A major event occurred a few weeks ago - I finally got my braces fitted. Of course I wanted to update my blog straight away, but life has been super busy since then. With a work trip to Melbourne, then my own trip to Melbourne and a busy schedule, I've hardly had enough time to think. Forgive my tardiness, I will make up for it I promise :) Long blog post - beware!
So on Monday 27th May I had an appointment with my orthodontist to first remove my palatal/maxillary expander (my torture device) and then have upper and lower ceramic braces fitted (my new torture devices). Having the expansion device removed was quite an ordeal because the metal bands of the device are glued to the teeth, so there was lots of pulling and quite strenuous physical labour (on the orthodontists part) to remove it from the jaw. I usually have quite a high threshold for pain, but I must admit I winced a couple of times during the removal. Now as you know I'm not going to shy away from the gory details in this blog - the smell was awful! I couldn't believe that something that smelled so bad could be in my mouth. My orthodontist explained that food gets stuck around the expander and some of it is almost impossible to floss/clean, so the devices are usually smelly once they have been removed. Lovely.
Now for the braces - and for all the fuss made by many people that I know who have had them, I have to say that getting them fitted was not uncomfortable or painful and I actually almost fell asleep at one point. Hats off to the amazing orthodontic team at Sydney Smile Specialists. While I'm here, I may as well give them a plug - if you are looking for an orthodontist in Sydney, I really don't think you could find a more professional, friendly and caring team of people. You can view their Facebook page by clicking their name above.
|The ceramic brackets that will be adhered to my teeth, made by 3M.|
The first step in getting the braces on is for the teeth to be prepared. This involves popping a plastic device into the mouth to stop the lips touching the teeth, giving the teeth a thorough clean and then gluing each bracket to the surface of each tooth. The majority of the brackets are clear ceramic, while a couple towards the back of my mouth are metal. Having the lips away from the teeth ensures they are completely dry otherwise the glue will not adhere.
|Ready to get the braces on|
Once the brackets are on the wires are threaded (kind of) through the brackets. One wire for the upper jaw and one for the lower jaw. O-rings are then placed around each bracket (a little uncomfortable) which close the opening of the bracket and hold the wire in place! Phew! The wires are very flexible, but also have a tendency to want to retain their shape. It is these characterises that apply tension to the brackets and so the teeth, and eventually move them into the original shape of the wire. My orthodontist advised that I have a 'super-cable' on the lower teeth which is a stronger type of wire to move misaligned teeth a little faster. That's a nice way of saying my lower teeth need a lot of work!
The whole process including the removing of the expansion device and the fitting of the braces took around 1 hour and 30 mins, with the braces taking up about an hour. Not bad at all really. And once my braces were fitted I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror - I'm so happy to finally have them on. I was given cleaning and care tips and was on my merry way.
|Here I am with my braces on|
|And you know how I love these beautiful close up shots|
Over the next 4-5 days a couple of my lower teeth did get very sore, but I was told this was to be expected. I took painkillers, ate lots of yoghurt and other soft foods and after a few more days the pain was gone. Happy days.
One week later I had to visit the orthodontist again because even though I had my expansion device removed, I had to get a new metal arch fitted in the roof of my mouth. This one is called a Trans-Palatal Arch (TPA) and it is designed to keep the expansion of the jaw stable and to stop the molars moving back inwards. Yes, it's another metal device in my mouth but much smaller than the expansion device - in fact I hardly notice it's there.
Now to the downside. Eating. It's not painful or sore - just very inconvenient. My upper and lower front teeth have never met, but before the jaw expansion the majority of my side teeth did. Due to the massive expansion I have now undergone, only a couple of my teeth meet on each side. This along with the gap in the front teeth (yes I know it will eventually close) and food getting stuck all around my braces make eating rather tiresome. It's not due to the braces - they are just another obstacle in the way of me doing some serious chow down. Eventually the braces will rotate my lower teeth outwards to meet my upper teeth, and of course there will be the main surgery next year, so until then it's a waiting game. And the result will be worth it.
And that's all for now! Hopefully you are still reading and enjoyed this post. Feel free to leave me a comment or ask away if you have any questions.