What can you eat with lingual braces?

{via Delectable Deliciousness}

When I got my lingual braces fitted, I was told that I had to avoid anything chewy, hard or sticky. So, crunchy pizza crusts and toffees were out… no problem I thought! But the reality of the first week or so with lingual braces is that you’ll really struggle to chew anything at all.

So I thought I’d compile a list of soft foods / meals that I found easy enough to eat during that stomach-rumbling first week. Some are probably obvious, but hopefully there are one or two you might not have thought of and might just save you from soup, soup and more soup!

BREAKFAST IDEAS

Fruit yogurt with oats mixed in

Porridge

Smoothies

Scrambled eggs

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LUNCH / DINNER IDEAS

Homemade soup (add orzo pasta, barley or rice so it’s more substantial)

Fish with mashed potato and creamy sauce

Risotto

Jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise / chilli (leave the skin in the early days)

Pasta (choose small shapes) and smooth sauce

Omelette

Couscous

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SNACKS / DESSERT IDEAS

Rice pudding

Yogurt / custard

Banana (mashed if necessary)

Chocolate mousse

Ice cream / sorbet

Milkshakes / smoothies

Hopefully there are a few ideas here – have you got any hunger-busting suggestions? Leave a comment if you have!

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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.

Lisping and The Rainbow Passage

I’m convinced that the only way I’m going to overcome my lisp from my lingual brace is to practice, practice, practice. The Rainbow Passage is a piece of text designed to contain all the sound combinations in the English language in roughly the same proportion as they occur in everyday speech. I’ve found it useful in identifying the sounds that cause me trouble with my braces so I can give them extra attention.

{via Picasa}

The Rainbow Passage

When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colours. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon.

There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky.

Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun’s rays by the rain. Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbows.

Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the drops, and the width of the coloured band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super-imposition of a number of bows. If the red of the second bow falls upon the green of the first, the result is to give a bow with an abnormally wide yellow band, since red and green light when mixed form yellow. This is a very common type of bow, one showing mainly red and yellow, with little or no green or blue.

Back to work!

{via See Me Everywhere}

It’s day six with my top lingual brace and today was my first day back at work so I thought I’d pop over and give you a very quick update.

  • My lisp still feels quite pronounced, but I think it’s gradually getting better day by day. I spoke to my Mum on the phone tonight and she said she “couldn’t hear any slooshing at all” [quote] but she might’ve just been trying to make me feel better!
  • I went completely wax-less (I feel pretty brave about that).
  • I’m not in any pain at all.
  • Nobody laughed at me / looked at me weird / called me metal mouth… not that I’d expected them to of course!
  • Everyone who I’d previously told about getting my brace was amazed that you can’t see it at all.
  • My lisp definitely gets worse when I speak too fast. I tend to do this when I’m anxious (which I have been today, each time I needed to speak) so it’s a bit of a catch 22. I’m going to work on calming down and taking my time.
  • Over-thinking what you’re going to say doesn’t help either. From now on I plan to say whatever comes to mind and try not to stop/stumble if I lisp on a particular word.
  • When you tell people you have a brace almost everyone has a teenage brace story to tell you (and ends up saying they wish they could’ve had one like mine back in their day). And nearly everyone says their teeth have moved back. Retainers, retainers, retainers people!
  • I felt a bit weird having to brush my teeth after lunch in the bathroom at work, but I reckon I’ll get used to it.
  • In a cruel twist of fate, I discovered that my job title is impossible to say with braces. Do you think that’s grounds to ask for a promotion?!

So, at the end of the day I’m feeling quite positive. Physically my jaw is a bit achy today (could be that I’m a bit tense with the stress of being back at work?) and I can feel my speech is ‘lazy’ (and therefore lispy) tonight with tiredness.

I think the whole experience of getting a lingual brace is generally pretty overwhelming, so if you possibly can, it’s well worth taking a few extra days off work after having it fitted if you can. At the very least, try and get an appointment on a Friday so you have the weekend to get used to things.

Listen to my lisp!

{via FFW}

I decided to record myself speaking to get a feel for how I might sound to others. As an experiment I recorded myself reading the same passage without wax and then after applying orthodontic wax to all of the brackets. These recordings were done three days after my top brace was fitted. Each recording lasts about 30 seconds.

I grabbed a book from my coffee table at random and opened it on a real tongue twister of a paragraph about garden design. I’ll write the passage out below so you can practice yourself if you like.

FIRSTLY, WITHOUT WAX

SECONDLY, WITH WAX

What do you think?

To me, my lisp sounds better on these recordings than it does in real life. I haven’t worked out if that’s because the voice recorder isn’t sensitive enough, or if lots of the hissing sounds more obvious to me because it’s inside my own head!!!

Here’s the passage – try it and you’ll see there are loads of sound combinations that are really tricky to say with a lingual brace, so it’s a good one to practice with.

“Small should not mean twee or bijou because this defeats the object of enjoying and feeling at ease in your little garden. Similarly, prissiness and over-meticulousness have the effect of emphasizing smallness. But you can have fun playing with reflections and tricks of illusion which confuse the boundaries and widen the horizons of your space. The use of optical techniques, involving line, scale and colour, can be surprisingly effective in creating real deceptions.”

PS: I chose this photograph to illustrate this post because this is exactly how speaking with my brace feels to me… like your mouth knows where it should be but can’t find the right position!!!

First 48 hours with lingual braces: speech

{via Etsy}

I think for many people, the lisping is the most worrying factor when choosing a lingual brace. You’ve picked an invisible brace because you’d rather people didn’t know you had one, but then when you speak they’ll know something’s up!

I had my brace fitted on a Friday and also took the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work to give myself a clear five days to get used to my brace and practice my speech. Today’s Sunday and I’m still lisping but number of sounds that cause me trouble is gradually reducing.

D, S, T and soft C are the ones you’re going to struggle with most. After 48 hours I’ve mastered all of these sounds in isolation (and when concentrating and not gabbling too fast!) but combinations of these sounds are still difficult, for example:

stick, adjust, cupboards, dice, instead, orthodontist, practice

I’ve found it useful to speak slowly in front of the mirror as it helps to see how your mouth moves as you speak and try to hone the sounds by saying them again and again, and exaggerating them as much as you can.

I also found it useful to put on my favourite songs and sing along… for some reason it’s easier to sing words than speak them in normal conversation so this was good practice and a confidence-booster to begin with. TIP: if you know it, Starman by David Bowie has a lot of complicated ‘s’ sounds to try and get your tongue around!

“some cat was laying down some rock and roll, lotta soul he said” … NIGHTMARE!!!

I’ll do another speech update after 5 days with my lingual brace and hope I’ll have some improvements to report before heading back to the office. However, in my experience the lisping from my brace is no worse than someone who has a mild lisp normally. Kind of a hissing lisp, rather than the kind that sounds like you might get spat on, if you know what I mean!!!

First 48 hours with lingual braces: eating

{via For the Love of Food}

I have to be honest. If you’re getting a lingual brace don’t expect to be eating your favourite foods any time soon!

48 hours in, I am struggling to eat anything that you can’t swallow without any chewing whatsoever. Smoothies, yogurt, rice pudding and soup have been my staples. I’ve also had a go at eating some scrambled eggs and avocado, which were ok but not quite as easy to manage.

As I have stuff on my back teeth to stop them biting together it feels like I have no useful chewing surface at all. Also, I’ve been surprised at just how much you use your tongue when chewing (you think it’s only a job for your teeth!) but I’ve become very aware of how much the tongue is used to move the food to different surfaces in your mouth when you chew. Mainly this feels like your tongue is scraping over every bracket and wire in your mouth… ouch!

I’m going to try some fish and mashed potato tonight (my most ambitious meal yet) so we’ll see how that goes!