29 and Getting Braces... Scary Road Ahead of Me! - Palos Heights, IL

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I have always been unhappy with my smile, but my...

I have always been unhappy with my smile, but my family was extremely poor growing up and dental hygiene/oral health was the lowest thing on my parents list. I am now 29 and married and have an amazing man who loves me the way I am. The problem is, I look in the mirror and cringe. I hate all pictures of me if my teeth are showing and when we got our wedding pics done, I practiced my smile so you couldn't see my teeth. Any pics of me with my ugly teeth are hidden to never be shown to the world! I know that even with my messed up teeth, my friends and family accept me as I am but I am at a point in my life I'm ready to change it and be the best me. I've noticed that it's really hindered me in job interviews or meeting new people as I constantly worry they are judging me.

l had an orthodontic consult with a highly recommended orthodontist about 40 minutes from me a few weeks ago. There are other orthodontists closer to me, but my priority is getting it done right and done by the best person instead of settling for someone that's the closest to me. Although I hate smiling for people, he made me feel very comfortable and didn't act like I was a freak or that I had the worst teeth ever (even though I feel like I do.) I originally went into his office asking for Invisalign (he is a premier provider), but one look at my teeth and he said that braces would work better and faster... DARN IT! He told me that despite what people think, that most people aren't an optimal candidate for Invisalign. He also said if I really wanted to go that route, he would see what he could do but I might not get where I want to and may still require braces in the end. He told me I have overcrowding and an underbite. I have an appointment at my general dentist for a routine cleaning and to have 2 cavities filled, then the orthodontist wants me to have my dentist pull 4 teeth due to my overcrowding. I always knew that overcrowding was the biggest issue as some of my teeth are hidden behind other teeth. Once the teeth are out and healed, he will take my impressions and put my braces on at the same time, that way I don't have to miss two days of work. I asked for the least noticeable ones as possible, so I think he is going to do the porcelain ones on me. He said that if everything goes excellent I could have them off in as little as 18 months, but he is predicting 2 years. Thinking of being 31 with braces just scares the heck outta me but I have really been wanting to get this done for years so I am ready to do it. My husband is also great moral support and is very happy for me.

The orthodontist quoted me $5200, which from reading other reviews on this site, I think that's pretty standard. My insurance covers $1500 of it, and I've taken out a FSA for this year and will take out one for next year to cover my cost. He told me that this covers the impressions, the initial appointment and exam, any emergency appointments should something come loose and one retainer. If I lose it or should my dog eat it (which will be a strong possibility as I have a dog who likes to chew on everything!!) they only charge whatever the lab chooses to make it with no additional fees or mark-up.

I truly believe that I have found the best man for the job and am excited, albeit a little nervous, to start this journey. I have taken a lot of before pics but will feel more comfortable uploading them once I have a little bit of change in my mouth.

I went and saw the oral surgeon today for a...

I went and saw the oral surgeon today for a consult. He said that the procedure will be painless, and reassured me that it is necessary as I have a lot of crowding (I was started to get nervous from all the horror stories online.) He wanted me to call and make an appointment with the orthodontist first before making an appointment for the surgery. He said since the teeth they are pulling are so small, the gaps will close up within 3 weeks and he didn't want to pull them and then I wasn't able to get in w/ the orthodontist. I will be getting my braces on February 26! 18 days away. I am so nervous but so excited. I have to call the surgeon back later today to make an appointment for the week before.

Got my teeth pulled last week. After all the...

Got my teeth pulled last week. After all the horror stories, I was extremely nervous. So far no sunken in face or jaw problems. The spots where my teeth were are healing nicely, although now that there are gaps there - I'm noticing my teeth being even more crooked than what I originally thought. Braces are in exactly 1 week from today!

I'm getting my braces in less than 23 hours. I'm...

I'm getting my braces in less than 23 hours. I'm really excited, but very nervous. I know the first week will take some adjustment and they may be sore, but I can do this. Anyone got any tips that got them through their first week? I'm sure a lot of soup and pudding is in my near future.

I've now had my braces for 4 full days, so I...

I've now had my braces for 4 full days, so I figure it's time for an update about the first week and the experience of getting the braces.

I went in on Tuesday morning and only had to wait a few minutes for my appointment, which was good since I was nervous. When I got in, they did a bunch of before pictures. The girl told me she was a perfectionist so it took awhile to get the "best" shot. I had impressions done about 10 years ago where they put that gooey stuff in your mouth and you can't help but gag. Gone are the days of those types of impressions. She had some kind of nifty camera that she took pictures of each tooth and it built a 3D model of my mouth on the computer. I would say this was the post painful part of the procedure. She kept stretching my cheeks out really far and putting an insane amount of pressure on my cheeks and gums. Once that part was over though, it was all smooth sailing. I went into the back and had the nicest assistant who was in charge of all the prep work. I made sure that she knew I wanted the ceramic/clear brackets and she told me that the ortho wanted me to do clear on top and metal on the bottom, since the clear ones are more fragile. I was okay with that as I was mostly concerned with the top ones anyway. She used some kind of device to hold my mouth open then started cleaning, polishing and applying the glue. Didn't hurt at all, it was just awkward to keep my mouth open and try to keep my tongue away from the glue. The orthodontist is so nice and I really am glad I went with him. He told me he's extremely excited to see improvement in my mouth and he hopes by the summer we'll see some movement. My birthday is in July, so I'm really hoping for that too. He applied the brackets to my lower teeth then the assistant did the wire. It was a repeat of the process, then he came back and did the brackets on the top. The whole process of X-rays, impressions, getting braces on then the speech on oral hygiene and what to eat and what not to eat took about 3 hours. Like I said, no pain whatsoever during the appointment other than the impressions and that was very minimal.

I didn't need any spacers, which I was concerned about. Other people that I know that have braces told me it's the worst part. Since I didn't need spacers, I've had only a small amount of discomfort. The only uncomfortable part is that I have an extra tooth in the bottom of my mouth. It sits underneath the rest of my teeth and I have always hated it. They put a bracket on it, to try to bring it up with the rest of my teeth. Since it's at a weird angle, the bracket is rubbing on my cheek. I've used lots of dental wax to try and alleviate it, as well as some mouth wash that the ortho gave me to try and help with any sores from the braces. (Peroxyl)

Eating is a huge adjustment. I've eaten mostly pudding, jello, ramen and soup this week, but today I've started eating more solid things and just cutting it up into pieces. The worst part is the no candy thing, since I have always been a candy addict, but I am taking my treatment very seriously and haven't even so much have considered having a piece since getting my braces on.

Another huge adjustment is the oral hygiene. You have to be committed to the process which means brushing religiously 3-4 times a day. My ortho told me this is a huge part because you don't want your teeth moving and food getting stuck in between there. It's a lot of work to floss, with the threaders and the dental floss so I ordered a Waterpik with an ortho tip to help clean in between my braces.

So far, my braces experience hasn't been as bad as I was expecting. I can't wait to see some actual movement and make all of this worth it.
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