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Braces After 24 Years of Half Smiling! Let's See... - Memphis, TN

Today was the beginning of the rest of my life, or...

Today was the beginning of the rest of my life, or so it seems. I've wanted braces since I was old enough to realize I had an unattractive smile. I never showed my teeth because i was never confident enough.
I was browsing Groupon one day and ran across a coupon for Invisalign. Went to the consultation and found that i was not a candidate. I have peg laterals and retained baby teeth on either side of my laterals. The dentist recommended traditional braces but I was skeptical because I didn't really want them at this age. So I went to my car and thought about it for all of 20 minutes then called the office to schedule my first appointment for a cleaning and get the ball rolling.
After a cleaning and records appointment, I was scheduled to have the braces put on. That's what I did today. I went in, got clear brackets on top & metal on the bottom. In the midst of the dentist placing my brackets on, he decided to go ahead and pull those baby teeth. I was nervous about the space it would leave but it doesn't look that bad when holding my mouth in a normal position.
The procedure was more annoying than painful but I did get numbed for the extractions so that may have something to do with it. My upper lip, nose, and cheeks were numb for about 3 or 4 hours and it felt really weird.
I thought I could eat a soft Burger from Wendy's but it was far more annoying than I had imagined. I literally hate having to bite down. I finished my evening with 2 tubes of Go-Gurt and a slice of cheesecake. If it doesn't slide down my throat, I don't want it.

The Horrible Before Pictures

I don't understand the pain

It's been about 2 weeks since my first tightening and all was well until a couple of days ago. I get this pain in one tooth when I drink something cold. I can't explain it but it's like biting down on a popsicle with a rotten tooth. It's weird. Has anyone else experienced this?

Got My Rubberbands Today : /

Today I went in for my 3rd tightening since I got my braces put on. I experienced the usual gum sensitivity and irritation except now I have to deal with these annoying rubberbands. Ughhhh.
Dr Joel Rutledge

I feel really comfortable with my dentist and he makes the procedure seem like a piece of cake.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (21)

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Your smile is already looking loads better!  I'm sorry the elastics are so uncomfortable, though :(.  Do you have to wear them 24 hours/day or do you take them out for eating and cleaning?  Did they call the wear pattern anything specific?
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Unfortunately, I can't remember if this ever happened to me during my orthodontic treatment, but I did find something that may be applicable in the doctors' Q&A.  It's from the Invisalign section, so you probably haven't seen it :).  It's very likely it will resolve, but you should probably let your doctor know at your next appointment if it hasn't resolved itself by then :).

Sensitivity to Cold w/ Invisalign
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I think that is your roots moving. I haven't had a tightening yet, but I get these weird feelings from time to time like I'm biting on metal.
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Oops, I didn't read your post correctly. Yeah, sensitivity to cold should be discussed with your doc, just to make sure you don't have any problems.
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Congrats!! You are truly an inspiration to me. I'm in my late thirtys and have horrible teeth. I've decided to invest in myself and get braces. It can't be any worst than looking at my teeth now. I can't wait to get the braces on!!! Thanks for sharing your story.
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No problem, when are you getting yours?
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Yeah I will be joining you in June in the braces department to fix a horrible underbite. I too had baby teeth removed. I had three removed. How long did the dr say you are going to need the braces? I was told 18 months and then I will need a retainer and three implants to replace the baby teeth.
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Good luck, I know youre anxious. I was told 15 months. I won't need implants because my permanent teeth were always right behind my baby teeth so I'm just waiting for them to fall in place.
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@Tvelazquez9579--you never got any adult teeth for the baby teeth?  And will implants fit in that space or will they be making space for them with the braces?
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Yeah, I was told it's a genetic thing, no adult molars, no wisdom teeth either. Never had them, or the molars, only baby teeth. So...by the age of 30 my teeth had cracked and worn down and had to be pulled. I do not know all the details, but I do know my jaw is extremely small and my top palette is short, apparently I have a palette issue as well. At first my dr thought he would just break the bottom jaw, brace me, then implant me and it's a done deal as I have a bad speech issue and he figured it was due to my lower jaw being askew, and me missing all the molars by the time I was 35. It's super hard for people to understand me when I speak. I have to talk slowly to be understood clearly and it's annoying. So after X-rays it was found that my top palette is actually too short, that combined with the crooked jaw and lack of teeth is causing the speech impediment. If I was a teenager the braces would expand my palette out and make it the correct length and width, but as I'm older and my jaw is harder that cannot be done. Only the alignment will be fixed and then the spacing isn't an issue for implanting as my teeth are small, but they have shifted about since all my molars are gone, so they will need to be slid up to do the implants. That's about it and then I will sleep with a retainer. I will most likely need speech therapy the entire time also. This should be 18 months and is considered completely cosmetic by my insurance as I'm over 21 so it will cost me $4500. I only eat with my front teeth as I have zero molars and each implant will cost $800 a tooth, also considered cosmetic by insurance. I guess you don't need teeth. Honestly I've considered pulling them all and getting false teeth. Something that is covered by insurance sad to say.
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This money is truly an investment in your current and future health, and once it is paid for and you begin to recover from the costs, you will be so happy you went this route instead of dentures.  Dentures are not an ideal permanent solution for young people--the bone loss begins immediately and your jaws are already small!  No, you are doing the right thing.  I wish that insurance covered it, though :(.  We have a lot of people who desperately need implants--some of them already suffering from denture problems--who post here on RealSelf but can only dream because by the time they are looking, it's going to cost between $40k and $100k to get it done (since they need everything replaced).  

After everything you've said, though, I'm surprised they didn't recommend jaw surgery.
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Yeah dr pierce is my dr and I guess he knows what he's doing. I've seen his work on co-workers, family and friends and they look good so I will be in braces soon myself just got to scrape the initial payment together. He wants $1000 down and then payments of $500 until paid in full. I can't wait to see the results I get and I will make sure to post pics. I look forward to seeing more pics of this young lady also. It's encouraging to see others going though it and helps push me to go through with it. I know it's needed. I'm very eloquent with my words in typing, but I'm rarely understood when I speak. Hopefully braces will fix this. Only time will tell :D
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I look forward to seeing you in the community, @Tvelazquez! :D
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Thank you for posting before pics! :D
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Looks great; don't worry about how they look as the teeth and time will go fast. When people see a person with braces it makes them either think they need to get them or it reminds them of the period they had them. By the way, you got a great deal under $4K.
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Thanks, I am already experiencing those reactions from others. I thought it was a really good deal considering the situation my teeth were in.
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Thank you for starting your journey here with us!!!  I agree that you can barely notice the removed teeth--I guess it helps that they were so small, but seeing the adult teeth behind them just makes it look like you have crowding and the baby teeth weren't even there.

So excited to follow your progress!  We don't get nearly as many traditional braces reviews nowadays, and some people just get better outcomes with them.  We have a few active people though.  donewaiting already found you :D.  amylind05 is another--she is some months further along than you.  Jannstar is still in the planning stages.  Finally, Feebster has been going for around ten months but her case is complicated, so she's still going :).  And she wears cool-colored elastics :D.

I hope you find time to look around!
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Thanks for the warm reception. I was looking for more reviews and journeys to follow and I will definitely be checking every out.
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:D!
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Good for you! How long will your treatment last?
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Thanks, 15 months!
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