Monday, January 14, 2008

Bracing Myself

Sometimes I do things that I regret as soon as it's too late to back out.

I'm getting braces.

I'm in my 30s, with a husband and kid, and I'm getting braces. Funny enough, I just heard a story on NPR about adults who go to the trouble and expense of cosmetic dentistry. One person said she had braces as a teenager, but now at 53, her teeth have reverted back to their crooked positions. Apparently, teeth have a good memory. Maybe they can help me find my phone the next time it's ringing during MetaBoy's nap.

And here's another article where a 47-year old woman detailed her experiences with braces...after forcing her son to endure the torture. He had his fun with that ;-)

But I digress.

Some background. Obviously, I didn't get braces as a teenager...otherwise, I probably wouldn't be posting about this. My teeth are only slightly crooked, but they're pretty compacted. How bad is it? I hate flossing because it leaves my teeth hurting for the rest of the day. So I floss infrequently and at night. I've also come to notice that since my upper molars don't sit flat on my lower molars, my lower teeth are wearing down at an angle, which will likely lead to problems down the road. Oh, and one tooth is crooked and bothers me aesthetically. However, there's no way I would do this if it was just for that one tooth. I'm just saying.

A couple of other reasons for giving in to this ridiculous whim of mine:
  • My orthodontist said it should take about 8 months, which really didn't seem like a significant time the time.
  • We had enough FSA money left over in 2007 that it was worth looking into what we could benefit from spending it on. This was added to the fact that our dental plan is pretty generous with orthodontia.
  • I'm not working, which means I don't have to convince people to respect my authority despite my height, gender, and youthful appearance. Braces would not have worked to my advantage at work, so this is as good a time as ever to follow through with it.
  • My husband's theory is that if I'm happy, everyone's happy. Truly the mark of a smart man.
As for the gear, I chose braces over Invisalign, which are a series of trays that fits over your teeth to slowly move them into place. While I was a candidate for them, my orthodontist pointed out that they take longer and are on average only 80% effective. He's had patients who need braces for a couple of months after Invisalign to attain a healthy bite. That meant that it would have costed more, taken longer, and might not have yielded final results. I am.

This past week, I had spacers put in, which are 8 teeny tiny rubber bands inserted between 4 molars. They're put in place with floss, which was actually a challenge because it's hard enough to get floss in at the best of times. Nevermind if you're leaving little rubber bands behind. A couple of days after I could feel my teeth had moved because my bite feels misaligned. Between that and the movement of the teeth in general, chewing is actually quite a challenge right now. I can't chew anything hard. I can hardly chew soft things, mostly opting for MetaBaby-soft food. An interesting side-effect is that I truly appreciate Boogie's teething pain more than ever. I also shrink at the thought of people who go for years with dental pain, and don't get it fixed. MetaDaddy apparently spent 10 years chewing on one side because he was avoiding a root canal. Yes, a root canal sucks. But 10 years of chewing on one side? Seriously?!?

Had I known the pain was going to start once the spacers were in, I would have had a ridiculous buffet send-off of hard, sticky, chewy foods like steak, ribs, apples, gum, cucumber...ugh, and how I miss salad.

Next week, the hardware.


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

DO. IT. You'll never regret it. I had braces when I was a teen and it was a bit painful at times but worth it. My teeth have not gone awry since.

A good friend got braces at 38! So you're never too old. Besides, you'll get a retainer after the braces which will help retrain your moving teeth - especially if you wear it at night for years afterwards.

Oh and the chullet cut? He pouted a bit and I did have to hold him on my lap but it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it would be! :)