Friday, September 26, 2008

brace face

I am still in shock.

On Monday I will be going in to an orthodontist office and getting braces put on my teeth. Those metal monstrocities will be in my mouth for 12-18 months.

I am an ADULT. And I'm going to be wearing braces like a 13 year old.

What. The. Crap.

Let me back up.

So do you all remember when I went to see a TMJ specialist back in Feb. or March? It turns out I was clenching and grinding my teeth at night so my jaw was always sore and I would wake up with headaches. He made me a "splint" (mouth guard) that fit perfectly to my teeth. I had to wear it for 6 months. Well, I just finished. Yeah, go team.

So then step 2 for my teeth was to get a consultation with an orthodontist about Invisalign. Have you heard of it? It's like having braces but they're clear! And you can remove them to eat and brush your teeth! Perfect, right?

So that appointment was today. I met Angie, the sweet funny lady who is the office manager. She asked questions about my dental history and why I wanted invisalign. "Well Angie," I began, "I had braces twice growing up (8-10 and then 11-13 years old), but my ortho never gave me a retainer afterwards so my bottom teeth have gone a bit crooked. I thought invisalign would be a great way to straighten them without all the hassle of regular braces."

So Angie takes tons of pictures of my teeth and emails them to my soon-to-be orthodontist (who was out of the office). He calls her, they chat. She hangs up and tells me they both notice that my "bite" is off. Huh? My top back molars don't come down correctly onto my bottom molars. That could have been the cause of my grinding and other issues. And they said if I don't get that fixed, I might have to wear a splint/mouth guard for the rest of my LIFE.

Here's the catch: invisalign wouldn't be able to help with my "bite" problem. Yes they could fix my crooked teeth, but not the bite. Soooooo...either get invisalign for 6-8 months and fix one problem orrrrrr get regular braces for 12-18 months and fix both problems.


I was sitting there, freaking out. I didn't want braces again. I remember how much of a pain they were: wires breaking, wax to cover where they cut into my mouth and lips, every-other-week appointments to tighten (ouch!), rubberbands, not to mention all the lovely foods I would have to say goodbye to (popcorn, candy, apples, nuts, chips, etc). I had not even thought about getting regular braces - I had only thought about how much life would change with invisalign (answer: not that much). This was a whole new ballgame.

But as you can tell from the beginning of the blog, I went for the metal. *sigh*

People I have a bone to pick with:

* Dr. Laughlin, my orthodontist as a kid. Dude, you put me in braces not once but twice. And you still couldn't fix my bite? And what's the deal with not giving me a retainer afterwards? Aren't you required by law to do that? I want my (mom's) money back.

* whoever choose the health benefits at my work (this is not covered)

* my mom and dad for passing down their genetically bad teeth

People I appreciate in this situation:

* Angie - total cheerleader for me. Answered all my questions, calmed fears, made it seem not so bad, she is great.

* my grandma Judy who left me (and my sisters) some money when she passed away. That's the only way I can afford this. It's like buying a used car. Grandma J - these teeth are for you!

* anyone over 20 who has had to get braces as an adult. Please tell me it's not as bad as I think it is!

This is my last weekend as a metal-free mouth. I plan to go out and eat a big steak tonight with my friends to celebrate that I CAN. As of Monday, that all changes...


Anonymous said... friend! I still love you! Just out of curiosity, don't they have "clear" braces? I think they were made out of ceramic. I don't remember.

I don't think it will be as bad as you think. Are you getting top and bottom or just bottom?

You have braces...I have four eyes. It's all good!


Chrissy said...

Sorry you have to go through all of this again! Do you "get" to wear the sexy neck gear as well? Oh, I remember our slumber parties oh so well with your neck and my head gear. We were so stylish!

Emily Bertholic said...

Oh wow, I lament for you! But think of the more TMJ (I have it too), straight teeth, and not having to wear a splint forever! It will be well worth the sacrifice, my friend! And just think! You can color coordinate with the season! Ha ha! Does that ever bring back memories! =)

oceanstyle said...

When wearing Invisalign or wire braces you have to know about the new product on the market: BrytonPick - FLOSS In Seconds. It is a string-free, reusable and portable flossier that will save you allot of time on a daily flossing routine. Flossing after every single snack is now discreet, easy and very fast....

Jody said...

I had braces for 3 years, including my first year of college. I thought, "No problem, I just won't smile throughout my ENTIRE FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE and hopefully no one will notice my grotesque grin."
Actually, it's impossible not to smile for a year. I tried the Buddhist practice of restraint and self-smile-deprivation. Failed.

And you know, nobody cared, laughed, joked, pointed, shuddered, when I smiled? Some people didn't notice I had them for 6 months! No one noticed my sophomore year when I returned without braces. Folks don't care as much as you think they would.

But yeah, I remember the wax...

When you meet your future husband this year he will look back at this time and laugh, not at you, but at how you tried to avert your face when you smiled and he thought you were just being coy. Oh, Darling, he'll say, I thought you were irresistably adorable!

Smarshie said...

Hey Mel, yeah they do have the clear-type braces but I guess they break a lot easier. So I figured I should go with the metal ones so I can get this thing over with as soon as possible. And I have to get them on both top and bottom.

Chrissy, that made me laugh so hard! Oh man, those were the days. Do you remember when I actually wore my neckgear in our RWC camp picture? Beyond sexy.

Emily, oh yes, this experience is bringing back all sorts of memories. I definitely remember color-coordinating my bands with the seasons (orange and black for Halloween, red and green at Christmas, etc). Although I think the new type of braces they use now don't even have rubber bands. Hmmm...we'll see.

Oceanstyle, thanks for the heads up. I'll look into the flosser. I LOVE flossing, so I want to make sure I can keep doing it even with braces on.

Jods, I love your braces stories. I bet you're right. Some people won't realize when I get them on or off. I guess I'm just the one who super self-conscious about it.