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I’m almost done! Actually, I have 3 months to go, but I’m 3/4 done! Woo-hoo!

Here’s my Month 9 State of the Braces report:

  • Rubber bands: I have to admit, I’ve been slacking a bit on wearing these during the day, but have worn them every night. So that’s at least 8 hours every day.
  • Power chain: These were put on my bottom teeth. The first few days were very painful, but no problem afterwards. They have worked; the gap between my molars is closing. See photo.
  • Wire wreaking havoc: The uncomfortable consequence of the molar moving forward is that the wire is sticking of the bracket about 1 mm in the back. And tearing up my cheek again. I’ve been suffering and trying to get some relief with wax. It’s kind of working. Will get that clipped at the ortho office tomorrow.
  • Face shape: Over Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law noted how my face looks thinner because I have more of a jaw than is natural. I wonder how I will look when the braces come off? Will I look different to myself, or like my old self? What will people who met me in the last year, and only know me with braces, think?
  • Food: Still looking forward to biting into something crunchy, and enjoying some lovely dried dates.

Photos

Bite is looking, and feeling, better:

front month9

A new gap has opened up; I think another power chain might be coming. Ouch!

left month9

And look at the progress on closing the gap, compared to last time.

 closing gap month9   today

071102molargap last month

The detailing by my doc at my last appointment has worked!  I actually have a real bite now.  Instead of my top teeth hitting the bottom ones.

So now, I’m admiring my teeth not from the “health” perspective that was my initial motivation for getting braces, but from imagining how nice my teeth are going to look in a few months.  It’s difficult to imagine through the dorkiness of all the metal and rubber bands, but this exercise let’s me see myself for what I am.

A VAIN PERSON!

In this society where a healthy smile is part of the national character, there’s a great deal of vanity about teeth.  I didn’t know I’d get caught up in that.  But I am.  I do notice people’s teeth a lot more than pre-braces days.  Mostly, I notice the positive — “Wow, what a great bite she has.”  “Wow, look at that perfect bite.”  I don’t recall noticing much pre-braces.

I guess if I had invested this much time and pain on exercising my arms, for example, I would be just as vain about my sculpted arms.  Right?  😉

I’m on the downslope! If I stick to the schedule — i.e., I wear my rubber bands–I will be done in 5 more months!

The state of the braces life:

  • Eating more things that are getting stuck in my braces. Nutty things, crackly things, fibrous things. I guess I’m more willing to live with the consequences of eating this stuff. Still looking forward to eating a sweet chewy dried date, after the braces come off.
  • Flossing and brushing is smooth. Still doing the flouride rinse almost daily.
  • Rubber bands are the key. My compliance affects the progress.
  • Not self-conscious at all about the braces, but the rubber bands are dorky, so I have taken them out for meetings.

Here are photos to show progress. Wish I had taken better photos earlier.

Week 2 (ortho buttons are keeping top/bottom teeth apart) and Month 7:

week2

month7

Two months gone by, already!

  • Eating: Pretty much eating whatever I can cut into small enough pieces to chew with my little molars. (Why? Read this.) Still craving crunchiness, but otherwise feels back to normal. it helps that I don’t eat much meat.
  • Brushing/Flossing: Even flossing without the threader.
  • Movement: It looks like my teeth are moving, since I see the spaces between the teeth, and occasionally feel discomfort in one or two teeth. But a couple of days ago, a telltale sign of movement poked my inner cheek. The wire had moved, and had stuck out beyond the bracket.
    The way the Damon Braces work, the wire is a material that wants to move back to its perfect arch shape, and that’s what moves the teeth. Since the wire sits in the brackets but isn’t attached to them, as my teeth move, the wire straightens out. And as it straightens out, it gets “longer” and starts heading out the end of the last bracket, and into my cheek. I hope to get this clipped off tomorrow.
  • Wax On: Have a blob of wax stuck on the wire end. Does the trick, but would rather have the wire clipped altogether. Is the wax unhealthy in any way? I should investigate.
  • Smile: No compunction about smiling full-metal these days.

Only ten months to go!

Actually, yesterday was my 48th day in braces, and it was quite uneventful braces-wise.  What a contract from the first 48 hours.

While I still can’t eat high-chewing factor foods, the braces impinge on my life so little now.  I even had dinner tonight with a friend whom I hadn’t seen since acquiring my metallic smile.  I guess I hadn’t even told her about them.  Just goes to show that we adjust pretty quickly to such changes.   Self-consciousness about braces is pretty much out the door these days.

The braces have been on less than 24 hours, and this morning, the discomfort is mostly where the brackets touch the inside of the mouth.

Last night, I walked to a meeting, and saw people along the way and at the meeting.  I noticed that I was self-conscious about smiling.  Two aspects of this were:

  1. My mouth had a difficult time smiling; my lips don’t know what to make of the extra bulk.  So you could say it was a mechanical issue.
  2. Even though I will never see most of the people again, I had moments of “what will they think?”  I bet that hesitation comes across, so even if I had managed a smile (mechanical issues aside,) would it have been authentic?