Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Adult Braces: Getting Braces On

Once I made the decision to get braces, everyone I consulted with told me, "Getting them on is the worst part."

Being an adult with good oral hygiene and no orthodonic work until now, I haven't really been poked and prodded and pushed.  People told me my mouth would be stretched beyond what I ever thought possible with a contraption and to make sure to take pain medication before going because my jaw would be ridiculously sore.

I forgot to take medicine.  I also forgot to have a painful jaw, apparently.  I wasn't sore one bit. The worst parts for me were the taste of whatever adhesive or cleaner they were using and then the cold air/water blowing - wooo, doggy, that was intense!  I've never before had cold tooth sensitivity.  But within an hour, they were done.  Totally brace-ified.  I had no idea we were already done even though they apologized that it took longer than usual for my tiny mouth and getting the brackets to stick.  I stood up carefully after being upside down for quite some time and still no pain.

Before Braces and After Getting Braces On

Rob, the generous and understanding hubs, took the above picture before I'd looked in the mirror.  Want to know the first thing I thought?  "Wow - I didn't realize braces came with complementary collagen injections for my lips!"  I could not believe, and still can't believe, how much more voluptuous my lips look when my mouth is shut.  I'm going to miss these plump kissers when the braces come off.


In fact, I was in entirely pretty pain-free bliss for the first two days.  Eating was weird, as I was tentative of knocking off these strange new things on my teeth and all my food gravitated to them like magnets.

Days three and four brought on quite a bit of misery.  By that point, the metal had been rubbing at virgin skin for enough time to create raw spots, blisters, and general swelling on the tongue and cheeks.  Enter the wax.  One friend was very firm in her conviction that powering through this tough time without applying wax to the braces opposite where my skin was raw would help calluses form more quickly and I'd be better off quicker.  I took her advice.  I only applied wax twice.

By day five I was doing much better, verging on "okay."

Within a week, my pain and general getting used to the braces had subsided enough that I noticed the "build-ups."  Build ups are basically temporary fillings in two teeth to keep your bite from going down far enough to knock off your brackets (the square part in the middle of the tooth).  I knew this, but it didn't sink in that I would no longer be able to shut my molars all the way.  I'll talk more about this in my post about learning how to eat.

I can't describe the weirdness of waking up with your cheeks totally stuck to your braced teeth.  Or biting down as you have your whole life and your teeth only coming into contact in two places.  Or spending time cleaning out your mouth after every meal only to find a huge piece of something you aren't even sure you ate stuck to your front tooth.  Where is that crud hiding?!

Generally speaking, it took a few weeks to get used to my cheek skin catching on parts of my braces (which hasn't happened for two weeks now), figuring out if I needed to get my wires trimmed (if your teeth have moved enough, there will be excess wire towards the back of your mouth), and eating foods that won't dye my clear rubber bands.

I ended up having to get my rubber bands replaced three weeks in due to eating some brightly-sauced buffalo wings in Buffalo.  I knew better, but I had to!  I would highly advise against doing this while your teeth are still tender from the initial application of the braces.  Yowzas.

My teeth were actually sore until about a week ago.  The best part about my teeth being sore is knowing they are moving.  One of my bottom teeth, in particular, was the longest victim of pain and I couldn't figure out why until one morning I looked in the mirror and realized it is now in front of a tooth it had been hiding behind for 17 years.  There is nothing like waking up and feeling something different in your mouth only to quickly realize it is exposure to part of your tooth you have no memory of ever feeling.

But folks...

My first adjustment appointment is tomorrow.  I've told several people this week and they all make the same agonizing groan followed by a pained sucking in of air.  I've stocked up on chocolate milk and mashed potatoes, so I'm good.  I think.

I'm more excited than anything, truthfully.  The amount of change I have seen in six short weeks is unbelievable.  I sit in front of the mirror almost every night staring.  Seventeen years I have wanted these changes and, *poof,* in six weeks they are here.  In spite of all of this initial discomfort and perhaps a few emotional break-downs, I have three words to summarize my feelings so far: "So worth it."  

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







10 comments:

j said...

Your grown up story of braces is so more well-informed than my 11-year-old story. All I knew is that sometimes my mom took me to the orthodontist and he would do something in my mouth, and one day they said I was done. :)

j said...

In fact, I remember them giving me wax, but had no idea until now what it was supposed to be for.

Larissa said...

J - I have no idea how adolescents do this! I have also that there is so much information to learn - so many rules - how are all but the very most responsible of kids able to remember everything? Granted, I have been told over and over this process is MUCH easier for the youngins. I have a niece who knocked a bracket off her first day with a nacho chip. I'm six weeks in and would not dare attempt to eat a chip!

Janell said...

I had forgotten that the wax even existed until you mentioned it. Then *boom* I can remember the taste of it, the feel of the tube in my hand, the regret of not having an adequate supply. Funny, how the mind works.

Merle Wells said...

Wow! You look beautiful with or without braces. Although now you can be assured of a perfect alignment of your pearly whites and a much more attractive smile. I’m glad you are satisfied with your adult braces. Thanks for sharing that, Larissa! Stay gorgeous! :)

Merle Wells @ Gillum Dentistry

Casey Jones said...

I liked reading about your experience with getting braces as an adult. People tell me that I have beautiful teeth and would benefit from braces. Perhaps I will look into getting them to straighten my smile. That is awesome you didn't feel a lot of pain with them.
http://www.dentistryoffayetteville.com/6-month-smile-fayetteville-nc.html

Hattie Harrington said...

Wow Larissa! Love the picture that your husband took before you looked at yourself in the mirror. He must have seen the fuller and sultrier lips with the help of your new braces. The way you wrote your blog post made it easier for folks who have been in the same situation to reminisce how it felt like having braces in their younger years. Hope to read more from you!



Hattie Harrington @ MahjoobiFamilyDentist.com

Danyell Aleman said...

I agree. Braces can feel weird, but it works like magic. Most people who have them tend to experience great pain during the first week or so of having them, so it’s good that there was minimal discomfort on your part. And as you said, you’ve been seeing improvements pretty fast, so I hope you get that smile you’ve been aiming for soon. Good day!

Danyell Aleman @ Woolwich Dental Group

Justene Doan said...

I have been considering braces for years and your post was a great find! I am glad to hear someone saying the pain is not too bad and totally worth it. Good for you, getting the results you have wanted and good luck in the future. Maybe one day I will be brave enough too.

Justene Doan @ A+ Family Dentistry

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for these posts , I have had a top brace put on today after years of contemplating it. Reading your posts help me decide to go for it .Yes it's a little uncomfortable and I know I should expect a little pain quite soon but from reading all the comments I think I should be able to cope with it and I'm very excited to see the finished result in 18 months .