22 years old, after 14 months of treatment I have the smile I always wanted! - Saint Marys, GA

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I'm finally getting braces after many years of...

I'm finally getting braces after many years of being self conscious of my teeth, and having jaw pain. I've had severe crowding in my bottom teeth because of my wisdom teeth, which I finally had completely removed December of 2014, so now my bottom teeth(and top) are all kinds of crazy looking. Before coming into Barlow Orthodontics in St Marys, Ga I honestly didn't think my teeth were that horrible, however after taking the photos at the office I realized how crooked they really are. Getting braces is ultimately going to make me feel more confident about my smile and also help ease my jaw pain. I know I am probably going to HATE them but it's for the greater good! My ortho only uses clear/white brackets and I will also be getting a white wire so hopefully I won't feel too self conscious while getting used to them. Today I go in to get the mold made and make my down payment. Next week I will have my braces installed! I have active duty Tricare Prime (my husband serves) and ortho benefits expire for family members at age 23, so if you're waiting you should do it before youre 21 to get full benefits from tricare! Tricare will be covering $1750 of the cost, and after a $1000 down payment I will be paying about $100/month for 24 months. I am both excited and anxious about this new journey in my life! I will update next week with more pictures but for now here are my "before" teeth!

Braces are on!

Today I got my braces put on! It is such a weird feeling on my gums but I'll get used to it in no time. I got clear/white brackets/wire on top and metal on the bottom. I go back April 8th for my first tightening. Here's some photos I took right after!

First week of braces

So I've had my braces for 1 full week now! Now only like a hundred and something weeks left... Haha! One thing no one warned me about is the weight loss that comes along with not being able to eat most things because of pain. I've lost 5 lbs in one week and I'm a very small person already (I'm down to 100lbs today) I stocked up on Gatorade and fruit squeezes with veggie juice, make sure to get a lot of nutritionally rich foods that are super soft/easy to swallow. After the fifth day I was able to eat real food without too much pain. I mostly use my back teeth to chew (my front teeth still hurt too much.) I also started a new job last week and not a whole lot of people notice my braces nor do I ever get the feeling of getting stared at. So far things are good! Here's a picture for 1 week!

Almost 6 months

It's been almost 6 months since I've had braces and the progress is outstanding. My teeth are almost completely straight and now Dr Barlow is fixing the flaring of my bottom teeth that occurred from my mouth being so little. I had my last wire change about a week ago and that was the most painful adjustment since first getting my braces on. Next appointment my Dr said he wants to change my white wire to a thicker metal wire so I'm a little disappointed because I like the discreetness of the white wire. But I'll be fine with it since it means I will get through my treatment quicker. Looking forward to seeing my smile once this is all finished! I am thinking about whitening my teeth as well afterwards. My teeth are in perfect condition, never had any cavities, yet they've always been slightly yellow, my dad says it's from his side of the family. I thought I might as well make them look as nice as I can seeing as I've already invested so much time and money into them. Once my Dr puts the next wire on I will post a photo!

9 months (shaved teeth and power chain on upper)

At the end of this month it will be about 9 months of treatment! I haven't received a straight answer from my Dr about my timeline but he is working to get all my problems with my crowded bottom teeth fixed. At my most recent appointment he actually shaved in between my bottom teeth with a metal sheet as if he was flossing my teeth with it. And then he took one his powered tools to go in between each tooth to make more space. It was definitely a weird feeling but totally bareable. There was blood on his gloves and in my mouth but it didn't hurt. He did this to make space for my teeth to fit together better and make them more flush because currently they are sitting at an angle because of my small mouth. If this doesn't do what he wants it to he said there is a possibility of having to remove four (yes!! 4!!) teeth to space out the rest of my teeth. So that is not what I expected and now we're waiting to see how my teeth react to the space he made between them. He also most recently put a power chain on my upper teeth to pull them together. So far thats really all the news I have! I'm really hoping I get these suckers off by next summer before we move across the country! I would love to start fresh with brand new teeth :)

Monday is the big day!!

So here it is, after 14 months of treatment the process is over! My orthodontist told me the big new yesterday and now I'll have a beautiful smile when I have my college graduation next month. He originally told me the treatment would take 18 to 24 months. I'm so happy I can't wait! Here are some updated photos before I get them off.

The braces are off!!

Sorry about the snap chat photos! Just wanted to give everyone a look at my new smile!! My jaw is so much less painful ever since getting them off yesterday. I'm very happy with the results! I was also given clear plastic retainers to wear 24/7 for the next six weeks. Thank you for following my journey!
Dr Michael Barlow

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