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I got braces on my upper teeth today! The orthodontist made an impression of my lower teeth to make some sort of appliance. Once the appliance comes and they install it, I need to get two teeth extracted to make room on my lower half, and THEN I’ll get braces on the lower half too. For now I just still have the spacers on the bottom.
The cool thing is that my brackets are completely clear, like tiny pieces of ice, and the wire is tooth-colored. You really can’t see them unless you’re about two feet away. I’m thrilled. The low profile braces are definitely going to make the whole ordeal of having braces as an adult much easier to bear.
I’ve had a little pain, mostly pressure on my front teeth, but nothing I’ve had to take a painkiller for yet. I haven’t tried eating yet.
I went to the dentist today for a final cleaning before I get braces put on. The dentist was extremely excited and kept congratulating me for finally getting the ball rolling on orthognathic surgery. She kept telling me that it’ll be the best thing I’ve ever done and gave me some thread-flossers to use for flossing with my braces on. It’s nice to have someone who’s excited about this as I am!
I also ordered a cookbook for adults with braces and a cookbook for people who have trouble chewing and swallowing (I figure the second one might come in handy after surgery). I’ve been unable to chew since I got spacers in a couple weeks ago, and my recent diet of ice cream and canned soups is starting to take its toll —I don’t want to be the first person who’s gained weight while not being able to chew!
So this is where I’m going to chronicle my journey into orthognathic surgery, from the very beginning. Right now the plan is for me have to braces for 18 months or so, then surgery on both my upper and lower jaw, then braces for another 6 months or so. I recently received pre-approval from my insurance company (although I need to remember to send them my certificate of prior coverage to get everything finalized!), so I’m ready to get started!
As a bit of background, I had braces for 3.5-4 (I can’t quite remember!) years from the ages of 11 or 12 to 15. The plan was always for me to have orthognathic surgery to advance my lower jaw, but I got cold feet when I learned about all that it involved. My mom took me for a consultation with the oral surgeon who told me I’d need to gain weight before the surgery, I might need to have my jaw wired shut, recovery would take 6 weeks, and I’d have to get a blood transfusion —all news to me! Also, it freaked me out a little that he kept telling me I’d look so much better after surgery —I thought I looked fine!
Honestly, no one ever told me the first time around that the surgery was for medical and dental health reasons —they just kept telling me I would look better, so I thought that orthodontia and the surgery was all cosmetic and decided that I looked fine with my jaw as it was, thankyouverymuch. My mom wasn’t quite sure whether orthognathic surgery was covered under insurance and it sounded expensive, so my braces were taken off and that was that. Having gotten the surgery approved pretty quickly this time around —my jaws are apparently pretty deformed —I’m assuming it was, but you have to know what you’re talking about it when you call the insurance company or have the surgeon’s office help you because when I called once to ask a quick question about coverage, they just kept telling me that dental procedures weren’t covered and this is a medical procedure that I’ve been told I needed as long as I can remember.
So fast forward to now, about 12 years after my original round of braces and when I should have gotten the surgery to begin with. I’m still nervous about the surgery and the adult braces experience, but everyone says it will be worth it, so I’m looking forward to it. Right now I have a lot of trouble chewing food (and get indigestion and choke a lot as a result), have some problems with speech, and have a lot of general discomfort.
I have a very severe underbite, so my lower jaw will be advanced, my upper jaw will be moved back and split in two to expand it and move one side down because I’m also lopsided. Also, my x-rays also revealed that the reason my jaw is lopsided (in addition to the huge overbite! I’m really lucky!) is because one side is overgrown (the doctor said it’s called called hyperplasia). This was disappointing because I’d always assumed and hoped that if I got my jaw fixed, it would fix my facial asymmetry, but apparently there’s little to be done on that front. The surgeon might be able to shave down a tiny bit of the overgrown jaw during surgery, but that’s about it.
Right now, I’ve got my spacers in (little rubber bands wedged in between my molars, two spacers in each quadrant of my mouth. In another week, I’m scheduled to get my braces on, but I’m a little uncertain as to whether it’s really happening that day. The orthodontist wanted me to have 4 teeth extracted, but I’m waiting for her to talk to the surgeon to determine whether it’s really necessary. I’m hoping that I can just get my braces on first to get things started —and for some reason, I feel like it’ll be easy to deal with the gaps if I have brackets on and people know I’m getting dental work than if I just 4 missing teeth, but maybe I’m just being silly. Plus I just want to get the ball rolling, so I’ll be disappointed if I have to postpone things while waiting for an oral surgery appointment, etc.
The spacers have been surprisingly painful! I thought they wouldn’t be a big deal, but by the end of the second day, I couldn’t really chew food anymore. I’ve been sticking to soup and soft foods and hoping that things will get better when I once I get the spacers off and the braces on. I also feel a lot of pressure in my front teeth and I keep knocking my bottom teeth into my front teeth and tripping over my tongue while I’m talking —so I guess some movement is happening?
So that’s my long introduction. I’ll try to keep up with updates and post pictures when things start happening. Right now I’m just looking forward to (hopefully) getting my braces on next week. In the meantime, I’m getting a final pre-brace dental cleaning this weekend, planning to learn how to use my food processor and juicer, and sending the certificate of prior coverage to my insurance company to make sure everything’s set :)