydfairy » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:13 pm

I think it looks really good on you and if it's not a problem, keep it. I had a tongue ring (years ago) and I wasn't ready to get rid of it but it caused an absessed tooth :( While I understand you like it, if it starts to give you ANY problems, take it out don't risk it causing long term damage!

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switchblades
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#12 Post by switchblades » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:45 pm

grneydfairy wrote:If it starts to give you ANY problems, take it out don't risk it causing long term damage!
Oh yeah, I've spoken to my ortho and my regular dentist, and my dentist has been checking up for the 4 years I've had the piercing to make sure it's not damaging my teeth or gums. One of the problems that can happen with lip piercings is wear on the gums, causing erosion, but where my ring is right through my lip and not down lower, and I wear a ring rather than a flat-back stud, there's very little contact. I have been warned that when I get my surgery, or if either the dentist or the ortho see any conflicts with it, it's gotta go. I've totally accepted that, after all, a piercing is temporary, I'd rather keep my teeth!
Initial Consult: August 22nd, 2008
Upper Arch Bracketed: October 22nd, 2008
Lower Arch Bracketed: December 3rd, 2008
Debraced: October 15th, 2009

My Story: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... sc&start=0

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switchblades
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#13 Post by switchblades » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:34 pm

bracedagain wrote:Good to read that so far it is not a bother. I hope that it stays that way for you. It ii definitely more important to keep your teeth, first.
Hear hear! This is perhaps THE most important decision I've made in my adult life (aside from, perhaps, fighting my way through the last two years of my university degree) and I am determined to see it through to the end, even if it means growing up and letting go of what my mother so fondly refers to as my "rebellious streak" haha.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas Season. I will be on here checking up on progress, and I promise I'll post pics of my new gaps soon!

See ya!
Initial Consult: August 22nd, 2008
Upper Arch Bracketed: October 22nd, 2008
Lower Arch Bracketed: December 3rd, 2008
Debraced: October 15th, 2009

My Story: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... sc&start=0

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switchblades
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#14 Post by switchblades » Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:13 am

Okay, so I got back from my emergency appointment a little while ago, only to realize that my camera is in my boyfriend's backpack, which he has at work. So, after battling with my cell phone (apparently the MiniSD slot is broken, so it wouldn't latch in there - got the card in and then out again, now the phone keeps turning itself off! Of COURSE, it's the one-year mark today and my warranty is up) I managed to get some decent pics.

Upper Arch:

Image

Lower Arch:

Image

Open:

Image

Closed to show my bite from the Left & Right sides:

ImageImage
(Notice that my left central isn't flared out anymore, yay!)

Front view of my upper and lower arches; he tied in my other lateral today as well:

Image

Aaaaaaaaaand here's a Christmasy smile for everyone:

Image
Initial Consult: August 22nd, 2008
Upper Arch Bracketed: October 22nd, 2008
Lower Arch Bracketed: December 3rd, 2008
Debraced: October 15th, 2009

My Story: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... sc&start=0

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switchblades
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#15 Post by switchblades » Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:13 am

I'm the tame one in our family - despite the piercings, tattoos and loud music. My dad was iffy on the tattoos and lipring, but mom just said "If the worst my 18-year-old daughter does is poke holes in her face, then I must have done something right" (This was almost 5 years ago now haha). I've always been a good girl haha. Or, at least as far as my mother is aware...:P

I forgot to ask how soon I'll be ready for a consult with an OS, but I have a full adjustment on the 5th anyway. I've got a ways to go before I'm surgery-ready anyhow, just curious about what they're going to do!
Initial Consult: August 22nd, 2008
Upper Arch Bracketed: October 22nd, 2008
Lower Arch Bracketed: December 3rd, 2008
Debraced: October 15th, 2009

My Story: http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... sc&start=0

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