First problem: broken bracket

broken-lingual-braces-bracket1{© Inside I’m Smiling}

On Friday evening I was just brushing my teeth and getting ready for an evening out with friends when one of my lower lingual brackets broke off my tooth. Arrrgh!

Typically, it happened about 3o minutes after my orthodontist closed and as it happened on a Friday I’m stuck with it broken all weekend. However I sent my ortho a text message and he immediately replied to check I wasn’t in pain and has managed to squeeze an appointment for me before work on Monday. You don’t get that kind of service on the NHS do you!?

The bracket broke away at the adhesive so it still has the wire looped through it. It’s the spinning and moving up and down the wire that’s annoying more than anything – thankfully it’s not sore. My main concern is it coming off the wire somehow and that I could accidentally swallow it, so I have used a blob of Gishy Goo to stick it in one place which seems to be working well. If I lose a bracket it costs £45 to replace so I could really do without that! Even if you don’t use it to stop your lingual braces rubbing I’d suggest it’s well worth keeping a tube of Gishy Goo in your bag for this purpose as I’m not sure ordinary wax would be sticky/protective enough.

I promise to post a full wax vs Gishy Goo review soon…

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Update: All fixed – only took 10-15 minutes to have the bracket glued back on and I was back at my desk bang on time! While I was there my orthodontist mentioned that my teeth are moving nicely which is great and I’m beginning to feel quite excited about my first adjustment in two weeks. Tune back in then!

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One month with lingual braces – update

It’s now one month since my top brace was fitted and two weeks since my bottom brace went on, so I thought I’d post an update. The main piece of news is…

MY TEETH HAVE MOVED!!!

With an 18-22 month estimate for my treatment time, I am amazed that there are noticeable differences in the position of my teeth so soon!

i-month-smile-with-arrow{© Inside I’m Smiling}

The main difference is with the tooth marked with the arrow. It’s hard to see from the photo but it’s now flush with the teeth on either side – it used to project forwards (like the tooth on the opposite side, but not as much). You can see a bit better by comparing pictures of the inside of my mouth (upper arch) below. Also, the gap that appeared at the end of week 2 has completely closed.

top-brace-1-month-in-ab{© Inside I’m Smiling}

Arrow A shows the tooth in question. Comparing the photo below (taken on day 2 with my lingual braces) you can see that it’s not angled as much and is now in line with the front tooth.

Arrow B shows the gap that it opening up between these two teeth, creating space for everything to move into.

Below is the day 2 photo again so you can compare:

top-brace-day-2-ab{© Inside I’m Smiling}

Maybe it’s just the different light/angle in the photos, but does the whole arch look a little bit wider to you? It’s hard to tell but I suppose it could be?

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IN OTHER NEWS:

Speech: My lisp is still there, but getting much better. It’s worse when I’m chattering too fast and also in the afternoons when I’m tired. I can also definitely notice that my speech is worse immediately after I’ve eaten as the little bits stuck in my brace (yuk, sorry) do make speaking more difficult. I am brushing my teeth straight after each meal to help this (it also makes the whole thing feel a lot nicer too).

Pain / eating: I am still only at the end of week two with my lower brace and I can definitely feel the front four lower teeth aching when I touch them or bite into anything. I tried to bite into a chocolate chip cookie the other day and it was so sore I couldn’t even bite through it. Had to throw it away which was awful! Chocolate mousse has become my saviour.

Staining: Despite brushing my teeth six times a day (four times with a manual brush and twice with an electric brush) I’ve noticed that the biting surfaces of my teeth are becoming quite badly stained. I’m hoping it’s just discolouration rather than decay but I will ask next time I go to the orthodontist. I am due to go for my first hygienist appointment in about three weeks too (my ortho recommends going every three months during treatment) so hopefully that will remove the worst of it.

Overall: I’m feeling pretty good! Seeing ‘proof’ that my teeth are actually moving so soon is a real morale booster and I am starting to get used to my braces – there have actually been brief moments when I’ve forgotten they’re there which feels a big step. It’s actually quite mentally exhausting to be aware of the metal in your mouth 12 hours a day!

What’s in your bag?

You’ve probably seen those features in fashion magazines where celebs reveal the Vivienne Westwood purse, Chanel lipstick and Smythson address book they carry about in their Mulberry handbag.

This post is along those lines, but a little bit different!

In addition to the crumpled receipts, old shopping lists and loose change in my Topshop handbag, you’ll now find my Orthodontic Travel Kit. I thought it might be useful to show you what I carry around to look after my braces when I’m out and about.

{© Inside I’m Smiling}

MY ORTHODONTIC TRAVEL KIT

Makeup bag:  I had to hunt around a bit to find one long enough to fit a standard toothbrush.

Toothbrush + case: you can get folding toothbrushes but I prefer to take an ordinary one in a waterproof case.

Compact mirror: useful for checking if there’s anything stuck in your brace and applying wax.

Tissues: for drying off your brace before applying wax and wiping your mouth after brushing.

Interdental brush: in its case, for tricky bits of cleaning.

Breath spray: chewing gum is a no-no, so this is useful for freshening your breath on the go.

Orthodontic wax / Gishy Goo: emergency relief for rubbing brackets and poking wires.

Toothpaste: a small tube is most convenient. Stock up when it’s on offer as you’ll use loads.

Mouthwash: again, a miniature bottle from the travel section of Boots. It works out around the same price as a standard size bottle, but can be refilled.

What do you carry around in your bag to look after your brace?

My lower brace goes on: good news and the bad news

I’m afraid the photo’s not brilliant, but here’s my lower lingual brace, which I had fitted 24 hours ago:

lower-lingual-brace-day-1{© Inside I’m Smiling}

Having it put in was pretty much the same process as the top brace and took around 30 minutes. You can see that I have two teeth on the bottom without brackets – they’ll be added later once some space has been made. As I knew what to expect this time I was much less anxious. However, I’ve found the first 24 hours with my lower brace quite hard.

The good news…

Getting my bottom brace has improved my speech problems! I was worried that getting it would take me backwards a few steps as far as my lisp was concerned, but having lingual braces on both sets of teeth has actually made it easier to shape those tricky sounds. I can only guess that it’s because the inside surface of my teeth is now ‘built back’ to the same degree on both the top and bottom and that has something to do with it. During the first evening with my bottom brace (before the pain really set in) my speech was very nearly back to normal, so I’m really hoping that once the pain subsides, I’ll sound like myself again.

The bad news…

I have to tell you, my lower brace feels really, really sore! I felt like I had a pretty easy ride as far as pain was concerned with my upper brace so this has hit me quite hard as I wasn’t as prepared this time. With the top brace the soreness on my tongue was mainly concentrated at the front where it was in contact with the brackets when I spoke. With the lower brace, the pain is all towards the back of my tongue at the sides and is primarily caused by the movement my tongue makes moving over those back brackets when I swallow. And not just food and drink either – you have no idea how many times you swallow during the day just with saliva! Ouch! On top of that, I have also felt a lot more aching in my teeth on the bottom than the top – I had real trouble eating last night and today as it hurts to chew even soft foods and with the swallowing pain as well, even soups and yogurts are a struggle. I know I’ll only feel more despondent if I’m hungry so I’ve been taking ibuprofen to help me push through, which has helped. I’ve avoided wax and Gishy Goo so far but I know I always have that option too if it gets worse.

I’m really hoping that in a day or two the pain will settle down, and when that happens I’m excited to see what my speech is like. I’ll be so delighted if the improvement I experienced initially continues as I was starting to feel a little frustrated. Also, I would say that if you are thinking of getting lingual braces, ask your orthodontist if they will stagger the fitting of your upper and lower brace. My ortho recommends fitting them two weeks apart as he says the experience of having them both put on at once would be too overwhelming and I can certainly imagine that would be the case.

Mind the gap!

Magnifying glass at the ready? It’s day 13 with my top lingual brace and a gap has definitely appeared between my two front teeth that wasn’t there before…

gap-between-teeth-lingual-braces{© Inside I’m Smiling}

Ok, so it’s probably barely perceptible to the naked eye, but it definitely wasn’t there before, so that’s progress, right?

Tomorrow afternoon it’s back to my orthodontist to have my bottom lingual brace fitted, so next time you see me I’ll be fully kitted out and ready to really get down to business!