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 🙂

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Second adjustment tomorrow

Just stopping by to let you know I have my second adjustment tomorrow – three months into my lingual braces journey.

Here’s a photo so you can see how things are coming along…

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

I’ve taken the photo slightly from the side so you can see that the teeth to the left of the centre are straightening up really nicely. The tooth that protrudes most on the right-hand side has tilted back too and you can see there’s now plenty of space either side for it to move into. By attaching that tooth to my wire at my first adjustment the front tooth next to it was pulled forward slightly too (it was pretty much straight before) so that now needs pulling back a little too.

So, tomorrow I’m hoping that my ortho will attach proper brackets to the final three teeth that haven’t got them yet (one at the top and two at the bottom with currently just have little buttons) so my treatment can really get underway.

My teeth have moved really dramatically during the past three months since I first had my lingual braces fitted and I am already feeling more confident about showing my teeth when I smile, something I tried not to do before.

I’m prepared for another week or so of achy teeth starting tomorrow but overall everything’s going really well!

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?

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!

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!

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.