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