Absolutely Done Waiting... - Houston, TX

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This has been a long time coming. I am 30 years...

This has been a long time coming. I am 30 years old and have made the decision to start correcting my teeth. I have crowding and a crossbite of one upper lateral incisor. I searched for the right doctor for several months and finally settled on the right one. I considered invisalign, but chose to go with ceramic traditional braces instead. I chose traditional because, after a long talk with myself, I realized that I would not be 100% compliant with keeping the trays in. Also, the whole reason for getting invisalign was to avoid people knowing what I was doing. I realized that there is no reason to hide your self-improvement journey. Also, with the position of the main tooth that needs to be corrected, people would notice. The attachments would need to be on most if not all of the front teeth, and attachments are noticeable, in my opinion.

I am beyond excited. I hate the thought of having food stuck in my teeth, but I guess I will just eat foods that don’t require a lot of chewing, like rice and mashed potatoes. I will do more research on this and other sites for suggestions.

Now, let me tell you about my orthodontist. I love her office, the staff, and her attitude. She does offer invisalign, but her initial recommendation was traditional braces. Really, she told me I could go either way, and it was my choice. After a little thought and soul searching, I came to the belief that the outcome is more predictable with traditional braces because the doctor is in control. With invisalign the outcome is more dependent on the patient, and that just wouldn't work for me.

For my initial consultation she and the staff answered all of my wacky questions, most of which came from this site, and made me feel very comfortable. I felt like the staff wasn't trying to just sell me a product, they were laying out all of my options, and gave me all the information needed to make an informed decision. Another great thing about my orthodontist is that she offers Acceledent. I first heard of the device on this site. After checking into it I definitely wanted it. I had an appointment today to be measured for the mouth piece and to order the Acceledent device. My doctor’s office used the iTero scanner to digitally measure and map my teeth. The process took about 15 minutes and was painless. There was some discomfort because the tech is pulling at your lips and the device blows air to keep your mouth dry. They also took the before pictures and x-rays. I will go back in a week to get the bonding done and hopefully pick up the Acceledent. I am beyond excited. Hopefully I can make a post each week, even if it is only of pictures and a brief description.

To anyone questioning if they are too old to correct their imperfect smile, DON’T BE SILLY! You should give yourself the gift of self-confidence and self-esteem, and experience being comfortable in your body. Also, remember that improper bite can lead to other problems.

And it begins...

Today was the big day! I went to the orthodontist’s office to get my braces put on. I have ceramic brackets from American Orthodontics. I think they are the Radiance Plus, but I am not sure. The whole process took about 1 ½ hours. I got signed in by the front desk then went to brush, floss, and rinse. The office has a brushing station, but I like to do this in the restroom because I take my time and really go to town. When I got back to the waiting area, my name was called. I was led to the treatment area by the orthodontic assistant. The orthodontic assistant is the person that put my brackets on and attached my wire. I sat in the chair and waited as the assistant gathered the necessary tools and supplies. I was then laid back and a rubber tool was placed in my mouth to keep my lips back and out of my way. It wasn’t too uncomfortable. The assistant then put the suction tool in my mouth and dried all of my teeth. She started with the two teeth that have crowns. During my consultation I was told that these two teeth would have bands on them, but the assistant said they would first try brackets. If the brackets come off they would be replaced with bands. She then began putting the etching material on my teeth. After that she put the bonding glue on one tooth at a time and then placed the bracket. She then used a light gun (I guess uv light) to dry the bonding glue. Before the glue dried completely the doctor came in to check the placement of the brackets, took some measurements, and adjusted some of the brackets. Once all of the brackets were placed I got up to take a few pictures for myself. The brackets felt very foreign against my inner lips and cheeks. Kind of like I needed to brush or floss. I then got the buildup put on two bottom molars. I have one top tooth in cross bite, so I had to get “build up” on a few teeth to keep my top and bottom rows from touching. This will allow the tooth in cross bite to move forward to the right place in front of the bottom row. Buildup is basically tooth colored material kind of like bonding used to fix chips and gaps. It looks and feels weird but I’m cool with it. It just sucks having the buildup because right now I cannot really chew anything! Once the brackets and build up were secured then the wires were placed and trimmed. This part felt really weird. There was some pressure, but no pain. The only pain I felt was when my lip was pulled so the assistant could reach my back molars. Next the assistant gave me my AcceleDent and showed me how to use it and care for it. We also checked the mouth piece to make sure it fit. The new units don’t come with a docking station. There is the mouth piece that is a clear plastic tray and it plugs into the activator. The activator is charged via an usb cord that can be plugged into a wall adapter or your computer. After all of that, I had to watch a video that showed me how to care for and clean my braces. I was also told not to eat or drink anything for at least 1 hour. I also got some written literature on caring for my braces and foods to avoid. The pamphlet also said to wait 3 hours before eating or drinking. Like I said the whole process took about 1 ½ hours. So right after I got the braces put on I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. After 2 ½ hours I started having some irritation of the gum kind of like itching. It was like I hadn’t flossed or cleaned my teeth in a really long time and my gums had become irritated. So I stopped in at CVS and picked up a gum stimulator. This is the tool that has a long handle, about the length of a tooth brush, and a cone shaped rubber tip. I simply placed the tip on the gum and massaged the gum in a circular motion. This felt so good. It really did help the irritation. I decided that I would wait the recommended 3 hours before eating or drinking. My first meal? Mashed potatoes and rice and gravy. I did not chew the rice, I just swallowed in small amounts. I don’t recommend that because of indigestion, but I was so hungry and wanted to be full. Right after eating I brushed, flossed and rinsed with mouth wash. I was horrified when I noticed that the dye from my mouth wash temporarily stained my ceramic brackets. I rinsed with water about 3 times, then brushed with water for a few seconds. The dye came off, but the brackets look a little different. I will try a different brand from now on. The irritation came and went throughout the day and night. I rinsed with salt water and kept using the gum stimulator and a tooth brush to deal with the irritation. All-in-all, I am so glad I started this journey. I am so excited!

So the morning after getting braces…

As I type this update, I am using my AcceleDent. I charged it overnight for about 12 hours. The mouth piece feels weird. I have the size large and type flat. I can feel the ends of the mouth piece jabbing me in the very back of the mouth where the top and bottom arches meet (kind of where your wisdom teeth hide out). I am worrying that I am not getting the full benefit of the device. But from what I can tell, the mouth piece is easy to swap out. It may cost more money, but still can be replaced. The vibrations feel similar to an electric tooth brush. I know that you need three points of contact, but I only feel two, the left side 3rd molar and the left central incisor. Occasionally I grab the activator (part of the device that vibrates and is shaped like a handle) and tilt the mouth piece. I will have to do a little more research on other people that think the mouth piece doesn’t fit comfortably. I also am using my tongue to push the mouth piece up against the top arch. If I want the mouth piece to touch the bottom arch, I have to shape my lips into a frown or use my hand to guide the mouth piece to the lower arch. I don’t see where the device offers a soothing effect on my gum irritation. I think the mouth piece might be too long for me. Maybe I am just freaking out. Well sure enough the 20 minutes flew by. There was the ½ way warning with 3 distinct pulses. When taking the mouth piece out of your mouth, be over the sink or a paper towel. The device comes with a usb cable, so you can plug it into your computer and track your usage. The instructions tell you that your computer will recognize it as any other usb. You simply go to the drive marked AcceleDent and click on the file for the excel version or the webpage version to view your usage report. Also, when disconnecting the device from your computer, use the “safely remove hardware” option.
Well last night I did have to use some of the orthodontic wax on the two back molars on either side of my mouth. The brackets were rubbing against the inside of my cheek. I do have one molar that is actually extruding beyond what it should, and it is actually “poking” the inside of the cheek. This happened because years ago I had the bottom molar extracted, with the intention of getting an implant, but never got the implant. If you don’t have something to provide force against your teeth, then they continue to move, which is what this 3rd molar has been doing for years. I used OraJel on my gums to help calm the “itchy” irritation. I slept through the night without incident. When I woke up, I noticed that the irritation was back, but very mild. This kind of has me worried that I am not in more pain. I have seen so many YouTube videos of people saying that the pain snuck up on them after a few hours of getting the braces put on. Maybe my wires are not tight enough or maybe my doc’s office is just that good. I guess I will find out soon enough. My next appointment is in 8 weeks. I thought it would be sooner because of the AcceleDent, but I guess my doc wants to take it slow at first. I have read that you cannot move the roots of your teeth too quickly. What else can I tell you to expect?…oh yeah, spitting is a little weird at first. So when you first brush your teeth it will take a little longer than you are used to. And because I have the ceramic brackets, I now drink my coffee extremely light with a straw. I find myself not wanting to talk much right now, not because I want to hide, but because the brackets feel strange against my inner lips. Also, the way I hold my head, like when thinking or reading something on the computer, is different. Oh, and wearing lipstick with ceramic brackets is a NO-NO! Umm, I think that’s pretty much it for now.

1 week down...

I have had my braces on for one week now. As you can see from the pics, no changes yet (I am not so naïve that I thought there would be). So a rundown of my first full week with braces...
Day 2: My mouth felt so strange. My pain started around 30 hours after getting the braces put on. My teeth felt like they were loose and felt weak. Not all teeth felt the same amount of pressure. I guess the force is being applied differently. I could not chew because my bite has to stay open. I brushed, flossed, and rinsed after every meal, snack, and sugary drink. Luckily I already owned a waterpik. Oh my goodness, I love that thing. Talk about a spa day for your gums! I find that the pulsing water soothed the irritation. Of course lukewarm water felt best. Flossing was very strange, trying to get the floss under the wire was not too hard, but taking the floss out from under wire was difficult.
I ate thin noodles, again no chewing, and ground up fish and veggies. I literally put the food in a blender. It tasted normal. I also had milkshakes and plenty of water. I kept the wax in my mouth at all times on the 2nd molar (I think I called it the 3rd molar in a previous post) that has become superextruded (I think that’s the right word for it). I also put some wax on the lower canines as a precaution. I also noticed that I talked less and less throughout the day because of the irritation. I waited until bedtime to take ibuprofen. I used topical medicines like OraJel throughout the day. This really did the trick. Over all, the pain was more of a nuisance than a real pain.
Days 3 and 4: The real pain started. My teeth felt very loose and sensitive. I could only eat soft foods because my teeth don’t touch at all. I have just kept over the counter meds on hand. Really not that big of a deal I stuck with protein shakes, well cooked rice, mashed potatoes or soup, apple sauce or other crushed fruit. Also, chocolate just plain bar with nothing extra. Let it melt in your mouth and enjoy. Brushing is strange now because I brush after everything…meal, sugary drink, snack,…whatever. Also flossing is incredibly difficult. I will be getting a cleaning early. At first, I could speak fine, but around day 3 my lips and tongue felt weird. I did start talking with a lisp that was very noticeable. At work, people noticed, but didn’t really say anything. I definitely talked with a lisp. One person did actually share with me that they had braces years ago. I made sure to use my AcceleDent everyday. The mouth piece still hurt, but I remembered I also have buildup on 3 teeth, so biting down on anything right now is hard.
Day 5 and 6: The pain and sensitivity subsided. I still used the ortho wax, OraJel, and ibuprophen. Using straws became easier. Chewing was still not happening, so the menu is still rice, milkshakes, yogurt, applesauce, and ice cream! Also at Taco Bell I found I could order a side of Latin rice with ground beef, beans, and cheese is a great filling meal.
Day 7: I was talking much better by then. I continued to eat the same. I didn’t have to use the wax as much, only needed it on the 2nd molar that is “out of line”. I no longer used the OraJel or had to take the pain meds. All in all, the first week was strange, but nothing that can’t be handled.
I have pics, but of course, no change yet.

2 weeks down...

Well this week flew by. Most of the discomfort practically vanished.
Day 8-10: These days were nothing too special, but I did have some irritation. Also, I started chewing. I thought I wouldn’t be able to, but I used the teeth with the buildup on it. I stuck with soft foods like minced chicken, well-cooked veggies, and soft biscuits.
Day 11: I might be seeing things, but I believe I saw movement on this day. The left lateral incisor seems to have moved practically overnight. I think the irritation I was feeling early in the week was my tooth moving. I have pics of day 11 posted.
Day 12: Friends and family commented that they noticed my tooth had moved! This was without me pointing it out. I can’t tell for sure, but I will err on the side of hope ?
Day 13-14: Not much change. I found that I could chew a little more, which enabled me to eat faster.
I used my AcceleDent practically every day. There were two days that I missed, but I just double up the next day (1st early AM and 2nd right before bed). I know the research shows that using the device for more than 20 minutes a day is pointless, but more than 16 hours passed between uses, so I figured my jaw bone didn’t know the difference. All in all this week was good. I must say though, I can’t wait for my next appointment.

4 weeks down...

So weeks 3 and 4 just flew by. I was able to eat increasingly more and more, but still have to be careful when chewing. One of my brackets did come off on day 26. I was using a brushpick to clean after eating, and all of a sudden I felt the bracket move. I was hoping it wouldn't come off the wire, and then I thought it would be better to take it out. I was not going to chance chocking, so I maneuvered it off of the wire and put it in a safe place. I put wax over the loose wire. I called my doc's office and let them know one of the brackets fell off. The receptionist made a note on my file for my next visit to be extended for the repair. I am not worried about the bracket being off for the next few weeks. That particular tooth really doesn't have to move. Various teeth took turns being sore, but only if I touched it.

Now for the important items...I think I see movement with my two top central incisors. They look more even, which is the plan. I am trying to be patient, but I was hoping to have see a little more movement by now. Oh well...slow and steady, right?...

6 Weeks down...

Again, the last two weeks just flew by. I was finally able to eat a little more. Basically my teeth are taking turns being sensitive and moving, so some days I chew on the left side and other days I can chew on right. I have definitely noticed movement. The top central incisors are more even, although the right one is sticking out more than the left. I noticed that the wire between the two teeth is definitely straighter. And of course the left lateral incisor has made leaps and bounds within the 6 week period. If I don't tell people, no one would guess the cross bite was so bad. Flossing is still a pain. It takes FOREVER. I use a floss threader, but getting to the back top molars is nearly impossible. I have noticed that if I angle my tooth brush just right, I can get the bristles between teeth. I also decided to get a cleaning during week 6. My regular dentist had suggested that since I have braces that I should get cleanings every 3 months instead of every 6 months. Her reasoning was basically that it is difficult to clean your teeth with braces, so getting the cleaning more often can really help protect your teeth in the long run. Of course my insurance will only pay for 2 cleanings per year, but I'm sure with all the money I am saving on candy I will be able to afford it :)

Oh yeah, and I have lost 6 pounds simply because I have changed my snacking habits. I use to love potato chips and flavored crackers and candy, but now I snack on fruit cups :)

I am still using my AcceleDent pretty much every day (I may have skipped 1 or 2 within the last 6 weeks. I'm not sure if the device is really helping me, but I really like the progress I am seeing.

4 months/18 weeks down...

Well I know I’ve have taken some time to update my review. I’m not sure if anyone is still following it, but this review is more about me anywho :) So my teeth have done some strange things since my last review. The first 6 weeks produced crazy results. At my 1st follow up appointment (week 9) my doctor was so impressed! She told me that the movement of my top left lateral incisor was completely caused by using the AcceleDent and that normally that type of movement would take 2 or 3 months. Of course my elation was short lived. Throughout weeks 8 through 12 my upper right side teeth started moving in a weird way. The gap between my two front teeth became more pronounced and caused my speech to change. As the weeks have passed gaps have developed all over my mouth and it has made me feel a little eerie of my progress. I know that your teeth have to move around a lot before you get the final product, so I’m not freaking out too much. My 2nd follow up/adjustment appointment is in a few days. I am hoping that my ortho can put my fears to rest and explain her plan to me.

I have gotten used to brushing and flossing in public restrooms. I have learned to bring my lunch to work so I can always have something easy for me to eat. I have started eating more fun junk food like pizza, burgers, and hot dogs. Of course I'm the crazy person cutting her food into tiny pieces. I actually had someone look at my plate in disgust and ask "What is that?", to which I replied "My hamburger, but I have braces so I have to cut it up, its tastes just as good as yours!"

I have been using my AcceleDent, but I must admit my compliance and fallen. I have missed quite a few sessions in weeks 8 through 18. I am at about 89% use meaning I've missed about 13 days within my 126 days of treatment.

I’ve uploaded pics. I was trying to get pics from each week, but some were lost.

19 weeks down...

I had my 2nd follow up appointment. My fears were put to rest! I arrived at my appointment thinking I would get new wires put in. I sat back in the chair and the elastic ties were removed from the brackets. I was then told that the ortho would come to speak with me. I was a little bummed as I realized I wouldn’t get to floss my teeth without wires in the way. I had been looking forward to it all week. The ortho came in and explained that the gap between my two front teeth would be closed today and that we would start work on my bite on the right side using rubber bands. The assistant then replaced all of the elastic ties over the brackets. The assistant then tied a rubber band across my left lateral incisor and both central incisors. I only felt the normal pressure I already expected. Then a rubber band was placed on my upper and lower right canines and 1st premolars. I was told to wear this band all day except for when eating and using my AcceleDent. And then I was given a few packets of replacement bands and sent on my way. The whole appointment took around 25 minutes. My mouth was a little sore and my gums around my top incisors were irritated. I knew that the pressure from the band was causing my teeth to move. I ate fruits cups and rice with the band on the right side still in. I could not really chew too well because of the band but I was not ready to change it out yet. So much for following directions :) My appointment was at 8 am and by 5 pm I noticed that the gap between my top central incisors had closed. It was very strange to see the gap gone. Especially since I had come to accept it just a few days ago. Changing out the band on the right side was a little tricky, but I got it. So far I am back to being optimistic about my treatment. I hope to see more progress in the next 8 weeks. I have been more compliant with using my AcceleDent, and I am hoping that I can see my right sided bite improve within 4 weeks. I know you cannot really put a time table on this but a girl can dream…
I have pics from today. If you look back at my week 18 pics you can see the gap in the front.

23 weeks downs...

Well not much to say in this review. It has been a month since I started wearing the rubber bands. I have definitely seen a change in my right side bite. You can see for yourself. I am so happy with my progress. It is hard to believe that my journey started just 4 months ago...



My journey started 5 1/2 months ago...

23 weeks picture

27 weeks down...

I had my check up appointment today. My ortho was very satisfied with my progress over the past two months. I was also working on was my right side bite. My ortho was very pleased and said I could stop wearing my rubber bands on that side. She also said that it won't be much longer until my completion. She did not want to speculate too much on the completion date, but she hinted at maybe just a few more months. At the beginning of my journey I was told my treatment time would be around 18 months. My ortho did say at my consultation that the 18 month timeline gave her time to battle any unforeseen issues, missed/pushed back appointment and to do any tweaking necessary for my satisfaction. For her to tell me today that after 6 months I don't have much time remaining, I could not stop "cheesing" :)

Now for the technical stuff...She changed my bottom arch wire to a stronger wire (I think it is stainless steel) and kept the nickel wire at the top. We are also closing all of the gaps that were created over the last 4 months. She added a power chain on both arches that spans the entire arch, which means they did not put the elastic ties on. I didn't feel much pain today except for the usual soreness/slight ache in my jaw/headache, which showed up about 3 hours after my appt and remained constant through out the day. I did have to eat soft foods for lunch and dinner because chewing was a little difficult from the soreness, but it was not too dramatic. I had soup and a baked potato topped with chili :)

I have been 99% compliant with using my AcceleDent these last two months and I believe it really has made my 6 months of treatment just fly by. My next appointment is in 4 weeks and I am super excited.

Final note...I love the progress my teeth have made, but I think my bite is still a little off on both sides. My ortho said that after all is said and done they will "shape" my teeth to get them to all fit together, but we shall see. Honestly, if my braces came off today, I would still be happy, considering where I started from, but any who...

Oh yeah...I think I notice a difference in the gaps on the left and right side after 12 hours of having my power chains on. It could be wishful thinking though...I posted pics

I was foolisht to think...

So I was foolish enough to think that the pain from adding the power chain would be easy breezy. I was soooo wrong. There is a constant pain/ache that I expected. What I did not expect was the sensitivity to cold. I went to get a gulp of ice cold juice, and BAM! I almost spit it out, lol. I tried drinking room temp water, and still the slightest cool temp still caused a throbbing pain on my two central incisors (two front teeth). Thinking back, I don't remember a pain like this. Strangely enough, I tried a cup of warm coffee (I let it cool a little) and there was no pain. Oh well. I simply took some OTC meds for the constant ache and I might even slightly warm my water before drinking it. Whoever said "...beauty is pain..." was not joking!....but I know the pain is worth it :)

11 months down...

Its been a while since my last post, so here goes....

As the 1 year in braces mark approaches for me (next month) I must say I am very pleased with my progress. I smile more with braces than I ever have. It's so weird how simply straightening out your teeth can give you such a boost of confidence and self-acceptance.

I have had 3 appointments between December, January and February.

During my December appointment my ortho explained that we are now in the phase of fine tuning. The power chain came off as most gaps were closed but a few remained. I wasn't really worried about them though. 2 brackets were repositioned and 1 was replaced. Surprising it only took 40 minutes.

During my January appointment I was told to wear rubber bands to start fixing my overall bite on both sides. No big changes made during this appointment.

During the appointment I had today my ortho said all was looking good. She also addressed my concerns over a few gaps at the top front and one bottom lateral incisor that was still a little crooked. Of course she already had planned to fix those issues :) So she placed a short power chain spanning three top teeth on the left side. I will go back in 2 week increments until all of the top front teeth have shifted so my mid-line can be corrected. Silly me, I was thinking I would have to get bonding or something to fill the gaps. I didn't realize that the spaces were going to be used to still correct and straighten out a few things.

I was hoping I could have the gotten the braces off by the summer, but I don't think that will happen, but overall I am happy.
Houston Orthodontist

Dr. Brown and her staff are amazing. When you walk into the office the atmosphere is calm and relaxing. Everyone is genuine and courteous. Dr. Brown is also very active in the community, which goes to prove her character even more. The day after I got my braces put on, the office called to make sure everything was ok. I expressed my concerns about a few things and was assured that if the problems persisted that I could come back in to see what could be done. Of course the issue resolved itself (I was just being silly). It was still comforting for my concerns to be addressed with care. --I can now comment further since I have been in treatment for 6 months now. The staff has continued to be warm and courteous. If you need to reschedule your appointment they really work with you and never get annoyed. You are always greeted with a smile. I cannot rate the Aftercare and follow-up just yet.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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