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Closing all these gaps, finally! - Madison, WI

I was born with alot of diastemas. Our family was...

I was born with alot of diastemas. Our family was big (5 kids) and poor. We barely went to the dentist. I expressed desire to get braces as a young teen but alas it was purely cosmetic so my parents didn't let me. Burn! So, I lived my youth and into adulthood hating my gaps when apparently everyone else seemed to think they were "cute" or " mysterious". "Setting me apart from the rest". I never agreed.
I didn't make much of myself financially and married for love not money which means no extras. 3 kids and a decade later I've decided to just do something for myself for once and perhaps turn my dream of loving to smile into a reality.
So, 5 years ago I got one of my few molars pulled due to it having a cavity and being baby tooth. After that I went to place offering free consultations for Invisalign. Not orthos, regular dentists, not my own regular dentist who doesn't do that stuff. I was told that it'd be 9 months, $5,000 and they'd leave little spaces between each tooth instead of large ones since I have few molars and alot of space. I decided against it.

So now I'm revisiting the idea but this time with a board certified orthodontist. This is what he told me at the free consultation last week:
4mm diastema, low frenulum, moderate spacing between other teeth, pulled molar and only 3 (12 yr) molars, no wisdoms.
Disproportionate big jaw/small teeth.
Mild overbite, mild overjet, misaligned midlines, perfect bite.
So.... he said I could do invisalign or traditional braces. My teeth are all straight, no crowding, no crooked, easy. However.......... since I have a lot of space to close my molars would be moved alot as well to keep the bite, creating more space in back. His concern was that when I would smile, there would be dark shadows in the corners ( cheeks) of my mouth, since I am missing the usual molars. I am getting an implant eventually for the missing one on bottom that was pulled, later. Anyways, he then thought I could do braces then bonding or veneers to build up the teeth to minimize dark shadows in corners. He is worried I'd go through it all just to end up not liking how my new smile would look. He thinks it will look too narrow for my jaw and face. Thus the bonding idea. So he suggested coming in for an xray/ virtual imaging of how I'd look with my "new" teeth before deciding. And suggested seeing a cosmetic dentist to get perspective before the course of braces are determined.

So, it all seemed complicated and overwhelming. As if he didn't want to do it because ny teeth are super healthy and my bite and functioning are all perfect. It seemed like he wanted me to explore every nook and cranny of options before starting braces. He is one of the best in my area and I know what he means but I feel annoyed that it has to be so complicated. I told him that I think I'd be ok with a " narrow smile" and not to cosmetic work. He said to think about it and explore my options. Jeeeez, I didn't think my mouth was that hard to fix up. Makes me lose hope. I just want ceramic braces (not invislign). I am planning on doing that xray/ computer mock up ($320) to see how I could look. I'm nervous now!

I

Baby Steps to the Ortho

Hello all you lovely people! So, since I've written, I have gone back to the ortho to get the x rays and impressions. I chatted with the assistant and I decided to not get impressions for the invisalign. I just don't want them nor like the idea of trays. I don't like the idea of me being in charge! Haha... So, we discussed damon braces with SureSmile. They will do clear damon on top with traditional non-damon metal on bottom. (I think that's weird they wouldn't do metal damon on bottom.) So I had my follow up scheduled but they called me later and said that they needed to have me go to my regular dentist for a check up for the OK to do orthodontic work before I meet with Dr. Bird about my treatment plan. So I went to my dentist this past Monday, got an excellent report! No cavities, excellent bone/gum health. My dentist was excited for me about possibly getting braces. So it was encouraging! So now I need to call the ortho to schedule my follow up. I haven't decided to do anything yet officially because I'm worried that he will tell me my teeth are too spaced. I definitely have decided to not do bonding or veneers. So I hope what Dr. Bird offers me for a treatment plan works with that choice! I'll let you know soon!!!! :-)

It's official! Braces in July!

I went to the ortho yesterday for the follow up after my impressions. I was super nervous that he was going to tell me that my spaces couldn't be fully closed and wouldn't work and that I'd need bonding or veneers, too. So I thought if he said that then I would suggest leaving a gap only in the middle. I even brought pictures of models with a small gap for reference.
However, he didn't say any of that! He said that because of my lack of molars,and my "perfect lip profile", he doesn't want to pull my front teeth back for fear of making my lips roll in too much which in my case wouldn't look right. He also said that he will create a very small tooth sized space between the two premolars on the top on both sides in back, in order to move my teeth towards the front. I have so much space and a wide arch with not enough teeth, so this was the only way we could make it work. Also, that way I can choose to put implants there some day but I don't need to for a long time. I also don't need a frenectomy! Yay! The bottom arch he said is a no brainer and he'll leave the missing tooth open for an implant there, too.
So, my first braces app for the impressions is on July 3. I get my actual braces on July 17!
I'm still waiting to hear back from them about the exact appliance that he will be using. However, I know we'll be using ceramic "damon-like" braces on top. Not sure what the bottom will be yet. The assistant told me most ppl don't care or ask because they've not done as much research as me, haha!!! :-)
I'm so excited!!!!

one more week to go until braces

I got my impressions done a week ago and I'm going in a week to get my braces put on! I am so excited it's all I can think about! I'm putting together my homemade braces-hygiene-to-go-kit. I have a water pik. I have been enjoying things I won't be able to have, like gummy bears, skittles, popcorn, chips, soda, jerky, whole apples, biting my nails.
I actually have a nail biting problem and I think having braces will finally cure me!!
Any advice about what to put in my braces travel bag? Thanks!

I got my Braces!!!

I finally got braces! On Thursday (July 17) so it's been a day and a half. Getting them on took about an hour and 45 minutes. I think mostly because my ortho was bouncing between 4 other ppl so there was wait time. He us a Rockstar and I think I have a crush on him. :)

So, they did the lower first, with a tray that had the brackets on it, all at once. He just pushed it on my lower arch in one motion then the assistant peeled off the tray and the brackets were on! After curing them with light he did the top arch, each tooth separately. The assistant put on the wires, the ortho checked it all and it all went really well!

I have traditional metal twin brackets on bottom and I chose a dark pink for the O bands. (Donuts, I think some ppl call them). On top I have ceramic self ligating brackets that are white but have a metal door that slides shut to keep the wire on.
They are like "Damon Braces" but are actually the brand In-Ovation C by GAC.

It is the strangest feeling ever, of course.
Throughout that day the pressure built up gradually and I ended up getting a headache about 4 hours later. I ate yogurt which was challenging. I sucked on tiny bits of bread. I feel like a baby, haha! I just finished day 2 and I've been sore and hungry. I eat canned noodle soup and really soft cooked zucchini. My kids love my braces and they think I'm really cool. Heehee! I feel very proud and fortunate that I have this opportunity to better myself. A dream I never thought would come true. I happily welcome the strange feeling as well as the pain from poking wires and sore cheeks. I know the end result. Totally worth it!

So happy!

5 weeks in and I notice change!

I wanted to show that I notice slight change in the bottom teeth. The midline is starting to move towards the center! In this pic, the top two are before and the day of getting braces, the bottom two are today, 5.5 weeks in. I go next week for my band change and new wire (i think). Boy, it's been a rough transition. There's so much food that's hard to eat, The overall soreness and extreme sensitivity lasted about 2 weeks tops. I eat most foods now but I stay away from crusty or hard or chewy anything. My nails are looking nicer and longer and healthuser from not biting them. Bonus!
I used alot of wax the first few weeks. I had sores, the wires were digging in badly. I bent them back more and it is ok now. Things got better for a few weeks but then a few days ago started getting more sore up front behind my lips. I think it's from movement! I meticulously brush and floss and I use the interdental brushes after everything i eat. I use Biotene mouthwash. I also decides to go flouride free. I have always used flouride products sparingly. So I am using a flouride free toothpaste from Tom's of Maine. Biotene is also flouride free. Also, I have sprong water at my house, so no flouridated water, either. It's my little experiment. Let's see what grade I get from the ortho next week on my brushing. I'll update then, again.

So far, I love having braces. Although I do look about 15 now. Haha.

...adding picture for the last update.

power chain

Sorry I forgot to update 2 weeks ago when I got my wires changed for the first time. They also added a power chain to the top 4 teeth only. On the bottom, they made the wire extend across my missing tooth and onto the back molar. So now i have this tube they slipped on the wire to protect it and my cheek and tongue. They told me that I'm doing a excellent job keeping my teeth clean! See? You don't need flouride. Just good habits. I opted for teal and purple on the bottom. It's fun! As soon as they added the power chain (which I chose grey for) I could feel the pressure. So, it's been a constant mild headache or at least a mouth ache. I am 9 weeks in, now. Getting use to it but I never forget they are in there. It controls my life, almost!
Dr. Bird

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The braces look great!  For real, I mean!  Maybe you should consider just wearing them forever, like jewelry ;).  Maybe if they weren't so annoying!  Are you taking OTC meds for headaches or just bearing it?  I abhor headaches, ugh!  I hope that goes away for you.
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I can't see the picture…if you're having trouble uploading it we can work on that, cause I really want to see it :).

I used to do all Fluoride-free stuff (I use Tom's of Maine, too!) and found that my teeth got really sensitive.  I had to switch to the fluoridated Tom's of Maine one.  Some people don't have that problem, so I hope it doesn't affect you that way :).  Good luck!  :):):)
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Ooops! I added it now. . I wish there was a way to edit reviews. Anyways, sorry about that, my Internet is sketchy because it's satellite. Let me know if you notice change. Slight, but it's there! ...Good to know about the toothpaste. I will add that once or twice a week I use a flouridated toothpaste just to make sure I am getting a little. So far so good. I also sometimes dab some regular toothpaste on an interdental brush when I clean by the brackets. I am basically trying to avoid overusing flouride because I don't want those white spots. My teeth really hurt today. That must mean things are moving. :)
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I feel like I'm seeing some movement, but only in the bottom arch, especially around your lateral incisor on the right!!! :D :D
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Yes! The bottom is all I notice, too. The midline on the bottom has always been off centered. So now I'm seeing those gaps shift around a bit. A teeny tinsy bit but it's exciting!
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Aaaaaaaaaaah!!!!  Finally!  Congratulations!  And rockin' the pink, I love it!  So excited for you, woman!  I cannot wait.  My hubby was looking over my shoulder (he's the one who had Damon) and even he was excited for you.  

For bookkeeping purposes, I updated your date to the 17th and put "Not Sure" just because you're not done, but feel free to change that whenever.  I also moved you out of Damon.  The good news is that it's a larger community, but the people following you will still follow you.  It's good you put self-ligating braces in the body of your review, though, so searchers will find you :).  Let me know if you want anything changed!
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Thank you so much! (and thanks to your hubby for cheering me on, haha) This is truly one of the most exciting things I've ever done! Stay tuned for more updates! (How often do ppl like updates?)
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That's up to you :).  I think the more updates you do, the higher your review goes.  For Invisalign people often do it when they switch aligners but it's more fluid with braces.  How often are you going to be getting tightened?  I'm thinking every couple of weeks or if you feel something change in any way, you can let us know (now there's pain, now there's no pain, mouth feels weird, etc.)
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Thanks for the tips! I go in every 6 weeks, except for my first tightening, the ortho will be out of town so I have to wait 7. :/
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One week is nothing in the grand scheme :).  BTW, we just got another review from someone with tiny teeth and gaps, but she went with veneers (this is one of those reviews where they come after the fact, but she has pictures and is thorough.  I wanted to show you just because the case reminded me of you, not because I think you should go with veneers :).  Here is starkitty187's review.  In the questions, I asked her why she chose veneers instead of just pushing her teeth together and you can read her answer.
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Not that I don't want you to quit biting your nails, (I was on my kids about it for sure, :D) but what about braces makes that no longer possible?
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Because biting nails can break brackets and the pressure can counter act what the braces are trying to do.
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Ohhh.  So it's a great financial and aesthetic incentive :D!
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Exactly!
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Congratulations!!!!!  I'm not entirely sure where all the spaces are going to be, but I'm happy to hear how excited you are about it, and also really glad to hear that he won't pull your teeth backward too much.  Were you actually considering getting implants or was that just what the doctor said to give you some options?  They're a little expensive I know :).

I'm so excited!  I wonder if I should put you back in regular braces if you're getting self-ligating but not Damon brand.  I'll have to look into that.
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Thank you! I will let you know what they say. Yes I think they said GNC makes these braces. So, my top 8 teeth in front will be all closed, then next to those on each side will have a space, then the rest of my teeth will be after that. Only on top. (hope that makes sense). The implants are sort of his idea... except for the one I need on the bottom from when I had a baby tooth pulled. I have always wanted an implant there. It will cost $3,000. So I'll have to do it later in life. These braces are gonna cost alot! I am doing a $1000 down payment with a 24 month payment plan of $237.50/month. Not too bad!
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oops, sorry i mean GAC is the company who makes them. http://www.gacintl.com/categories/in-ovationsup-sup-system.cfm
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Yeah, implants are not cheap, and they're not covered by insurance either :(.  

So you'll have up through your first premolars before the space starts.  That sounds like what a lot of people do with veneers when they can afford it.  The first 8 teeth.  When I do the math, I get $6700.  Is that your new price and should I update it for you? :)  Better than $7k!
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I just hope the gaps after those 1st premolars aren't very noticeable. But honestly, after living with several gaps in front, i can handle it. So, my actual braces are $6700. I already paid $320 on top of that for the xray/ impressions app so I put $7000 originally because if you add those together it's $7020. I just rounded.
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Ohhhh.  Okay, fair enough :).  I think in that case it is better to leave it, since most places wouldn't give you a separate bill for the x-ray but you'd still end up paying for it.  Thanks :)
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It's been months since you updated your review!  Let us know what's going on :D!  You're answering questions but people who see your review don't know any of the other details, like the Damon thing and all.  Are you still going to be doing Damon, by the way?  Because then I'll move you to Damon.
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Ok... well, there isn't much to say that's why I've been waiting. But i can do a quick update. :-)
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I think people prefer the short updates to the long, drawn-out ones I give anyway ;).  But mainly, I'm hoping everything is okay, since I'd expected you to get a date by now….
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Thank you for the update!  That explains a lot.  Glad to hear the hold-up is not financial :).  I know it's very common to have non-clear on the bottom, but I don't know if it's common to use non-Damon on the bottom.  Have you looked at some of the Q&As about Damon, by the way?  I found a really interesting one here.
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How are things going? :)  I just wanted to check in and introduce you to a new Invisaligner.  She is called MissSmiley04 and has spacing issues that reminded me of you :).
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