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METAL!!!! mouth

I'm not yet, but I will be soon. Yep, I'm getting braces. In a few days!

Why? Because my teeth are crooked, crowded, poorly aligned and they've been shifting and getting worse in recent years. It's not just a cosmetic thing, though. I've got a substantial overbite ("deep bite", technically) that's causing wear and tear on my bottom front teeth (they ache a lot too). I also have intermittent TMJ issues on the left side which are likely caused by my jaw having to pull inward and leftish for my molars meet up.

To correct these problems, my teeth have been sentenced to 18-20 months of hard labor in traditional metal braces. With the overbite in play, I can't get the bottom braces on right away (top teeth would whack into them), so I'll be getting the top ones later this week and the bottom ones in a few months. And then there will be "elastics" to pull my upper teeth in. bleh. Not looking forward to having rubber bands in my mouth. But if I do what the orthodontist tells me and my teeth behave themselves, they could get released to a retainer in a year and a half. That's not so bad.

I'm excited to be getting started and a little bit scared. I think I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, though. I've talked to quite a few people who've had braces, read lots online about braces, watched a million youtube videos and asked the orthodontist as many questions as I could think of ahead of time. I already have more questions, but they mostly pertain to what exactly the step-by-step goals are.

The deep bite is caused by my center top teeth hanging too low (Bugs Bunny teeth) in addition to my upper jaw just sticking out too far, I guess. So to me, it seems like they need to push the carrot chompers upwards, straighten the top front four teeth, pull the upper jaw inward a bit, broaden my entire lower palate and straighten, um, pretty much all my lower teeth. Or something like that. Anyway, I'm intrigued about how it'll all play out.


( 12 comments — Add a comment )
Feb. 20th, 2012 12:42 pm (UTC)
I had to get braces when I was 28 and wore them for 18 months. The worst part was that my mouth was so narrow it had to be widened by... 3 millimeters or so? The fun part was that my 7-year-old niece had to have braces at the same time and her mom told me she hadn't smiled in a good 2 months, but when I showed her mine, she lit up with a huge grin. \o/
Feb. 20th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
Aw, that's so nice about your niece! I've heard similar stories from a few people who had adult braces — having a niece or nephew who felt better about their own braces because of it. While I'm not exactly looking forward to having braces, I'm sure it's a lot easier to be an adult and not have the added problem of feeling like a freak at school.

What was your braces experience like? I think I'm more worried about how much they might tear up the insides of my cheeks than I am about having sore teeth. But I say that as someone who's never had braces before.
Feb. 21st, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
I don't recall ever having much of a problem with the braces tearing up my cheeks. That only really happened if I managed to hit myself in the face. :P When the wires got tightened, sometimes there'd be an end sticking out that would poke me, but I'd say something right then and there and it would be taken care of. The worst problems I ever had were with widening my mouth, because that just plain hurt. There was one occasion when I had to take 7 Advil to make it bearable (not something they recommend, but said in isolated incidences like that, it wouldn't cause any long-term problems).
Feb. 24th, 2012 07:39 am (UTC)
OMG 7 Advil?! The most I ever took at once was 3 after having my wisdom teeth out (and having to discontinue the prescription painkillers because of an allergic reaction.) I would not want to encounter a level of pain that required seven Advil.
Feb. 21st, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
Stay away from Magnets and corn chips ...
Feb. 21st, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
Sounds like some good, common sense advice! (Though I've never had much of a taste for magnets anyway.)

Edited at 2012-02-21 03:48 am (UTC)
Feb. 21st, 2012 05:33 am (UTC)

Next you're going to tell me you've never stuck a penny in your mouth.
Feb. 21st, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
I had a brace (top only) when I was a kid until my dentist finally conceded that the only way to fix my jaw was to break and reset it (not a fucking chance!) I think my teeth are straighter and a little gap was closed up or something, it's a long time ago ;-) Mine wasn't a fixed one, I could flick it out with my tongue and gross people out in the middle of dinner. Good times. Good times *g*
Feb. 21st, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
I'm shocked (and horrified) at how often it seems that people are told they have to get their jaw broken in order to properly fix a bad bite. I had no idea it was so common. I don't blame you for not doing that!

Mine wasn't a fixed one, I could flick it out with my tongue and gross people out in the middle of dinner.

Your parents must've been so proud ;)
Feb. 24th, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
All degrees of perfection
One of my team-mates showed us his baby picture last night... complete with hare-lip and cleft palate. Docs fixed him up pretty well for the standard of that time.

A work-mate at my first job had a mandible that was under-developed...SEVERE overbite. She had surgery to extend her jaw nearly an inch. I'm sure it was a painful process, but she went from homely to "whoa". Same sweet person, but suddenly very attractive.

You certainly didn't need this for cosmetic reasons, but if it helps you reduce the wear and discomfort on your bottom teeth, that should make the realignment discomfort worthwhile, in the long haul.

I just wish I could go back and give myself the "Gibbs head-slap" every time I chewed an ice cube or an "Atomic Fireball" as a kid. The damage is done...
Feb. 24th, 2012 07:47 am (UTC)
Re: All degrees of perfection
I'm amazed at how common jaw surgery is in orthodontics. My sister had an underbite and one of her options (when she had braces for a second time in adulthood) was to remove a piece of her jaw. They fixed her underbite with braces, but i think the idea is that it could've been a better fix with surgery as part of the process. She opted not to have surgery. (I'm suite sure I'd have made the same choice.)

Feb. 24th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
Re: All degrees of perfection
I agree. I've known many people who lost sensation in various body parts as a result of nerve damge, after what I consider botched surgeries. One was a woman who lost sensation in half her tongue after a wisdom tooth extraction. What you're doing will cause some temporary discomfort, but it's really benign. Good luck :-)
( 12 comments — Add a comment )


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