Forth braces adjustment

I’m a bit late posting these photos, which were taken before my forth lingual brace adjustment last week. It’s now SIX MONTHS since I got my braces, which feels like my first real milestone. If my teeth are finished at the lower end of my treatment estimate (18 months) that means I’m one year away from a brace-free smile!

Inside I'm Smiling lingual braces blog w410{Photographs © Inside I’m Smiling}

During my forth lingual brace adjustment my ortho used a stronger wire for the first time and seemed to spend a little longer than before putting little bends and kinks into the wire to shape my teeth. He said that my teeth are moving really well so I was happy about that.

As usual my gums were quite painful for the first four/five days while the teeth were moving. However, I now have no tongue pain at all to speak of and don’t have any real trouble eating either, so long as I stick to sensible foods. Overall I’m feeling really happy with how things are progressing and the way my smile is beginning to look. Referring back at my teeth looked before lingual braces the transformation is already amazing!

How’s your treatment coming along? I’d love to hear how you’re doing in the comments!

X-rays before lingual braces

Don’t worry folks, Halloween hasn’t come early… I was backing up my computer this weekend and stumbled across the x-rays I had taken before my lingual braces were made. So, I thought I’d share them with you:

I’m no expert and don’t really know what these x-rays show from an orthodontic perspective – although you can see my overbite in the photo above. I now have some kind of dental cement stuff on my back teeth to stop my teeth ‘clashing’ when I bite together, which would risk my brackets being knocked off. See this post for more about how my ortho changed my bite when fitting my braces and how this made it difficult to eat.

{both © Inside I’m Smiling}

You can also see my wisdom teeth right at the back, which haven’t come through yet. One of the things I need to ask my ortho is what I should do if they do erupt in future because I’d be distraught if they pushed my teeth out of place again. I’m 28 now… does anyone know if they might still come through at my age?

The other thing that’s interesting about these x-rays is how deep the roots of the teeth go. I am soooo pleased that I didn’t have to have any extractions before getting my lingual braces as the very thought scares me to death. It’s incredible to think how orthodontics has changed over time – when I was a teenager and supposed to have traditional braces they planned to remove four teeth. Now, my ortho plans to file a little of the enamel between some of the teeth to create a little extra room if needed, but no teeth need to be taken out at all. Amazing huh?

Did you have to have teeth extracted before you got your lingual (or other) braces? I’ve had a couple of comments from people who have and I’ve heard it can be quite traumatic and difficult to come to terms with the gaps…

My teeth: four months into my lingual braces journey

Hello again! It’s about four months since I had my lingual braces put on and I’m getting ready for my third new wire tomorrow. Here are a few photos of how my teeth are looking at this stage.

Inside I'm Smiling lingual braces blog{© Inside I’m Smiling}

This is really the first point where I’ve started to feel confident about my new smile. Since my last update I’ve grown happy to show my teeth when smiling in photos (something I never did before) and I’ve even worn red lipstick for the first time… again, something I never would’ve done before as I always avoided drawing attention to my mouth!

When I decided to get lingual braces I was excited by the idea that 18-22 months later I would have a smile I could show off. I know my teeth aren’t perfect yet, but I’ve been surprised at how my confidence has grown after a relatively short time and I can start enjoying smiling even before my orthodontist has finished his work.

However, I need to start practicing my new smile! For so long it’s become second nature to keep my lips closed whenever there was a camera pointing in my direction. Now I have to keep reminding myself that I can smile properly…but it still feels very strange to me!

Inside I'm Smiling lingual braces blog{© Inside I’m Smiling}

You can see from the photos of the inside surfaces of my teeth that I had proper brackets fitted to all my teeth at my last adjustment appointment. As usual, I experienced some aching pain for about the first week but since then I’ve been feeling pretty comfortable with my lingual braces.

The tongue pain I experienced at the beginning is almost gone. Now I just have the odd day of achy teeth between adjustments. My speech is more-or-less normal again (I still need to concentrate hard when I need to make an ‘st’ sound but I don’t think other people really notice anymore). Eating with my braces is ok too – again, when my teeth are aching I opt for softer foods again but in general I feel I have much more choice about what I can eat with braces than in the early days. It’s the food getting stuck in the wires and brackets that’s most annoying now!

So, wish me luck with tomorrow’s appointment. And thanks to those of you have left me comments recently about your journeys with lingual braces or your decision process in improving your smile. Don’t forget, you can add your comment by clicking the speech bubble symbol at the top of every post. It’s so nice to hear from others with similar experiences and your comments make writing this blog worthwhile 🙂

First adjustment – pictures

It’s now two months since I had my lingual braces fitted and last week I visited the orthodontist for my first adjustment and new wire.

The appointment was pretty straightforward – around 30 minutes – and didn’t involve the mouth stretcher things or tongue guard that were used when my braces went on so it wasn’t uncomfortable. Here’s how things look now…

Inside I'm Smiling lingual braces blog{© Inside I’m Smiling}

The left-hand side of my upper teeth is looking really good (that’s the right-hand side as you look at the photo). However, the most exciting thing is that the tooth that protrudes the most (and bothered me most) has now been connected to the wire. I hadn’t expected that the happen so soon, so I’m really happy. You can see better from the inside view of my top teeth:

Lingual braces blog - Inside I'm Smiling{© Inside I’m Smiling}

At the moment it doesn’t have a bracket – the wire has just been attached to the tooth using white dental cement stuff. The orthodontist said that there was actually space to put a bracket on, but because of the angle the tooth sticks out at it would’ve been visible from the side, so to keep my lingual braces invisible he’ll  tilt it back slightly by just fixing the wire like this, and then attach a proper bracket next time I have an adjustment at the end of April.

Inside I'm Smiling adult braces blog{© Inside I’m Smiling}

On my lower teeth, the teeth that didn’t have anything on before (read about when I had the lower lingual brace fitted here) have had little metal ‘buttons’ attached [2] and elastic things have been attached to those [1] and along the brackets further back.

For about the first 7 days after the appointment my gums were really achy and it was sore to chew again. However, that kind of tooth pain is a lot more manageable that tongue pain because it responds well to painkillers so I took ibuprofen for about 4 days to help.

One week on, everything’s fine. The only one that’s hurting now is the front tooth next to the pokey out one – it’s actually been pulled out of line slightly but not that anyone would notice. Also, one of the elastic bits snapped so I need to contact the orthodontist to get that sorted out too. Oh, and my lisp has neeearly gone – yay!

So all in all, I’m feeling good! How are you fellow brace-wearers doing?

First new wire – ouch!

I had the wire changed on my lingual braces for the first time this morning… my teeth are sooo achy! Think I need some of these 😉

{via Web Designer Depot}

I’ll post again over the weekend with some photos for you. Hopefully by then my gums won’t be so sore and I’ll be able to think straight enough to write a coherent blog post! There are a few changes to my braces to show you…

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.

My top brace goes on

London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic}

THE BIG DAY IS HERE!

This afternoon I went along to see my orthodontist to get my top brace fitted. Since I took the decision to go ahead with lingual braces I’d say I’ve been 50/50 with excitement and anxiety but as I approached the clinic I was definitely more like 20/80! I was so nervous!

However, before I go into detail I should say that the fitting process was nowhere near as bad as I expected.

WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE APPOINTMENT…

1) the orthodontist gave me some lip balm as your lips get quite stretched and dry while your brace is going on.

2) cotton wool pads were placed inside my cheeks and my mouth was kept open with a plastic spacer thingy. I also had another plastic thing put over my tongue to keep it at the back of my mouth. This sounds horrible but was actually quite a relief as it meant I could relax my tongue and didn’t have to worry about it getting in the way.

3) the ortho and nurse gave my teeth a thorough clean using a water jet. They then painted a gel onto the inside surface of my teeth in preparation for the brackets being fixed. The gel tasted a bit nasty but as my tongue was covered it wasn’t too bad.

4) the nurse put this machine against each tooth first and it made a beeping sound… I assumed this was some kind of laser but I’m not sure. I will ask next time I go and get my bottom brace fitted. UPDATE: it’s a machine that emits a very intense beam of light, which activates the adhesive.

5) then the brackets were attached to each tooth using a strong adhesive. I think each one was attached to some sort of plastic casing, which the ortho pressed hard onto each tooth while the adhesive dried then snapped the casing away. The pressing action on to my teeth was a tiny bit uncomfortable and my jaw was starting to ache by now!

6) because I have an overbite, a resin-type substance was built up onto my upper back teeth to stop me closing my teeth completely, thereby knocking the brackets off my top teeth with my bottom ones. I will warn you, if you need this done if feels really strange at first ( it still feels completely weird as I’m writing this).

7) Finally, wire was threaded through the brackets. I expected this part to take ages but it was really quick. Looking at my brace now I can see that the ortho has used different thicknesses of wire between different teeth – I can’t believe how complex the wire looks considering how fast it went on.

8) DONE! The whole process took about 40 minutes and aside from a little jaw-ache and pressure on my teeth it wasn’t painful at all.

I took a couple of ibuprofen before going into my appointment just in case. If nothing else, I think it calmed my nerves to know I was armed against pain in case I experienced any. I need to go back in a fortnight to get my bottom braces fitted and I don’t think I’ll bother taking painkillers again.

After the orthodontist had done his bit the nurse gave me a goodie bag (below) with some wax, mouthwash, an orthodontic toothbrush etc and also the emergency contact numbers for my ortho in case I experience any problems during the evenings or weekends. I’m hoping it won’t ever come to that but she was very clear that I shouldn’t suffer in silence which is reassuring to know.

{© Inside I’m Smiling}

I’m not in any pain yet but am quite tired and lispy so will be back soon with an update on my first 48 hours and how I’ve got on with speaking and eating so far.

I can’t believe my braces journey has actually started… no going back now!