I thought last time I posted, that the next time I blogged would be when I had my bottom braces off BUT…there was something I hadn’t factored in – and something I feel I must share with you guys in the interest of giving you the FULL picture of the straightening teeth experience…
…the removable retainer!
OK – I grant you – it doesn’t sound that scary, and it didn’t to me either. I knew that I was getting one because when you make your appointment to have your braces removed you also make an appointment for a few days later to have your removable retainer fitted. Sounds okay doesn’t it? Well – what I wasn’t aware of was that for the first two weeks after that fitting you have to wear your retainer 24/7. Yep – full-time for 2 weeks. I was also not aware that the thing feels more than a little peculiar and it takes a fair while to get used to it.
Now before I set you all off panicking please let me reassure you that you DO get used to it. Honestly. I thought I wouldn’t after the first few hours and was genuinely panicking (especially as I was due to go to a weekend singing workshop just 2 days after it was fitted and I thought I wouldn’t be able to sing without spitting over everyone and lisping like a snake). For the first 24 hours I was producing a lot of saliva (I know – eww right?!) but that was my mouth doing it’s natural thing and, sensing something in my mouth and assuming it was food producing stuff to break it down. I was very aware of the retainer in my mouth all the time and kept playing with it with my tongue. I was also told not to eat or drink with it in (apart from cold water) so I had to be prepared to carry my little dental kit with me including a box to put my retainer in when I wasn’t wearing it.
So – you’re producing enough saliva to drown a Russian Hamster, sissing and spitting, working your tongue round the thing, totally unable to eat and drink without having to sort out somewhere private to take it out, clean it and put it back in and you start thinking “do you know, I’d rather have the braces back on”! BUT then something happens….one day you realise that you haven’t thought about it for ages. Your mouth has gone back to normal spit wise, you’re not sissing or lisping and, actually, you’re just being a bit more mindful about when you eat and that’s not such a bad thing. Just like they promised at the Orthodontist you HAVE got used to it and it’s fine.
Now – I actually think the removable retainer is amazing – you can’t see that it’s there and it’s keeping your newly won straight teeth straight for you. Persevere and you will learn to embrace your retainer….eventually!
NB: Of course I’ve still got to go through the whole process again when the bottom braces come off so let’s see how charitable I feel towards a new removable retainer then! 😉
So – today was a big day for me (but also one with a question mark hanging over it). Despite the valiant efforts of Dr Clare at the Lincoln Orthodontic Centre it was fairly evident to me that the gap on the bottom row of my teeth (while much smaller) was still ‘a gap’. With that in mind I went to my ‘braces removal’ appointment wondering if anything would actually happen today.
I was greeted as always by smiles and reassurance but it soon became clear that only the top braces were going to be able to come off today. After my initial disappointment I realised that, actually, I smile pretty much only with my top teeth so I was going to have a noticeably better smile regardless. Thus reassured I lay back for the ‘Great Brace Removal – Part One’ to commence.
I’m not going to lie and say it was the most comfortable experience of my life BUT it wasn’t painful. The lovely orthodontist explained each and every part of the process as she went along which meant I was never laid there thinking ‘what on earth are they doing’? I think the worst part of it was the rather alarming crunching sounds every time she snipped a ceramic bracket off my teeth. It sounded and almost felt like it was my tooth giving way! Once the brackets were off, the glue polished away and an impression taken of my teeth for the removable retainer I was finally able to look in a mirror for the first time….
I was (and am) SO pleased! They look so straight and white – just how I’ve always wanted my teeth to look. And, just as I thought, when I smile you really can’t see that there are still braces on the bottom. Yay!
It will be AMAZING when I can finally have brace free teeth (sadly another 3 month wait for that) so I can eat some lovely crunchy things without worry BUT – for now – I’m very happy to have half of my teeth back and looking so dang fine! 🙂
See you on 21st August for the Great Braces Removal – Part 2!
Oh – and in case you wondered what they looked like before….
So, a couple of weeks ago (it was getting closer to my ‘braces are coming off!’ day – May 22nd) I noticed that there was still a noticeable gap between two teeth on the bottom right of my jaw. Experience had shown me that the bulk of the movement usually happened in the first few weeks after a new wire so…I started to get concerned. What if the gap stayed that ‘gappy’? What if I went for my ‘braces off’ appointment and they couldn’t take off my braces? What if..? What if..?
Before I got myself into too much of a whirl I though I’d send a photo of the aforementioned ‘gap’ to Lincoln Orthodontic Centre with a “what do you think I should do?” plea.
Within a few minutes of the Centre being open and them receiving my email/photo I had a phone call from one of the lovely receptionists there asking me to come at my earliest convenience so they could sort out the gap. Because of my time restrictions it would be another week before I could get there but when I did things were sorted out really quickly.
Apparently the wire was jammed so Dr Clare took out the old one (removing unnecessary elastics along the way) and fitted a new one. I’m pleased to report that, just a few days later, there is noticeable movement and the ‘gap’ is closing! I’m REALLY hopeful that, by May 22nd, the gap will be sufficiently closed so the brace can come off BUT Dr Clare has assured me that the top brace can come off regardless. Hurrah and an even bigger Huzzah!
Anyway – I’m posting this to urge anyone who has any doubts or concerns about their braces (and it’s effects – or lack thereof) to just mention these to your Orthodontist (maybe send a photo if you can). They’re ready to help you and set your mind at ease (and maybe put a new wire in for you). Don’t be afraid to say…
Fingers crossed my next blog post will be “The Great Brace Removal”!
Until next time! 🙂
Just in case you’re interested – here’s the difference so far…
It’s been a fair wee while since I last updated as the braces are so much a part of my life that they barely pull focus anymore. However, I do always blog when I’ve had an appointment at the fantastic Lincoln Orthodontic Centre – and today I had what could be one of my last appointments!
After just 10 months my teeth are really close to being ‘done’. The top row are tantalisingly close – with just some tiny gaps to close – but the bottom row still looks to me like it has a way to go with a socking great gap on one side. Still – the experts have said that they should be ‘cooked’ in 12 weeks time and who am I to disagree?!** 😉
**To be fair they have said that if I’m not happy with them in 12 weeks then we keep going till I am – how cool is that?
There’s a fair bit of ‘mouth furniture’ now – wires of various thicknesses, hooks and elastics – it’s ALL going on (which means even more care needs to be taken with cleanliness and hygiene).
NOTE: Despite all the ‘scaffolding’ you can see that my teeth have REALLY moved! Yay!
So – my next appointment is on May 22nd at 13.30pm and, hopefully, these braces will be coming off! Can you believe that?! The appointment will take an hour and they’ll take impressions of my ‘new’ teeth for making a retainer. I’ll go back a few days later to try out the retainer then I won’t be back at Lincoln Orthodontic Centre for 6 months.
Of course it could be that the gaps don’t close as well as anticipated and the braces need to stay on longer BUT I’d say we’re very nearly there! 🙂 French crusty bread and a crisp apple – you will soon be mine!
I know, it’s been ages since I last blogged about my braces. Thing is, after a time, they become so familiar to you that they just don’t pull your focus anymore. However, there is a time that’s guaranteed to make you aware of them again – and that’s when you go to have your wires changed.
Today was “extra specially special” because not only did I have my wires changed but Mr Clare himself did some “extra specially special” ‘tweaking’ to my teeth to make them more symmetrical when they get pushed back together later on. I’ve got some larger gaps now because of it but the top front 6 teeth look fabbo individually 🙂
There was a bit of strong nudging to get the new wire around the bottom teeth but the staff are so lovely I never felt concerned.
There has been some really noticeable differences to my teeth since the braces were first installed and already some impact on my confidence levels when I smile too. Since starting the treatment I have become a certified Laughter Yoga Leader and one of the things you do a lot is laugh with all your teeth showing! Someone promoting my workshops asked for a photo of me to use and, for the first time EVER the photo I sent them shows me with my teeth (and braces) showing – and I’m amazingly fine with it!
If I can feel like this not even halfway through how incredible am I going to feel when the braces finally come off??!! I’ll be a human version of the Cheshire Cat!
Well – it’s also close to Christmas so, while I’ve got your attention, let me take the opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Yes – it’s that time again. 4 1/2 months after 1st installation and it’s time for another visit to Lincoln Orthodontics and another set of wires.
I’ll be honest with you, it’s not the most pleasant experience (there’s a bit of ‘pressure’ and a couple of slightly alarming ‘snipping’ moments as the ends of the wires are tidied up) BUT the Orthodontist, Emily, and her assistant were very sweet today, always checking in, telling me what they were doing and making sure I was okay (which I was).
The actual appointment itself is fine in the main. It’s encouraging to hear the orthodontist say that things are looking good and going well. It’s the afterwards that’s a bit…shall we say…challenging. My teeth (and me!) had clearly got used to things being comfortable and easy. This should’ve alerted me to the fact that maybe my teeth weren’t moving anymore – which really isn’t what you want when you’re trying to affect change in the mouth area 🙂
Of course, now the new wires are in, my teeth, so used to the easy life and thinking it was all over (fools!) have suddenly remembered what it’s like to be pulled against their will. So they’re fighting back a little bit and giving me some aggro (rude!) There’s just a general throbbing at the moment (which I know will lessen – as it has before) until I eat or brush my teeth then I get a real “hoo-ha” twinge! So – it’s back to tentative, sensitive eating and being extra careful with things like nuts and other tough, chewy, crunchy things (ah, mashed potato – my old friend!)
Another 10 weeks before my next appointment and the next possible wire change (and a braces style ‘Groundhog Day’) 😉
Endgame folks – endgame!!
Disclaimer: image is: a/ not me and b/ not accurate! (I’m just being daft!)