Sunday 18 May 2014

Post Braces: Part 2

Hello again! So the FAQ Page has been updated to answer the questions of Laura Murdock and Muyuki Yuki (thanks again for reading guys!). [Post edit - another new question from Em m and Sherlyn has been put in there too].

In answer the question from Em m in the comments last week, I hope the picture this week shows you. So in all the pictures I held my jaws open for the camera so that I could fully capture all the brackets. However, sometimes, it was not possible to bite my front teeth down without hitting the brackets below. But yes most of the time I could close my jaws without problems.

So as you can probably see from the picture, my teeth are not 100% perfect. You can see that they front top and bottom teeth don’t line up perfectly. Therefore my back teeth are also not 100% perfectly aligned, but good enough. This did make me a little sad when I saw this, but I reasoned that I had no idea how much longer it was going to take. For all I knew, it would take a further 6 months and I couldn’t keep flying back and forth, taking days out of work for that. Not when I’d done that for so long.

Even though I’m pretty happy with them, I have thought maybe a few years in the future I might have them on again to make them completely perfect. I think I would go to Poland to have them done though, because although flying there would be a hassle, it would be much cheaper.

One thing I’ve noticed since I got them off is that I need to use less lip balm on my lips. I still need it quite often, but it was nowhere near as bad as when I had the braces on. I think it may be because the lips are very slightly stretched, and maybe they’re even protruding a little and so air from your nose is drying them out even more. This is just speculation, but it may be that those getting braces will need to be armed with lip-balm at all times, like I was!

Friday 9 May 2014

Week 53 - Post braces!

Finally finished!
Oh no, I haven’t updated this blog for so long! I honestly didn’t mean to leave it on a cliffhanger, but work, accommodation problems yadda yadda yadda, got in the way. Incidentally, another fantastic Damon braces blog I follow, Full Metal Panda, also said she stopped updating after a while, and she found it very annoying when other braces bloggers would stop at a crucial moment. Sincere apologies to everyone who reads this who was frustrated at the lack of updates! On a side note, because this post will be so long, I’ve decided to answer the questions of Miyuki Yuki and Laura Murdock on the FAQ page – and thank you so much for your comments, I really appreciate them and hope to help however I can.
So as you can see from the pictures – they are finally off!

My last appointment was a while ago – March – and I’d 90% decided that that was the day they were coming off, whether they were 100% finished or not. What I planned to do was to ask the orthodontist what she thought but when I said I really wanted them off, I didn’t have a chance to finish before she replied “Ok, let’s have a look” and started clipped them off right away. It was a little late to protest, but I was very happy afterwards.

So if you’re interested in the process, first of all, they took out the wires and clipped off the brackets. The top teeth were not so uncomfortable but the bottom teeth really felt the pinch. However, it was nowhere near as painful as I’d anticipated.
They then filed away the glue that had held the brackets to my teeth, and polished them so that they were all smooth again. Although in my second to last appointment they had made an impression of my teeth for the retainers, they made another. As I type this, I’m wondering why they did that. Perhaps one impression was for the bonded retainer, one was for the plastic retainers (?).

Bonded retainers on upper teeth
Which brings me to the retainers. My second to last appointment I’d been worrying about them. I didn’t want bonded retainers (permanent retainers that are attached to the back of the teeth) because I worried my speech would be affected but I was told that they are the best because the teeth can move very quickly after the braces, and also that your mouth quickly gets used to them and that it wouldn't be a problem.

Bonded retainers on lower teeth
But after having the braces off, I got another surprise – not only do I have a bonded retainer, but I also have to wear a retainer at night for a year. These are the Essix retainers – the retainers similar to Invisalign.
My orthodontist had to post the braces to me in England, so I didn't wear them for the first week and a half. I was pretty shocked to notice that my teeth had already moved, if only just a little bit. Wearing the retainers at night was a struggle at first.

Essix retainers
Squeamish people can stop reading here, but the top tray fills with saliva and it feels very uncomfortable at first. But like with the elastics at night, l got used to it, although I had to wear them in the daytime for a week before the feeling was comfortable. Now it’s rarely a problem wearing them, although sometimes when I have trouble falling asleep (usually because of other worries) I am conscious of them and take them out so I feel even more comfortable.

Next update: Life after braces (it will be soon, I promise!)

Saturday 15 March 2014

Week 45

I really didn't mean to leave it this long to update, but I really wanted to publish with pictures and I didn't have access to a decent camera until now.

First of all, as I don't seem unable to post comments on my own Blog (!), shout out to Laura Daly - thanks for commenting, hope you're enjoying the Blog, and that your spring coils are not giving you too much grief. I really do appreciate all readers of this Blog, hope it's helpful and if I can answer any questions, please just ask!

All the stuff that happened last check up: They changed the wires, top and bottom. I also have a white wire threaded around 8 brackets on the lower set of teeth. No power chains this time. Even though I'm not using those metal loops that serve as hooks for elastic bands right now, they didn't remove them. Maybe next time they'll tell me to wear elastics around them again. I also have 'button' hooks on the other (tongue) side of some teeth. This is because some lower teeth are slightly 'tipped' over, not standing up straight. And I've been given a new elastic formation to wear to correct this. They felt horrible at first and were constantly scraping my tongue, but now it's a lot better. I still hope they take them out next time though, if not everything.

Excitingly, they also made impressions for a retainer. Before the appointment, I was doing some research on retainers. The main types are an Essix retainer, a Hawley retainer and a bonded retainer. An Essix is like an invisalign tray, a Hawley is like those traditional braces you get with a piece of plastic that fits in the roof of your mouth and wires, and a bonded retainer is a metal wire stuck to the back of your front teeth that stops them moving away from each other.

My personal preference was for an Essix retainer, but I was told that I would be given a bonded retainer. My initial thought was that it would be very bad for the tip of your tongue, always hitting something that wasn't your teeth. But I'm coming around to the idea, because it looks very fine and thin. The girl doing my impressions for the retainer had them and she said she noticed no discomfort. If they're really a problem I can get them removed, so I'm not too worried.

When I left the orthodontist after the check up, I have to admit I was pretty dismayed. I didn't think it was possible for them to put more stuff in my mouth, and yet here I was with more hooks! And they ached quite a bit at first, I was pretty miserable that evening coming back home. I also swing between being sympathetic towards my orthodontist (it's not like they can 'magic' the teeth into place) and annoyed at them (they gave me a time frame which I took in good faith - they're the experts after all). But they are looking good, and I know my orthodontist just wants it as perfect as possible.

Thursday 30 January 2014

Week 39

I didn't get the most reassuring news during my last visit: I still don't exactly know when the braces are going to come off. On the one hand I'm not too surprised; on the other, it's not so convenient for me to fly back to Germany every month and my orthodontist realises this. They tightened the wire and then said to me that next time they would have to reposition two brackets on my front lower teeth. After I enquired when exactly I'd be finished, she then remembered that I have to fly from England for each appointment and said she'd reposition the brackets there and then.
The lower teeth are still not without gaps. There's a little one that can be seen in the picture. I hope this will close on it's own.
I have have to wear the elastic/rubber bands on my back teeth again. Apparently my bite doesn't quite line up. I couldn't actually really notice it, because one of my front teeth was hitting a bracket below when I tried to close my mouth fully, so it was hard to see. So she also smoothed down the front two teeth slightly and now I can bring both sets of teeth together.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Week 37

damon braces, damon clear braces, power chains, braces wires
All is going well, but still very small, very slow changes. I'm getting a bit worried that the braces were really going to take longer than the end of February (as the orthodontist had suggested in October/November), but looking at the pictures, they look better than I thought. I'm really happy with them, but looking forward to getting them off more and more!

bottom jaw, lower jaw, damon braces, damon clear braces, power chains, extra wires
There is a slight gap between two teeth on the lower jaw, so I'm expecting that next time the power chain will be moved to close this. Unfortunately, as the orthodontist remarked, one of the central teeth on the bottom row is slightly smaller than the others in the row, and it seems it may not always look so 'perfect'. I've heard they can file the teeth down to make them all even, but I'm not sure I want that done. So long as they're all straight, that's fine by me. I don't really want big, white Hollywood teeth!

damon clear braces, clear brackets, upper jaw,
From the front, the upper teeth look pretty much finished, but when you see the picture showing them from below, it still needs to move just a few more millimetres. If you look closely, you can see the kinks in the wire are still not straightened out - which I'm a bit surprised about, I thought maybe they would move a little by now. Next appointment - 29th January, I'm looking forward to seeing what they will do.

Week 36 - Progress Picture

damon braces, damon clear braces, progress picture, photos, power chains, wires
Week 36

Saturday 21 December 2013

Week 33

damon braces, damon clear braces, clear brackets, wires, progress picture, photo
Week 33
My latest check up was Monday and everything seems to be going well, although they weren't ready for removal yet. This time they took off the top wire, and replaced it with a slightly thinner wire. I can't actually quite tell if it is round or square though. Two kinks have been put into the wire. One is between the brackets on my two front teeth, the other is between the right front tooth and the one next to it. This wire should straighten out and also move that tooth by the two front teeth back just a little bit more and into its final position.

damon braces, damon clear braces, upper teeth, upper jaw, wires
The two 'kinks' in the top wire
Before the appointment, I also had a small gap between two teeth on the bottom front row. They have put new power chains on to close this gap, and a white wire running around three of the brackets to prevent any more big gaps opening up. I still have one stubborn tooth in the bottom row that moves into its right position with the rubber bands, but moves back again when I take them off. So until my next appointment in February, I've been told to wear them as much as I possibly can.