Adult Braces - Damon Clear - Niles, MI

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I am 46 years old and got my braces yesterday -...

I am 46 years old and got my braces yesterday - clear on top, metal on bottom. I have always hated my smile - when I smiled you couldn't see much teeth. Also, a little crowded, some small gaps, some teeth are a little rotated, and my entire top teeth were shifted a little. My bite was straight on (basically no overlap in either direction) and was causing my teeth to wear down. I noticed things getting worse, so I thought I'm gonna do something about it. So my dentist recommended an orthodontist and I went through with the braces. I originally was looking at Invisalign, but decided to go with the damon system because they are pulling my top teeth down and broadening my arches? to give me a bigger smile. At this point in time you cannot really tell I have braces on my top teeth unless you look closely. That is except for 1 elastic I am wearing to bring those front teeth down (so I will have a more toothy smile); I change these clear elastics 3 times per day so no staining issues. An unexpected thing, my molars were hitting bracket so I got a coating to protect the brackets. Unfortunately, I will have an open bite for about 10 weeks. Oh well, the price we pay - my price will be talking like Sylvester the putty tat for 10 weeks. Not painful to put them on - but the braces feel uncomfortable and I'm a little sore today. I have a small mouth - i.e. small teeth, which presents a flossing challenge. I will try to post updates as I will be in these for about 2 years.

Day 2: No big deal, A little more pressure felt. ...

Day 2: No big deal, A little more pressure felt. Took a Tylenol, bought mouthwas that helps with soreness. The elastics on the top seemed really sore.
Day 3: Holy cow, just constant pressure, feels like you have food caught between you teeth, but every tooth! Its very annoying and distracting. The elastics on the top are causing a line indention into my gums above my teeth and are seriously irritating my gums. I couldn't find a blog on how to deal with this, as everyone says to put was on the bracket; since my bracket is so high, wax on the bracket was not going to help. So it took "alot" of patience to do the following, rolled wax into a snake like configuration, flattened it, and placed it directly onto my gum indention. THEN I carefully made sure that when I attached the elastics that portion rested on top of the wax. So the was was a buffer between my elastics and gums. This really helped, but of course the soreness was still there. Im also getting some small sores from the brackets on the very back molars.
Day 4: Discomfort is a bit less than yesterday. Removed the wax from my upper gum to show bleeding. It stopped, which is very important to me as I am on blood thinners, warfarin to be exact. So I reapplied the wax and new elastic. It is much easier to take a q-tip and dab it on your gums to lightly dry so the wax will stick. When I brushed after lunch, no bleeding, irritation is much less. I did notice that one of my teeth is sensitive to brushing, so it must be moving! I gotta say my sonicare has been great; however, when brushing say lower jaw, if you accidentally let the head of the brush touch the top jaw it will shake your world!! Makes sense considering your teeth are wired together. Lessons learned!

Day 5 & 6: I need to update on the "tip" I...

Day 5 & 6: I need to update on the "tip" I mentioned previously regarding my elastics making my gums bleed. Let me reiterate the problem is not the brackets, but the bracket hooks that hold the elastic trapazoid (6 teeth on top, 4 on bottom); the elastic that strings "across" the top teeth do not actually rest on the teeth but rest on my gums. My wax "snake" left on overnight becomes so soft, the the elastics cut right through it. Woke up and my gums were bleeding and "very" painful again. However, I did find a temporary solution to hold me over until I could see my orthodontist during working hours. I found a rubber band with a width about 1/4"; I cut a 1" long section. Soaked it in alchol , applied THAT to my gums then strung the elastic "over" that. This buffer WORKS LIKE A CHARM!! No bleeding, reduced the pain, and bought me some time. So I saw my orthodontist today and they found an alternative way to "string" the top. Whew that problem is over!!
Another update is the Sonicare I so love. Let me say there is NO LOVE when a tooth is moving/loosening and becomes sensitive. I have reverted back to the old manual toothbrush for now.
I have felt my teeth shifting slightly since day 1. I am now on day 7 and still no noticeable movement.

Day 9 and not much to report except I am...

Day 9 and not much to report except I am definitely getting used to this. My toothcare routine is getting a little quicker. I made a little dental kit to take to work so I can brush my teeth there. I'm getting used to having to speak in meetings - I'm able to laugh at myself and make jokes about the Sylvester thing. People cracked up today when I started singing "I'm sexy and I know it," my version is "I'm SHEKSHY and I know it" - lol!!
One serious thing I'd like to mention - above I told you I'm on blood thinners (coumadin / warfarin). Since my eating habits have drastically changed I decided to go in for an impromptu blood check. We were very surprised to find out my INR shot up to a dangerous level. I'm so glad I went in. I would suggest to anyone with my similar issue or has to any sort of blood monitoring to "get your blood checked!"

Oops I posted my update to the wrong place. You...

Oops I posted my update to the wrong place. You can find it below in the wrong spot :D One other thing I forgot to mention is that my teeth have yellowed - the brackets have not. I brush 3-4 times day and am doing a superb routine. The only thing I can think of is that when they "roughed" up my teeth to place the brackets, it allows coffee stains to soak in - I only have 1/2 in the morning. I am increasing my cleanings from 2x yr to 3-4x per year. When I have my next appointment (on Halloween), I'll ask my orthodontist about it. I'll keep you all posted!

I am updating to finish my discussion on how...

I am updating to finish my discussion on how yellow my teeth had become after I got my braces on over 1 month ago. My teeth were rough, and even though I have meticulously cared for them, they kept getting more yellow. I am a coffee drinker, but have never had teeth 'that' yellow! I made an extra appointment with my dentist for a cleaning to see if it would help..and VOILA! It did! My suspicions were confirmed, a very thin film of the bonding agent got all over my teeth somehow. You cannot brush this off and it was holding stain. My teeth are now smooth and pearly white again! Now just to warn you, obviously because your teeth are moving and sore, it isn't pain-free. But I personally felt it was worth the discomfort. You have to judge if you are able to handle your teeth to be touched.

I had my first adjustment which consists of...

I had my first adjustment which consists of thicker wires. Also, I agreed to keep the pads on my molars because of how much it helps my particular treatment. As for the wire switch, I must say it was painful because my teeth are moving and a bit sore. It was a really tough day to get through, Tylenol was my best friend. The good thing is the pain only lasted one day!!! It was all but gone when I woke up the next day. My teeth have moved so much already, still lots more to go but it sure is nice to know that its working. Also, now that my top front teeth are beginning to meet my lower front teeth (even with the pads on), right after my adjustment when one tooth would hit another, it was quite painful; I would best describe it as the pain you get when you hit your funny bone. I've noticed there seems to be a rhythm or cycle to my personal experience, 1) really sore teeth, 2) noticeable movement, 3) reduced or no pain, then the process starts all over again. So I've come to welcome sore teeth - weird, huh?! Goes back to the adage, "no pain, no gain." I'm also again using my Sonicare..even when my teeth are sore; I guess I've just gotten used to it and it speeds up my toothcare routine so much.
Well I guess I won't have a lot more detailed updates, I believe I'vetruthfully documented all the major stuff that happens (or at least happened to me) at the beginning of getting braces as an adult. I really am so glad I did this and I'm looking forward to the end result. I will keep you posted if anything major seems to happen and will post picture updates when appropriate. Of course, I will be glad to respond to any posts anyone might have.

On the down-swing and loving it!

Its been about 14 months since I got my braces. I AM SO HAPPY!
I have more gums, more teeth showing, and love to smile now :D I see myself in photos and it has just made such a big difference to me in my self-confidence. About 3 weeks ago I received a compliment I have 'never' received in my whole life, "You have such a beautiful smile." I was so caught off guard - I wanted to just give her a big hug!!

Eating: If you're not sore, you really can eat just about anything without mushing it through a fork, it just takes more patience as you need to take smaller bites and eat slower. As you were warned though, stay away from anything crispy. I've heard many people tell me they had no problems eating and even cheating with chips and such, but the one time I did, I broke off a bracket and it set me back a couple months (i.e. not worth it).

Cleaning: Wow can braces hide ALOT of food, so I've expanded my cleaning routine. 1) rinse, rinse,rinse. 2) Brush with my sonicare. 3) Waterfloss (you'd be surprised what jetted water can find still hiding) 4) manual floss. I have to update on my favorite method here. I have found those cheap blue threaders work 'great' for me. Just 'tie' a piece of floss to it and have at it! Don't use expanding floss though as that gets caught in your braces and you'll find yourself cutting it out with scissors.

Pain and discomfort: Each adjustment takes you to a thicker wire so expect discomfort/pain. I find I almost always have to take a tylenol for a day or so after. The worse so far has been the very 1st adjustment, and when my 1st 'finishing' wire was put in a couple months ago. Be advised, this is based on my particular treatment; your experience may vary based on your treatment being more/less aggressive.

Yellowing: Obviously, you can't bleach your teeth with braces, so normal yellowing occurs if you drink coffee/tea. Do I still like my clear damons? Yes! Can you see them when you smile? Yes! However, surprisingly people don't always notice them. Also you can't see them in long distant photos. Would I get them again? Dunno! It's a draw. You are still going to see the increasingly larger archwire, and elastics. I surprising found I have a lot of fun with the neon bands - and I'll be 48 years old next week!! LOL.

Well I guess thats alot of reading. I seriously never knew orthodontics, or any other procedure, could give me a smile I could be proud of. I'm looking forward to posting my 'after' pictures in 10 months or so.

Its Over And I'm happy!

Whew! Boy has this been a ride! Now for the update.
I got my braces off Sep 2014. My teeth were awesome and I was so happy with my new look. A few days later, I moved to another state, Georgia! Wouldn't you know, during the move, I lost my retainers!!!!! Surprisingly I had a difficult time finding anyone who would make new ones for me. So ok, I'll get braces for a few months - again. But I got the same answer - you look just fine. I know I looked fine, but my teeth were MOVING - I could feel it, I could see it. So no one would make me a retainer, and no one wanted to put braces on me. After a few months my teeth obviously moved where others could see it. I went to a few orthodontists, some which really frightened me because they were so much different than what I had had previously - I did't want my teeth "slimmed," I saw a lot of people with teeth looking like piano keys - no thanks. I found a great dentist who I sought out to replace all my silver fillings with
amalgam ones, and a crown, referred me to a good ortho.
Needless to say, another bout of braces. SO I got them off yesterday and posting a picture before anything happens again.

Lessons learned.
1) Make an extra copy of your retainer.
2) Wear them EVERY DAY. I noticed even 1 day made a difference - an extra day would kinda hurt putting them in.
3) My 2nd set of self-ligating braces were not Damon. They were much cheaper, but the same affect. Do your research.
4) Choosing braces. Sure the ads say you can hardly see them, but the truth is you step up thickness of the wire, you wear lots of "hooks," powerchains, and bands, and your teeth and the bonding turns yellow (unless you only drink water)....eventually they're noticeable! And, if they need to build up your molars like mine, even the beginner braces won't help you pretend your not wearing them.
5) Does it hurt? I'm just gonna say it - yeah!! Sometimes it does! It hurts at different times, in different ways, with different pain levels. Different people will experience it differently depending on your pain tolerance. I noticed after all the work on my teeth my teeth are a bit sensitive now.
6) Will my teeth have the same outcome no matter who I use? Probably not. The 2 ortho's I used had totally different results. Both were fine, just different (my 1st outcome was better in my opinion). Make sure you discuss with your ortho what you want your smile to be. If they say they can't do it, do your research - maybe they can, but maybe they don't have the skill or technology to do what you'd like. Go see several orthodontists for their opinion, and check their credentials. Don't go to someone just because they have 10 "stars" in yelp.
7) Is it worth it? YES YES YES! Did you see my before and after? Are they perfect?? No, because my teeth are not perfect. Decades of wear and tear and genetics decides what you'll look like in the end - but braces can make the best of what you have. I love that I see my teeth when I smile :D
8) Have your dental work done FIRST before having your braces. Get all cavities done, get your crowns, GET YOUR SILVER FILLINGS OUT - they leak and cause tooth decay! Oh and YES - they can put braces on a crown!!
9) Is this the end for my quest for a beautiful smile? For now yes. I do think I'll eventually look into cosmetic dentistry.

I hope this has helped you in your decision. I'll end this review with saying, I'm glad I went through it but I'm happier its over! :DDDDD
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