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!

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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!!!