Saturday, November 1, 2014

Adult Braces: Making the Decision

The decision took me over two years.  My first consultation with Dr. Hamid Omana was in March or April of 2012.

Let me give you some background.  When I was 17, I noticed my perfectly straight teeth starting to crowd/move.  I thought perhaps the impending doom of wisdom teeth was the cause, so I begged to get them removed Christmas of my Senior Year.  My teeth obviously didn't agree with me about the reason to move and kept shifting.  At 22, after I graduated from college, I asked a dentist at home in Ohio what he thought I should do and he responded, "Your teeth aren't very crooked.  If you get braces now, you'll just have to get them again later in life because your teeth will continue to shift your whole life."  I had no idea I should have been asking those questions of an Orthodontist, not my dentist.  

Flash forward to 2012.  I innocently thought Invisalign (clear retainers as an alternative to wires and brackets) would be the solution for my crooked-since-I-was-17 smile.  I was prepared for a financial investment of about $4,000 because adults don't get the same sweet insurance treatment as adolescents.

Then these words changed everything, "Your jaw is misaligned."
Me: "What does that mean?"
Dr. Omana: "Invisalign will only temporarily straighten your top teeth.  We need to correct your bite to get and keep your teeth straight."
He proceeded to show me the type of braces and rigging I'd need, as well as letting me know the whole process would take two years.

I was single at the time and dating pretty frequently.  I worried braces would affect that.  Worst of all, what if I did happen to meet "the one" and had braces in wedding photos?  That was a thought I couldn't live with, so I decided to "wait until after I get married."  Which is kind of dumb considering I was almost 31 and in no rush to get married.  Sooner is always better than later.  Wouldn't you know it, I did end up meeting my Rob and getting married within that two-year time span.

After marriage, I faced all sorts of self-image doubts and medication weight fluctuations. I knew I needed braces to correct my crooked jaw/bite, but I didn't know if I could handle the potential self-esteem issues.  Notice I said "potential," not "definite."  I realized I was making an important medical decision off of something that "might" be.

Flash Forward to October of 2014.  Thirty-four year old Larissa drags her hubby to Dr. Omana's office so he can hear all of the medical jargon.  We took a week to mull over the decision.  My two other concerns were in regards to my career and my extra-curriculars.  At the time of my first consultation, I worked behind a desk, so that didn't matter.  Now, however, I work with high-end weddings and corporate events.  Outside of events, I perform with local theater groups.  Will any directors cast someone with braces?  Again, I can't make a life-changing decision based off of what "might" be.

Once the decision was made, over two years of worrying about this decision seemed stupid.  The process started immediately - there were so many things I wasn't ready for and yet I was entirely ready.

For all of you adults who may be contemplating the same question - "To get adult braces?" - I'll recount to you in the next post about the prep, application, and week after.

Adult Braces: Making the Decision
Adult Braces: Getting Spacers aka The Prep Work
Adult Braces: Getting Braces On
Adult Braces: Learning to Eat with Braces
Adult Braces: My First Adjustment
Adult Braces: Rubber Band Replacement (the first few)
Adult Braces: My Second Adjustment
Adult Braces: My Third Adjustment

Yes, I have braces in this photo.  Hard to believe, right?  I'd had them for four whole days at this point.