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 🙂

REVIEW: Wax vs Gishy Goo

Brackets and wires are nasty contraptions to have in your mouth, so you’ll want to be prepared with something to smooth them off. Doing so helps with tongue pain and speech… but which product to use? Orthodontic wax is the most widely available option, while Gishy Goo is a more recent innovation.

I’ve used both on my lingual braces and thought I’d put them head to head in my very first product review to help you decide.

{© Inside I’m Smiling}

THE CLAIMS:

WAX: “Orthodontic wax helps to protect your mouth and makes you more comfortable in those difficult first months of treatment.  The best way to apply orthodontic wax is to tear a small piece off and rub it into a ball, then gently apply it to part of your braces that has been causing discomfort.  The wax should then cushion the irritated area and prevent further discomfort.”

GISHY GOO: “Gishy Goo is a soft, squishy material you can put on your braces to keep them from poking and rubbing your mouth. It’s made from the same material dentists use to take impressions of your teeth. It stays in place better than wax and provides lasting comfort for lips and cheeks.”

COST:

WAX: buy from this online store and a single container of wax will set you back £0.85p (€1.01). In reality though, your orthodontist will probably keep you stocked up for free. You’ll get around 8-10 applications from each container.

GISHY GOO: buy from the same online store and one pack of Gishy Goo costs £14 (€16.67). I haven’t seen it for sale in any physical shops in the UK so you may have to pay postage too. Again, expect 8-10 applications per tube.

WINNER ON COST: WAX

APPEARANCE:

WAX: thin strips of clear wax come in small plastic containers that are discreet and small enough to slip into your pocket or purse. The ones from my ortho have sparkley bits in the plastic box – but in the name of unbiased reviewing, I’m not awarding extra marks for that 😉

GISHY GOO: comes in a big-ish cardboard box that with cartoon characters that are obviously designed for the child/teenage market. The Gishy Goo itself comes in a plastic syringe with two separate chambers that looks like something you might use to inoculate cattle. Hmmm. The silicon itself is white when mixed, although I believe you can also get garish coloured versions if you’re that way inclined.

WINNER ON APPEARANCE: WAX

EASE OF APPLICATION:

WAX: the instructions that come with the wax simply state that it should be rolled into a ball between your fingers and applied to dry brackets. The problem with a lingual brace is that it’s almost impossible to get the brackets at the back of your mouth dry enough to make the wax stick as your tongue is so close… and usually it’s those back brackets where you really need it. Thumbs down.

GISHY GOO: use the ‘syringe’ to dispense a little Gishy Goo from each side of the tube onto your finger and mix together to activate it. You get a small window of opportunity to apply it to your brace between activating it and it drying too hard to stick. Get it right and Gishy Goo will stick fast to damp brackets, even at the back of your mouth. However, miss the window and you’ll be left with a hard, rubbery piece of silicone that’s no good for anything.

BEST FOR EASE OF APPLICATION: GISHY GOO

TASTE:

WAX: my wax doesn’t taste of anything and that’s just fine by me. I believe you can also buy mint flavoured wax if you prefer.

GISHY GOO: presumably another attempt to appeal to the teenage market Gishy Goo is bubblegum flavoured…why?! The only godsend it that at least the taste doesn’t last that long so you’ll only notice it for a few minutes after application.

WINNER ON TASTE: WAX

STAYING POWER:

WAX: because it doesn’t stick fast, it doesn’t take much to dislodge the wax. It’s a real pain to have to remove it every time you want a cup of tea or a yogurt and unless you’re in serious discomfort you might well decide you can’t be bothered with the hassle. Apparently it’s not harmful to swallow wax but I expect most of us would rather not!

GISHY GOO: will easily stay in place overnight (when your tongue can get really sore) and although you’re not meant to, it will stay in place for hot drinks and soft lunches like soup. In the first few weeks with your brace, knowing you have a tube of Gishy Goo in your bag that will stay in place and protect you from pokes and scrapes whatever you throw at it is a real confidence-booster.

BEST FOR STAYING POWER: GISHY GOO

EASE OF REMOVAL:

WAX: tends to break into little pieces when you try and remove it so this can be a time-consuming and fiddly job. I found that I needed to brush my teeth in order to feel I’d properly got rid of it, which was annoying when I had to do this every time I wanted to eat (the reapply it again afterwards).

GISHY GOO: is easier to remove than wax as it tends to hold together in one lump – grip it in the right place with your fingernails and you’ll probably get it all out in a couple of goes. On that point, it’s worth mentioning that if you bite your fingernails, invest in a pair of tweezers!

BEST FOR EASE OF REMOVAL: GISHY GOO

CONCLUSION:

There’s no escaping the fact that Gishy Goo is expensive but if you can I’d recommend you invest in a couple of tubes when you first get your lingual braces. You won’t need it throughout your treatment but there were times at the beginning when I was in a lot of discomfort that I was so relieved that I had some Gishy Goo in my bag. However, if you can apply it properly, wax and Gishy Goo are equally effective in smoothing sharp areas and giving your mouth a break from rubbing. Even though I’ve had my braces for six weeks now I still carry both with me at all times (for reassurance as much as anything) and Gishy Goo was a great solution when I suffered a broken bracket moments before a fun night out.

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…

First problem: broken bracket

broken-lingual-braces-bracket1{© Inside I’m Smiling}

On Friday evening I was just brushing my teeth and getting ready for an evening out with friends when one of my lower lingual brackets broke off my tooth. Arrrgh!

Typically, it happened about 3o minutes after my orthodontist closed and as it happened on a Friday I’m stuck with it broken all weekend. However I sent my ortho a text message and he immediately replied to check I wasn’t in pain and has managed to squeeze an appointment for me before work on Monday. You don’t get that kind of service on the NHS do you!?

The bracket broke away at the adhesive so it still has the wire looped through it. It’s the spinning and moving up and down the wire that’s annoying more than anything – thankfully it’s not sore. My main concern is it coming off the wire somehow and that I could accidentally swallow it, so I have used a blob of Gishy Goo to stick it in one place which seems to be working well. If I lose a bracket it costs £45 to replace so I could really do without that! Even if you don’t use it to stop your lingual braces rubbing I’d suggest it’s well worth keeping a tube of Gishy Goo in your bag for this purpose as I’m not sure ordinary wax would be sticky/protective enough.

I promise to post a full wax vs Gishy Goo review soon…

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Update: All fixed – only took 10-15 minutes to have the bracket glued back on and I was back at my desk bang on time! While I was there my orthodontist mentioned that my teeth are moving nicely which is great and I’m beginning to feel quite excited about my first adjustment in two weeks. Tune back in then!