Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 2 - Giving up the Goodies

My teeth are not near as sore as they were when I first got them on, but they are still sore.  But I have managed to eat some chinese food in Waller, so that is a good thing.  I don't know... that egg roll was a little bit of a challenge, but when you have not ate real food in over a week... you will do whatever it takes to eat.
Speaking of eating... I have had some issues adjusting to the "what not to eat" section.  I may have missed somethings I am adjusting to not eating, but these are the ones that are most memorable for me.

What Not To Eat:
  1. Popcorn - Not a problem for me. I have never cared for those kernels getting stuck in my teeth or on the back of my tongue before I got braces... so why care now?
  2. Nuts - Yes, this sucks!  I love peanuts, pecans, and well... all nuts.  Now I can't even enjoy my favorite candy bars anymore because they all have nuts in them.
  3. Pizza Crust - I must admit I love Pizza Crust, but it's okay... gives my Jack-Russell, Gypsy, something to gnaw on instead of me.
  4. Gum - Are you Serious?  I have chewed gum since I could walk... and I LOVE GUM!  This has been very difficult, but I am managing.
  5. Ice - Given that I am like borderline anemic, this has been a HUGE issue... my body actually craves ice... so yes... this one I have hated the most... but I am being a big girl and following the rules.
  6. Laffy Taffy - Even the Banana Flavor... BOOO!  It doesn't help that Fuel Depot leaves those on the counter (the banana ones) staring at me everytime I go in there.
  7. Chips - I choose to stick with softer chips like Pringles...
  8. Hot Tamales - NOOOOO!  I looooovvvveeee Hot Tamales, but they are too sticky. 
I am really glad the first week is over.  The second week is much better and I am looking forward to each week after this.  I find it amusing to compare my pictures to see already how much my teeth have moved.  I have my first dentist appointment next week, to get my rubber bands changed and check on my progress. As for brushing my teeth and flossing.... soooo much easier now.  The braces don't bother me at all. Jess (my boyfriend) refers to my braces as my "brush guard"... he is so funny.  He is adjusting to me having them as well. 

That is it for now... hope to update ya next week on my progress!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 1 - Let the Pain Begin

The Adjustment to Braces:
Getting used to having metal 24/7 in your mouth is a real pain... literally. It feels like my lips keep getting hung on the top brackets, my lips are so dry (thank goodness for Carmex), I talk funny (whenever I say anything that starts with an "F" or "V" I manage to whistle), and I CAN'T EAT! You never realize how important those front teeth are until you can't bite down on anything, because when you do... shooting pain radiates from your teeth through your jaw. I have realized the best thing to do is not chew anything for the first week. Only eat soft foods like instant potatoes (which I happened to find flavored instant potatoes in packets which were great for taking to work... just pour packet in a bowl, mix with water, and heat up in the microwave). Other great foods: yogurt, spaghetti, macaroni n cheese (Kraft is the best!), and ice cream. I have managed to drop several pounds thanks to not being able to eat! I must say the worst was about a week after getting these magical brackets put on... I had my meltdown. My boyfriend of 3-1/2 years decided he wanted chinese food and sushi from one of my favorite places... King Palace. Now, I haven't been able to eat hardly and was Starving! I broke down at the table crying because I just wanted to eat. All I could eat was Jello and Egg Drop Soup. Yep, my daughter, lil brother, Momma, Rick, and Jess watched me cry infront of everyone because I could not eat. Sucked, but it is part of the battle with adjusting to these braces.

Do Braces Really Hurt?:
Hell Yeah they do... not forever, but yeah... they hurt soooo bad. In order to allow braces to start shifting your teeth, your teeth must first become loose in order to move them. When is making a tooth that is happily planted in your gum, ever going to feel great when your tooth is now being pulled in another direction by mean ol wires? Never... well, atleast that is what I thought. But they got better.

Strange Sounds and Feelings:
I already have TMJ issues due to my extreme subconscious need to clench my teeth. Braces have increased this desire by ten fold! I wake up in the morning with very sore teeth and jaw... because apparently, I think I need to clench and grind my teeth. The dentist told me this was a normal sensation, but I think mine is a little extreme. I have found if I clench on my front teeth and even a certain molar, my teeth, not the braces, make a clicking/popping noise. Found out it is because my teeth are so loose when I clench, it is breaking small fibers and such... which I actually find to feel good.  But this weird noise and sensation also is only temporary... so don't worry. 

Taking Care of the Braces and your Teeth:
Yes, I have discovered oral hygiene is a must with braces. Even if you thought you brushed your teeth enough in the past... with braces you will double if not triple it. Trying to brush and floss at first was a lil awkward to me. I bought a colgate wave tooth brush to carry with me, a sonicare toothbrush for at home, a water pik to use at night, a bunch of those lil christmas tree brushes, some floss that has a hard end to guide between the wires, and mouthwash. There may be more I purchased, but I can't remember. All I know is the few grand I shelled out for these boogers and my "supplies" have pushed me over the four grand mark. 

Moral of the story:
The first week sucks! Take Motrin, brush and floss like crazy, use wax if needed on brackets or wires irritating your lips or gums, stick to soft foods, and be patient. The worst is soon behind you. Just keep your eye on the prize... a beautiful smile!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Banding Appointment

The time is here! The banding appointment! Get ready for 2 awful hours of holding your mouth open and choking on your own saliva, because ooops, they forgot to put that sucker thingy in your mouth! :) I felt bad when she noticed, because she was so apologetic... but I understand they were busy trying to prepare brackets for my new smile.

Time to etch your teeth with the most awful tasting paste that man could create. Do you think they purposely make that stuff as funky as possible just to amuse the dentist with your facial expressions? I think curdled milk may taste tastier that that stuff. Heck, they flavor medicines, why can't they flavor dental pastes? Anyway, back to the bonding... once you rinse that nasty paste, they apply special cement to the bracket and carefully place it on your tooth. Once the dentist is through tinkering with it in order to be sure it is placed just right, they use this bright blue light to cure the cement, which bonds the bracket to your teeth. You repeat this process over and over until all of your teeth that needs to have brackets are well... bracketed.

Now, let me tell you, your teeth feel funny at first, but you get used to it really soon... within a few days to a week. Are you ready for the wire and cute lil rubber band ligatures? This is my favorite part of the whole process... they insert a small thin wire on top of your brackets and hold the wire down with those bands I just mentioned. Now, I am a mom of three, but don't think my age is going to stop me from playing with the band colors. I look forward to letting my daughter pick out my colors, or changing them with the holidays. Why stick with clear or silver bands because your not a kid? We are all kids at heart!  Back to the bands... as the dental assistant applies each band (which is not painful at all) your teeth start to feel tight, but not painful. Notify them if a wire is poking you on your back brackets, so they can trim it... wires that poke hurt!

Now that you are finished... take a look in the mirror and smile!  Your teeth will never look the same again. I won't lie to you, your teeth will be sore, so take Motrin or Tylenol... but be sure to follow the carton/bottle instructions on dosage amount. The next week or two will be awful. Hope you looovvveee Mashed Taters and Yogurt. You won't be able to chew anything... at least not for a week or two. I found the worst pain to be the day after the banding appt.

For those who are nervous... try not to be. Just prepare yourself by eating a good meal prior to your appt. and brush and floss your teeth before you go... no one wants to smell rank breath. Just relax, take an OTC pain pill, and get excited over your treatment!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Preparing for Braces

I have always had dreams of a gorgeous smile. I was not one of those girls in highschool blessed with naturally beautiful teeth and I was not one of those girls who were lucky enough to have perfect teeth thanks to the amazing little wonder called orthodontic braces. Nope! I was the girl in school who would still smile, but thought everyone was snickering at my not so fabulous smile. Now I know my teeth could be alot worse than I make them out to be... but all I see when I look in the mirror are these gnarly teeth begging for help.

Well, as I noted, I was not so lucky as a teenager, but now that I am on the backside of my twenties, I have decided the time for my dreams is NOW!  Unfortunately, my dental insurance through my work does not cover orthodontics, but thankfully they do offer FSA! I took out $3,000.00 through my FSA and also used my income tax refund to pay for the tiny little brackets, bands, and wires which will lead to "Wow! Look at her Smile!" 

My next step was setting up the consultation along side of my 6 month cleaning, which was also way over due. now, I have read stories about consultation processes... but mine was pretty simple. After the dreaded cleaning, my dentist aka Dr. Black, came in and would ask me to do the following about 100 times... well, that is what it felt like! "Open" "Close" "Open" "Close"... over and over. Once he was through examining my teeth and my bite, he looked at me, gave me a smile, and told me I was an excellent candidate for braces. He then proceded to speak in Dental Lingo to his assistant about my treatment plan and costs. Only $3600 and some change. Yikes, but I really wanted these lil boogers, so I accepted.

Off to the records appointment. Now this really ain't that bad. Thankfully my good friend is a dental asst. there, so she had me schedule this appt. for immediately after my consultation. First, they took molds of my uppers and lowers. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but not unbearable. They insert a metal tray filled with plaster of paris like goo, and press it against your upper teeth then repeat the process for your lower teeth. Once you have completed that, they take your pictures.  They ask you to smile and take your picture from the front and side. This is so they have a photo to compare your progress to, and it is also showing them your current facial structure, as this can change with braces... but only slightly! I recommend looking half way decent, as this becomes part of your permanant file... unless you are like me and they accidently erase the photos while trying to upload them. Last is the awful cheek expanders and close ups of your teeth. Man am I glad she doesn't have a facebook page... those pics would be embarassing!  I also had to insert a large mirror in my mouth to get good pictures of my teeth as well. That's it! Time to schedule the banding appointment! Excitement builds knowing in one week little silver miracle workers will begin!