Monday, February 22, 2010

I Am An Adult Brace Face

Hi Everyone!  
It's been a few years since my braces have been off and I have noticed that this post sometimes gets looked at every now and then.  I know that if I was considering getting braces as an adult I would be all over the internet and blogs looking for some inside information!   

I kept what you might call an Adult Braces Diary and that is what you will find here.  It's a record for me and I hope for you a realistic account of what I went through.  For me, it was absolutely one of the best decisions of my life.  I mean really.  It has opened up the way I live, love, and interact with the world.  I hope the same happens for you and if you are on the fence like I was for WAY too many years....just DO IT!!!

How old was I when I had them put on?
50 years old.  Yes 50!  Don't wait as long as I did.
I recently met a woman who was 70 and had them on.  She was almost finished and she looked fantastic.

How long did it take?
3 years.  But most can get it done in 2  

What did it cost?  
And worth every penny I might add!!

And let me add something else here.  The investment is well worth it.  Somehow when you have children you always end up putting yourself last.   It's just what Moms do.   Both my kids needed braces and got them.   Not me.   I just never seriously considered such a large expense for myself when in hindsight, I wish I had.  There will always be reasons to not get something like this done.    It's a huge financial and and time investment.  And let's face it...some times emotional and embarassing.   I never thought my smile/teeth were preventing me from living my life but now I realize that they stopped me from living it like I wanted to.  Things are very different for me now.  A smile is a terrible thing to waste.  : )

So finally, 5 years later after my original diary that follows the photos below,  I am going to add some photos to this post.   I just couldn't do it when I was living it.  I  have hated my smile and my teeth my whole life so to photograph the process just wasn't something I could do at the time.  So here I am a few years later editing this post and I hope those of you who find it find it helpful and maybe even a little bit inspiring.  

I would love to hear from you and I am happy to answer any questions you might have!


This is a hard first photo for me to post.  It's me in high school and the only photo i could find showing you my teeth and how my front two teeth overlapped.  My mouth is small and my teeth were very crowded.  Most of the photos I have show me with my mouth closed.  High school graduation photo....mouth closed.  No smile.  I absolutely hated my teeth.  

 This is another hard one for me to post.  It was taken on a Girl's trip to Canada back in 2009.  It was soon after that trip and really looking and cringing at the photos when I got home  that I seriously began thinking about making an appointment with the Orthodontist. 

This was taken about two years in to the process.  I of course do not have any photos showing you the actual braces on my teeth but they are in that tight lipped face of mine!  :)  Not only did my teeth move and straighten but the shape of my mouth started to change for the better too.


And her I am today.  I cannot tell you how much happier I am with my smile.  I still even a few years later have a hard time giving a big toothy grin but I am making progress.  : )

 Original Post:

Yes, it’s not easy being an adult with braces. Some days I can’t believe that I actually have them. Some days I hardly know they are there. And other days, I am reminded by every thing I chew.
When I am asked if I would do it again…the answer is absolutely YES! The progress I have made and the time has flown by I might add, is amazing.

I'm An Adult Brace Face
February 12, 2010 - Consultation with the Orthodontist.
Am I good candidate? Absolutely!
Will it cost Big $??? Absolutely!
Is it NOW or NEVER??? Absolutely!
Am I your oldest patient?
"Hmmm....Maybe". :)
Estimated time of treatment: 24 months.

March 11, 2010 - Clear braces placed on my upper teeth. I am using the "Damon System". Do they hurt? Yes they do!
Motrin IB is my new best friend and I discovered Arctic Orange Smoothies. Feels like all my upper teeth are loose. Seems like each day a different tooth is sensitive. Very difficult to chew anything because my teeth are so tender.

May 4, 2010 - Check up appointment to see if upper teeth have moved enough to add braces to the lower teeth. No, not yet. Come back in 8 more weeks. My bite is still off and shifting. Next appointment in July.

May 18, 2010 - I can see a difference in my top teeth already! Very exciting!!

July 1, 2010 - Big day. The lower brackets were placed on my teeth. I discovered they don't make clear brackets for the bottom teeth so I have metal on the bottom. My top teeth are hitting the bottom brackets and I have rubber bumpers. No new wire on the top today. The Orthodontist told me that I am two wires behind on the bottom to catch up with top. Next appointment in 8 weeks. Where's my Motrin IB ???
July 4, 2010 - This is going to be harder than I thought! None of my teeth come together except the two in front that come down on the rubber bumpers. It is impossible to chew! It could be months before I can chew again. So, right now I have to either drink smoothies or eat things I can move around in my mouth with my tongue and mush down. I think this is going to be the hardest time for me.
Oh, and now I'm lisping. :)

July 30, 2010 - Finally, my bite is coming back together. Not completely but it is getting easier to chew. And yes, I am still lisping.

August 17, 2010 - Had my teeth cleaned today by my regular Dentist's office. That was fun. :( That poor Hygienist had her work cut out for her cleaning around all those brackets and along my gum line. I survived.

August 26, 2010 - Had a new wire put in on the bottom. The two rubber bumpers on my lower teeth were removed. They wanted to put in a thicker wire and got most of it in with great difficulty :(.... and then decided to change me to a thinner one. I am sure this will slow down my progress but the Ortho said I would be more comfortable. I am all for "comfortable". Two Motrin and a slight headache. Next appointment 10 weeks.

September 9, 2010
The wire on the bottom of left side of my mouth slipped out of the last bracket on Labor Day. No big deal. The Ortho Assistant snipped both wires to the last brackets on the bottom and said that because I am still on the thinner wire they were not supposed to be connected there in the first place. The thicker wire I'll be getting at the next appointment will be connected to the those back brackets. My bite is shifting again.

November 4, 2010
Oh the indignities of having braces as an adult!
I am now sporting a sassy pair of rubber bands. :) This will definitely curb my food intake which I guess is a good thing! I also had the bottom wire replaced with a thicker wire. The wire on top stayed the same to allow the bottom to catch up. The rubber bands are to help move pull my eye teeth down further and close some gaps where my top teeth meet the bottom.
Now I am really talking funny. Next appointment in 10 weeks. I'll be ringing in the new year with these rubber bands.

November 14, 2010
Actually, I am doing much better than I expected with the rubber bands. And they must be working because I can actually chew with my back teeth much better than I could. They are still awkward but not as bad as I thought they were going to be. The lisp is going away too.

December 20, 2010
The wire on the left bottom side slipped out of it's bracket over the weekend. I wasn't even eating anything bad like the nuts that I really miss or popcorn. They locked it back down with a quick visit.

January 13, 2011
Both wires on top and bottom were replaced with a rectangular shaped wire today. Definitely tighter than the round shape I had before. I have a huge gap on the bottom where the wires I had before left space where a tooth needed to be turned. It worked and now a "chain" was also added in that area behind the wire to help close that gap. I am still wearing rubber bands. I took 3 Motrin IB before this appointment and I am glad I did. My teeth are very tender right now. Looks like I'll be drinking a lot of Smoothies in the next couple of weeks. Next appointment in 8 weeks.

January 23, 2011
Shopping for a Waterpik today. Food is getting stuck behind the "chain" and the wire on my bottom teeth. This should help and I read that the water can massage my gums which will help keep them healthy. Also, my teeth were only really sore the first week after getting the new rectangular wires. Much better now and I am chewing again. :)

January 25, 2011
I LOVE my new Waterpik! And my gap is already closing! Amazing!

February 21, 2011
Had my teeth cleaned at my regular Dentist's office. Went pretty well. Just seems like it takes longer to get it all done. Coffee is not my friend. But they they look and feel great. Next cleaning in 6 months. Earlier than that would be better if I want to pay out of pocket since regular insurance doesn't pay for cleanings until 6 months have gone by.

March 10, 2011
Had my 1 year check up today! One Year Already!!They took x-rays and I got to smile pretty for some new photos. Today they replaced the chain (which looks like a coil or a tightly wound spring) with a tighter one on my bottom front teeth. This will finish closing the gap where they turned a tooth around. I still have the same wires on top and bottom. The new chain is definitely tighter. I also got two new clear hooks on the top for the rubber bands that I am still wearing. Next appointment in 6 weeks.

March 11, 2011
My bottom teeth are very tender today. That chain has almost closed that gap and it's only been 1 day.

March 12, 2011
My teeth don’t hurt as much as they did yesterday. In the begining my teeth would hurt for a good two weeks after a visit to the Ortho…now I seem to be okay in just a few days.
March 20, 2011
Fixed steak and baked potatoes tonight for dinner. As long as I have a knife, I can cut anything small enough to eat and enjoy. Chewing is fairly easy right now. Although, I am popping a lot of rubber bands lately.
April 20, 2011
I had both the top and bottom wires replaced today and a new "chain" was put in. The technician missed replacing one of the hooks on my bottom right side for where the rubber bands attach and I had to go back later that afternoon to have that added. No big deal. The gap is almost totally closed and my Ortho told me today things were looking good! My teeth are VERY tender tonight. Taking Motrin and as long as I don't try to chew anything I am good. Next appointment in 8 weeks. (Same day and 10 minutes after my son's next appointment. Mother and son day at the Ortho! I am sure he is looking forward to that as much as I am. :)
June 15, 2011
It was Mother and Son Day at the Orthodontist today. :) My son got a new wire today and he's already in rubber bands! My teeth did not move as much as the Ortho wanted so he postpone my getting the stainless steel wire until next visit in 6 week from now. Both my wires were replaced and they took out the "chain" but there is still a small spring in place. I also still have rubber bands pulling on my I-teeth. I really think it's the rubber bands that have been keeping my bite on track. Hardly any discomfort at all today! I am told the next visit I won't be so lucky. :)
July 2, 2011
The Orthodontist told me we are now moving into the final "detailing" phase! Yes! They removed my wires and the mini spring that I had on the bottom and replaced them with stainless steel wires. These are have more structure and are not as flexible as the alloy wires that I have been in up to this point. I was nervous about this appointment anticipating that the wire would be difficult to get on but really it was not too bad. Throughout the day my teeth were tender but the Motrin IB helped that. I am writing this a day later and my teeth are even more tender than yesterday but nothing I can't handle. I'll be drinking a smoothie today and taking my Motrin. Expecting to be uncomfortable for a few days. Was told that I will be wearing rubber bands until the end. Not sure how much longer I have to go. I was afraid to ask! Another year is possible but I think it'll be much less than that. I can see my new smile underneath the hardware!
August 31, 2011
I had my teeth cleaned by the Dental Hygienist at my regular Dentist's office today. Not fun but not horrible. They use something called a "profee jet" (I have no idea how that is spelled) and it is like high powered water pik that has something gritty in the water. Anyway, it's like getting your teeth power washed and it helps to clean around the brackets. The Dentist found a small cavity at the edge of my onlay filling on one of my top molars. I have to go back to get it filled later this month. The dentist doesn't think I have to have my wires removed to have this done. She thinks she should be able to repair it with my braces intact. I go back to the Orthodontist next week. Hopefully I'll be getting a new set of stainless steel wires. My next appointment with the Dental Hygienist in 6 months is next March 14th, 2012. I wonder if I'll still have my braces for that appointment. March will be my two year mark. Only 6 more months to go!!

September 8, 2011
Saw the Orthodontist today and he seemed very pleased with my progress but I am still afraid to ask him how much longer! I don't want to be disappointed! The technician took out both wires and let me brush my teeth. It felt so good to really brush them without the wires and rinse really well with mouthwash. Also, its fun to see myself in the mirror without the wires. The change is amazing! I have two gaps on the top next to my my eye teeth. The Ortho had the technician add a "chain" before putting the wires back in and the "chain" stretches across my front teeth to both incisors to help close both gaps. You can hardly see the "chain" under the wires. A chain was added to the bottom as well to help keep my bite on track. I was told when we started that I would have gaps on the top and would probably need some bonding after I was finished. The Ortho is try to reduce the size of the two gaps to help minimize any bonding I might have to have done. My mouth actually feels pretty good after this visit. Next visit in 6 weeks.
September 27, 2011
Had one of my fillings "repaired" on the top right side of my mouth at my regular dentist. She was able to numb me up and fix the cavity with my braces on. I never really thought about what would happen if I needed major dental work. If that was ever needed my Ortho said they would just temporarily remove the wires and then put them back in after the Dentist was finished. Glad I didn't have to do that.

October 26, 2011
On the top there were two gaps created on each side of my front four front teeth. Last visit put in a "chain" to help pull the gaps closed and it worked. Almost closed but not totally. New top wire wires put on top and bottom and new chain to help move my left eye tooth a bit more. We are in the "tweaking" phase. Next visit my Ortho will focus on a small overlap of my top front two teeth. These visits do not leave me as uncomfortable as the ones in the beginning did. I am loving the tweaking phase! Next visit in 6 weeks.

December 7, 2011
New wires top and bottom and new clear "chain" under them. The assistant told me I was in the final phases!! The "chain" is to help shift one of my top front teeth over a little bit. It was one of the most turned teeth that I had because of how crowded my teeth were. It looks great now but we want it to be perfect!! I can't believe I am getting so close to the end. This adjustment did not leave my mouth very sore at all. I was pretty much able to eat all my usual foods. Did I mention that it's been over 2 months since I've had a smoothie?! Still wearing rubberbands and I actually feel "naked" when I don't have them on. Still breaking a lot of rubber bands throughout the day but I am taking that as a good sign. Next visit in 4 weeks!

December 26, 2011
Something has been causing me some pain/discomfort only when I am eating on the bottom left side. I brushed, flossed, water picked, rinsed and swished and nothing would fix it. But the weird thing is it didn't hurt at any other time and my gum was not swollen or tender. It had been happening for about two weeks when it started to hurt more and I could feel something sharp and pointy with my tongue. I called the Ortho but they were off until after New Years! I can't wait that long! I had the emergency back up paged and they met me at the office today. No wires were loose and it turned out to be something and we aren't sure what was embedded behind the wire and the chain in my gum! It's a miracle my gum was not infected. The technician removed it...smelled horrendous! The only thing I can think of is that it might have been part of a stalk of broccoli that didn't get chewed up enough? Weird. But my mouth feels so much better now.

January 12, 2012
Happy New Year! Both the top and bottom wires and the top and bottom chains were replaced today. The technician told me the new wires would be stiffer than the last set. But I am in the final stages!! Still afraid to ask how much longer I have to wear them. Can you believe that I have never asked the Ortho the question "How much longer to do I have to go?" Nope not once. Mostly because I didn't want to be disappointed. But, if I was a betting "man", I would guess just another 2 to 3 months. That's nothing!! Anyway, my mouth is more tender than it has been in the last few visit. Also, my rubber band placement has been moved for the first time. They are now harder to see because they are further back in my mouth on both sides. Also, the rubber bands formed a triangle before and now they are just a tight band running from the top of my back teeth to the lower front on the bottom. They are rubbing slightly on my top right gum. I hope I don't get a sore spot. And while I am here, I have to say that I am amazed that over the last two years I think I have only had two sore spots and they only last a couple days till my gums and cheeks toughened up. Anyway, I am excited. And the best part of this visit was being able to floss after she took off the old wires. I was amazed how easily the floss moved in and out between each tooth. It felt wonderful! To all you without braces....don't take flossing for granted!! Next appointment in 4 weeks.

January 19, 2012
Called the Ortho because I could feel a wire poking me on the top right side in the very back. I also had a sore spot on top in the front. They said to come right in. Turned out that the small hook on the top right side that I was no longer using for my rubber bands was bent and had a rough edge. They removed the top wire and found out that the plastic "chain" underneath it in the same spot was broken too. So, I got a new chain, they removed the hook, and they clipped the back wire. Feels much better now. Smooth sailing!

February 9, 2012
They are still trying to tweak my top front tooth. It's tucked behind the other front tooth just enough for me to notice. But I have to say, it's light years better than when I first started. New wires and chains on top and bottom today. I got to brush and floss after they took off the wires so I got another glimpse at just how much my teeth have moved and they look great! You have no idea how wonderful it feels to really floss your teeth until you have braces! The top wire is thicker and I could feel the tension immediately. Very sore and tender today on the top. Bottom feels good. I'm very close to the end now! Next appointment in 6 weeks.

Friday, April 23, 2012
So close! They took the chains off and also did a small amount of filing across the bottom of my two front teeth before putting wires back on. My Ortho said that even though my two front teeth come out of my gum at different heights a long as the bottom of them were even it would not be noticeable. Such a small adjustment but visually it makes a big difference. I also got to floss while the wires were out. resistance anywhere in my mouth. Next appointment in 3 weeks.

Wednesday, March 18, 2012
Major disappointment. My front tooth has not moved and the gap on the left side next to my incisor tooth opened back up. A new "chain" was placed on the top. This one didn't require them to remove my top wire. The chain fit over top the wire. I could feel the tension right away and in just one day I could tell that the gap was closing. My Ortho said that I might have to see a Periodontist to snip some connective fibers on the top front tooth that won't completely turn. It's just a possibility at this point, we will discuss further at my next appointment in 3 weeks. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Almost there.  While disappointed that I am still in my braces I realize that my Ortho is seeking as close to perfection as he can and I can appreciate that!  This visit I got two new wires, top and bottom.  The put a "bend" in the top wire to  try and force my front tooth to move a bit more.  A new chain was place on the top and bottom.  These chains are see-through and just add a bit more tension and help close gaps.  The focus this visit is to move my front tooth and close the top side gap.  Very uncomfortable the first 3 days which means they are moving. Back to drinking Smoothies.  Next appointment in 3 weeks. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The race between my son and me and who gets their braces off first is now neck and neck!  My Ortho told me today he still wants to tweek my front tooth and so today I got a new chain, new wires, and he put a torque or a bend in the front wire for that extra pull on my rebel front tooth.  My teeth look so good but I too can see my front tooth is off by just a hair and so I have to be positive and hang in there. My teeth don't hurt as much as they did last time. Next appointment in 4 weeks.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Today they filed down my top front right tooth.  It's a little bit longer than the left one and the ortho also rounded off the edges of it.  I have to say such a small change and it makes a huge difference.  I know I keep saying I am getting close but I really am!  A new wire and chain on top with a bend to try and pull my top left canine forward just a hair more.  Next appointment is in 4 weeks and I fully expect to be told then that I can get them off the following week.  Keep your fingers crossed for me! 
August 9, 2012I
I lost the race.  My son beat me and got his braces off today.  His teeth are gorgeous!  I hope I don't have to wait much longer. 

November 10, 2012
I have been awol.  I realize this.  The braces are still on my teeth and although I am disappointed I want perfection!  My top teeth on the left side are not completely closing over the bottom.  So I have my third torque wire over my top left incisor trying to pull it forward enough to let the top close over the bottom.  Last month my favorite technician told me that I would be eating my turkey dinner with out my braces.  Well...that's not going to be the case.  My next appointment is on December 5th.  Maybe no braces by Christmas?  

December 26, 2012
It's the day after Christmas and I still have them. :( BUT, last visit I was told that they would be coming off on January 24th!!  Only 1 more month left to go. I have an appointment on January 3rd because my torque wire is loose.  But, the technician on the phone thinks it's just because that wire is done doing it's job but the Orthodontist will look at it to be sure.  They have become such a part of me that what's one more month...really?! 

January 3, 2013
My teeth moved like I knew they did.  That incisor of mine is stubborn.  My Ortho put a small knob of the BACK side of my incisor and now I have to wear a rubber band again for the last few weeks.  Fine by me.  What ever it takes!

January 24, 2013
And they're off!!!  I can hardly believe it.  Just shy of 3 years.  That third year was an unexpected bonus!  My teeth are so smooth and I am shocked that they are not nearly as yellow as I thought they would be.  The procedure getting they off is not fun but it's tempered with the fact that they are coming off!  The ortho used a tool to snap off all the brackets after he took the wires off.  Then the fun of having your teeth "power buffed" to get all the glue off of each and every tooth was the hardest part.  I got to brush and floss and haven't stopped smiling yet!!  

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