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Written By: Gary on August 3, 2011 One Comment

Did you have braces growing up (or as an adult)? Did you hate them or tolerate them? Were you happy with the results when they were taken off?

I had some kind of braces as a kid, but I know we never completed the process but I don’t recall why? (I didn’t care? Money? It helped some?) But as I got older my top front teeth still stuck out a little and I ended up with my front bottom teeth jammed in together, imagine five teeth jammed in the space of four with a few bing sideways to make them fit. It really didn’t look as bad as it sounds.

When I was in my late 20s (or early 30s) I decided to get them worked on again. Braces image Image courtesy of WikipediaWhy I thought about this I have no idea. I had good dental insurance, maybe the dentist suggested it a few times. I’m not really that vain, so I’m mot sure of the motivator, and like I said the bad part wasn’t really that noticeable; I don’t have a toothy smile and the overbite covered the worst of it. But once I started there was no going back…

They pulled out one of the lower front teeth and put on some braces to shift the others around, I’d have to go in every so ofter to get them to tighten them to shift the teeth even more. The first day I absolutely hated them, I remember being in tears, my mouth and lips ware all scraped up, it was stressful and painful. Plus, I was really hungry!. I remember my girlfriend Jennifer making me some soup that night (I’m not 100% sure she was still my girlfriend at the time or not, but she still took care of me), I really don’t recall a whole lot of kissing during the time I had them on. I’d have gone back the next day and had them removed if it wasn’t for the fact I”d had a tooth pulled and there would be a huge gap.

The Braces Cookbook Pamela Waterman, Brenda WatermanIt made me talk funny at first but that got eventually got bette. But shortly after getting them I ended up having a presentation at “The Governor’s Education Summit” (or something like that), I put all sorts of wax on them and some kind of numbing medicine and just talked and ignored the pain (everything was scraping my lips and cheeks). I did fine, but I certainly paid for it for the next few days with extra scrapes and swelling inside my mouth.

Not only did I have to keep going in for adjustments, I kept chewing some of the parts off the braces, so I was constantly going in for repairs. Eventually it just got to the point where I’d call and just say I was on my way and they’d squeeze me in. I really don’t recall how long I had them on, less than a year I think.

Once I got them off, they looked perfect. The bottom eeth had all moved over and had filled in the spot where the tooth had been removed was. But then a day or two later I could see the teeth were shifting around, so I panicked and went back in and he put in a permanent wire retainer across the back of my front teeth. He also said something like “I was afraid something like that might happen” and I was pretty upset about that, why didn’t he just put the wire in the first place?!? The teeth had already shifted and the damage was done, they looked okay, but they had looked perfect. I was pretty annoyed about this.

So the other part is: Since my bottom teeth weren’t jumbled around, it gave my top teeth some room to move around and they look way better too. This was unexpected and they started looking great too. I mentioned it at the dentist and they disagreed with me, that doing my bottom teeth did not fix my top teeth. I had them go did my original molds out of storage (wherever they keep them) and one they saw how much my top teeth had shifted, pretty much all the staff came into my room to see the change.

Speaking of kissing: the retainer is still in there. No one has ever noticed it (or at least they haven’t asked) and when I’ve mentioned something about it, most people don’t even believe I have something in there. And I’ve never had any problems with it, I thought it’d pop off at some time. I’m not even sure if it’s necessary anymore. It’s still a hassle to floss around, but otherwise not too much of an annoyance.

This is from this week’s Friday Question.

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