A twenty-something's journey with braces

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Adjustment: 9 weeks later

And you thought I'd forgotten about this blog!

Nope, just other stuff going on in my life, and after the first few days my braces quickly became "normal" to me and I quit thinking about them so much. I do plan on updating this blog at each adjustment, but my family blog and my writing blog get the majority of my attention.

I did remember to take pics at 2 weeks and one month, and I'll post those up with the ones from today so you can see the progress. Oh boy, has there been progress! Already my b-day pics look like someone else's teeth. See below for comparisons.

As for today's "adjustment" itself, pretty in-and-out. They didn't do anything at all to my upper arch. I did ask them to scrape off some of the flash left over from the indirect bonding that they didn't get on b-day. She got some off, said some was too small to really get without a hand tool but shouldn't be a problem, and missed some that I noticed when looking at my teeth in the car. Ah, well. I'm keeping stuff clean and I'll just have them get some more at my next appointment.

The bottom arch did get a new archwire. Apparently (according to this) the standard "initial" archwire is the round .014, and that's what they put in my top arch on b-day. But my bottom teeth were too jumbled, so they went down a size (I think to .013?) in order to fit the wire into all the brackets. Now they've straightened out enough, so they fitted the .014 on the bottom and left the top one in so both arches are on the same kind of wire.

If my teeth keep moving at their current rate, I think I'll get all new wires at my next appointment (8 weeks from now). Hopefully on to Phase II, but it wouldn't surprise me to have to go with the round .016 SE for a bit first. And my ortho did say my bite was opening up enough that I'll probably get the molar buildups off "soon" - aka, next appointment. Hallelujah! With my luck I'll get those off only to have to go into elastics, but I think completely-chewed food is worth it. *g*

Oh, speaking of opening up, did I mention I have freaking gaps between my teeth now? Not that this is a problem, more of a novelty. My teeth have been so crowded all my life it was like, well, pulling teeth *g* to get a piece of dental floss in between them. Now - once I've got it threaded under the archwire - the floss just slides in. And I can see between them. Again, not a cosmetic problem, and I'm sure some gaps will close up as the teeth continue to sort out, but it's a huge indication of progress to me.

Confession time: I've been "slacking" on my dental routine. Now, I put that in quotes because I still brush twice a day - and with my beloved Oral-B electric toothbrush. (Hmmm...never did get around to reviewing the new Triumph, now that I have a working one. I'll try to do that soon.) But the floss-and-flouride every night has fallen into about 3 times a week. Hey, still not bad! But I'm also not brushing at work or using my interdental as much as I should. Next step: kit to keep in my office (the beloved DentaKit stays with me in my car) and more consistent f-n-f.

Okay, okay, I know everyone just wants to see the progress pics. Here you go (see my b-day post for comparison):

Huh. I seem to have lost my 1-month pictures. I know I took them...but they're not in the appropriate folder on my hard drive. And I delete them off the camera memory card as soon as I upload them. So where'd they go?

Anyway, look at that lower arch now! My lower incisors are sure lining up nicely. It's still a novelty to be able to keep plaque off of the back of them, now that they're not all jammed together (quite the opposite - there's a gap developing!). I'm pretty sure my canines are rotating, and they're definitely moving out. I usually can tell because I'll have a period of "squishy" teeth followed by a few days of gum irritation as the brackets rub in new places. Hydration and the occasional bit of wax take care of that. And the upper canines have pulled back a bit, making my top arch smoother in general and minimizing my "vampire" smile.

How has braced life in general been these past 2 months? As I said up top, pretty normal. I really didn't have a lot of pain at first, but I realized how much I was in fact affected about 2 weeks in. I lost 5 pounds (woohoo!) those first weeks, mainly because eating was so tedious and slow. Somewhat unfortunately, what pain/discomfort I had did go away and I adapted and now I eat pretty much the same types and quantity of foods as I did before. I'm still careful and know better than to try stuff like hard caramel or nuts. But everything else is game.

Have I mentioned how much I love these Damon system braces? Not only are my teeth moving quickly with relatively little pain, but I don't have to worry about foods with curry, or tomato sauce, or red Kool-Aid staining my ligs...because I don't have any. I've gotten quite a few comments about how "small" and "nice-looking" my brackets are.

At any rate, 2 months down and 16-18 more to go. Look for another update in about 8 weeks.