Braces on Lower Teeth Only at Age 46. Fixing Myself Up for 2015! - Seattle, WA

When I was younger (age 9 through 14) I had tons...

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When I was younger (age 9 through 14) I had tons of orthodontia in my overcrowded mouth. Headgear, something on the lower teeth called a "lip bumper", one molar removed from each quadrant to reduce overcrowding, and full braces. And then, of course, from 14 on I was supposed to wear retainers. I'm not sure when in high school I let it drop, but I stopped wearing mine. Now that I think about it, I'm wondering if I even had a bottom retainer at all.

My bottom teeth have moved over the last few decades. Not horribly, but the front teeth were definitely leaning in on each other. I've felt regret about the crookedness all these years because I went through SO MUCH orthodontia that I figured I should have a near perfect smile).

We have orthodontia coverage right now, so I decided it was now or never if I was going to fix these things. The above price includes what insurance is paying. Out of pocket is around $1,100.

I had the option of going with Invisaline, which is what I totally envisioned doing, but it was twice as much money and would've required doing both the top and bottom arches. I love my top teeth and didn't want to mess with them.

So, on Wednesday I had the braces put on. Initially it was going to be six brackets, but the ortho added an extra on my right side at the last minute. The process was very quick and easy. The worst part was the dry air being directed at my teeth which made my throat really dry. And I couldn't swallow because of the lip retractors that were in. My wire only goes back as far as the last brackets and I don't have any bands on my back molars.

A few hours after getting the brackets and wire on, my teeth felt uncomfortable. Not painful, exactly, but more like "itchy". I know that sounds strange. And I hated the feeling of the brackets on my inside lip. The bracket he added at the last minute is super sharp and scrapes my lip. I've been using wax but may have to go in and ask to have it filed down before my next appointment.

Since my brackets are on my lower teeth only, my top teeth, when I bite, were hitting the brackets to the ortho put a rubbery band around the two end brackets that keeps my top teeth from hitting the brackets directly. My molars aren't completely touching when I bite, which makes it hard to eat lettuce, etc.

I've pretty much been a whiny baby for the last two days. Going about my normal routine, of course, but muttering about how annoying the braces are and cursing myself for doing this. My teeth weren't THAT bad, after all.

Last night and this afternoon my bottom teeth have felt truly achy. Not sure why they feel better in the morning and worse late in the day, but they do. I've gotten more used to the feeling of the brackets in my mouth and no longer want to rip them out quite as vehemently as I did Wednesday and Thursday. Three ibuprofen takes the edge off.

Eating the first day is kind of hard (I lost a pound!). Soft food is best, but nothing was enjoyable to eat so I mostly avoided doing it except to stave off hunger pangs. I'm eating a bit better today, but am mostly chewing with my mouth open, which is gross.

Hoping that as I adjust my attitude about this will improve. I do feel lucky to have the opportunity to correct my teeth. What I really want is to have my eyelids done, so I hope I don't regret spending 1/3 of that cost on these braces. Sorry I sound negative. The achiness is making me a bit grumpy. :) More to come....

Braces on for three days

Feeling slightly less uncomfortable.

Feeling much less achey!

My teeth are much better today! Four days after the lower braces were put on and I'm finally not thinking about them every second. The sharp bit on one of the brackets bothers me less, too. Hooray!

Two weeks in!

I'm barely noticing the braces now. Hooray! I took the two rubbery bands with bumpers off my brackets (they were optional and meant to keep my top teeth from hitting my brackets, which my ortho said was no problem but which I thought would bug me.) They were making it more difficult for me to chew greens and things like that.

One thing I forgot from my first go-round was how often food gets stuck in your braces. I am having a hard time in particular with almonds and other nuts. I just keep telling myself it's only temporary. 

Also, I have to use a bite guard on my uppers at night because I'm a grinder, and when I wear that it hits my lower molar with the last-minute bracket and almost makes it feel loose. I'm only wearing it a couple times a week now. :-/ I am getting a new bite guard at the end of all this, so that will kind of be like my upper retainer.

Thanks for all of your supportive comments!

Six weeks in

No changes that I can see yet. But I can certainly feel my lower teeth moving around / loose. Since one of my fears has always been losing an adult tooth, this feeling of movement scares me a bit. But then, that is obviously why I have braces, to move my teeth around. Food getting stuck in my wire and brackets is the most annoying part of the process so far. Pain is all gone, even after my first check in with the ortho and wire change. They put rubber bands around each bracket at my request (my kids claim they make the brackets feel like they are protruding less), but it hasn't made a difference for me.

The journey continues...

My teeth at 6 weeks out

Not much change. Maybe a very, very subtle shift.

Changes at 2.5 months!

It's probably too soon to post new photos, since I just did a month ago, but I'm seeing changes and am very excited! My two middle bottom teeth still overlap, but a few of the others are starting to behave and straighten out.

My ortho said that at my next appointment in a few weeks he will probably shave off a tiny bit of the two bottom middle teeth. He said it's very common in adults who get braces. 

Nothing hurts, but occasionally my lip gets stuck in one of the brackets and abrades it. That only happens about every few weeks and hurts a little less than biting your tongue.

Food still gets caught in my wire and I hate it, but now that I'm seeing changes I'm less annoyed with it. The mobility in my bottom teeth, even though I know this is why I'm doing this (to move my teeth) , is freaking me out a little. Still, if they re-anchor and my teeth get and stay straight with religious use of my retainer, this will be worth it!

Halfway there (hopefully)! Orthodontia is magical!

May 7th was my 4 month anniversary of having braces, and half way date to being done with these things. I hardly notice them anymore, just notice the shiftiness of my teeth. They are looking so much straighter! My ortho said that at my next appointment he will sliver off a tiny bit of the two front bottom teeth. He said this is common and doesn't affect enamel. It's all quite exciting, in a very gradual sort of way. No instant gratification here, but I think I will be forever glad I went ahead and did this!

Thanks for reading!

Got a new wire and a coil between my bottom front teeth

Had my appointment yesterday and my ortho said things are going well. Instead of trimming down the sides of my front two teeth like I thought, he put a coil between my two bottom teeth and a smaller one between two adjacent teeth. It's aching a bit and irritating my lip, but spacing those center teeth out. I can already see a difference in the last 24 hours. I'll try to post a pic.

I also got an 018 wire (I think that's what it is called).

He said I'm on track for a removal four months from now. It might run over by a month. I hope to get them off before my husband and I go on a weekend trip in mid-September.

Six months in!

No trimming of my teeth necessary. The small coils placed between my two front teeth did the trick  

July 21, 2015

Here's a video showing my final results!

Adult Braces Off! Final Result

Can't clench my jaw anymore...

Such a strange feeling. Not that that's a bad thing. I wonder if that means my bite is a little off. I still think it's worth it to have straighter bottom teeth. Besides the aesthetic benefits, they are easier to floss.

My retainer is super tight when I put it on every night, but I will wear it forever to keep up my smile.

My dog ate one of the two retainers I had. :(

Seattle Orthodontist

I have a lot of experience with this office and really like them. Professional and nice. The office is newly remodeled and very modern and pretty.

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