Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Day 62 - First adjustment



I can't believe I'm over 2 months in on my braces!  I had my first adjustment today.  Before I had braces I would hear people talk about getting their braces tightened.  I had a mental picture of the orthodontist pulling the wire tighter at each visit.  Well that's not how it happens.  You may not get a new wire each month but they will take the wire out and reinstall with new ligatures (the colorful rubber bands that hold the wire on).  Basically the wire is pre-shaped to the perfect arch.  When it's installed it tries to return to its perfect shape pulling your teeth along with it.  As time goes on the wire gets thicker allowing more pressure to be put on your teeth.  

Yesterday I went up in wire thickness.  I also had a small spring installed in the front.  According to my ortho my front tooth is stubborn so the spring will make more room, faster, so the tooth can turn into place.

Tiny little spring to force the teeth apart.
 
I can really tell a difference with this new wire.  My teeth are SO sore this morning.  It didn't even hurt this much when I first got them on!  My appointment was at noon and by the evening I hurt.  I didn't even want to eat dinner and it hurt to brush my teeth.  

I'm always amazed how fast teeth can move even though at times it feels like they are not moving at all.  This picture is only 1 day apart.  My bottom midline was shifting to the right but after the new wire and the spring it's pretty much back to normal.

Look how much my bottom midline has moved in 1 day!

My wire now goes through the molar bands.  I was wondering how it stays on and it looks like it's just threaded through the little hole.  No rubber band to hold the wire in place.


Look at the bend in that wire!

Other than that not much to update.  I'll post some pictures below of my progress so far.  Next appointment is in 4 weeks.  Hopefully the stubborn tooth with start moving.


 


  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Day 35 – Products we like


I’m about a month in now and I’m pretty much used to the braces.  I've got all 4 molar bands on now.  I don’t use the wax any longer.  I think my lips and cheeks have toughened up.  I’m eating a lot better with them but still sticking to soft foods.  I do have to say that getting braces is a great diet plan.  I’ve lost 10 pounds since February 7th (install day).  A lot of the weight was lost in the beginning due to not being able to eat but now I find myself passing on the office sweets and not snacking between meals because I don’t want to have to get up and spend 15 minutes in the bathroom brushing and flossing my teeth.

I haven’t seen a significant change in my teeth yet but I have noticed that my top teeth have space between them now.  I can tell a big difference when I’m flossing.  It used to be a struggle to get the floss between all of my teeth but now my teeth don’t even touch.  Progress!  The bottom teeth still feel and look the same to me.  My next appointment isn’t until mid April and I still have the original wire and purple rubber bands (ligatures) on.  All in all it took a month to get everything full installed and now I will go in every 4-6 weeks for adjustments.

I did want to share some items that my boyfriend and I have purchased that make our brushing routine a little easier.  The first is a water flosser.  This devise is great at removing food from the braces and in between the teeth.  I’ve been having a green smoothie for breakfast lately and even though I’ll brush at work after drinking it when I water floss after I get home I can still see little pieces spinach and kale getting rinsed away.  

We went with the Waterpik Ulta Plus.  Costso has a special right now where you get the Waterpik Ulta Plus and a Nano (travel size) one for free.  Plus they are an extra $20 off making the price $59.99.  Water flossing takes a few times to get the hang of but now I can’t imagine not doing it.      


The next item we like are floss threaders.  Even though we use the water flosser we still use regular floss too.  The floss threaders make it easier to get the floss between the wire and the tooth.  I got these DenTek ones on Amazon.  I like to tie the end of the floss to the threader.   



  
For floss I started using Cocofloss before I got my braces.  This stuff is amazing!  Seriously, you have to try it!  It’s somewhat textured so it scrubs between the teeth so well.  Use this link and get $5.00 off your first order!



As far as tooth brushes go we continued to use the Arm & Hammer electric toothbrushes we have always used.  They are inexpensive and work well.  I usually get them at Walmart or Amazon.  


 
Last but not least: mouthwash.  We use Act Braces Care.  Again, found at WalMart but you can also get it on Amazon. 




From start to finish; water flossing, brushing, regular flossing then mouth wash, our nighttime dental routine can take up to 15 minutes now but it’s worth it!  I certainly don’t want any cavities or white spots!         

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 15, 3 molar bands and metal spacers


The past 7 days have been rather un-eventful, which is a good thing!  I’ve been trying to eat different foods besides soup and applesauce.  We had Blaze Pizza (for the first time) on Sunday.  I had to cut it up into little pieces because there is still so much pressure on my teeth that I couldn’t bite it.  Chewing was a little hard with the rubber spacers and it took forever just to eat half of it but I managed.  Luckily it was a single restroom so I didn’t feel too weird brushing my teeth after I ate. 

I went to my appointment on my lunch break again.  This time I was out in less than 30 minutes.  No lose brackets!!  They started by removing the purple rubber spacers.  Some were still tight so there was a lot of pressure when they were pulled out.  Next she held different size molar bands against my teeth until she found ones that fit.  There was a lot of pressure as each one was pressed on.  I then had to bite down on some kind of tool at all different angles that felt like it was positioning the molar band correctly.  After 3 were installed she asked me how they felt.  They were fine but one on the top I could feel against my gum so she lowered it a little bit.  Then told me she was going to take them all off so she could glue them on.  There was just as much pressure taking them off as putting them on!  After drying the inside of the bands she spread some type of cement/glue on the inside of the bands, dried my tooth and pressed in on again.  They went on much easier. 

Top left molar band
 
Top right molar band
Bottom right molar band

I had one molar on the bottom where the space was still too tight to fit a molar band.  I now have a metal spacer.  Basically she twisted a piece of wire together between my teeth.  Once again there was a lot of pressure but no pain.  I have to go back in 1 week to get the last molar band installed and then it will be monthly appointments.  They left the same wire and rubber bands on.  Once I have all 4 molar bands they will install a new wire that attaches to the molar bands.
metal wire spacers

As I was leaving, the assistant asked me if I had received my kit last time.  Nope, I had not received a kit.  I was actually going to ask about it since my boyfriend got one from his orthodontist and I hadn’t. 
The kit included a toothbrush, floss, floss threaders, a travel toothbrush, a dental mirror, a timer, wax and a little brush.

I wasn't given a color choice.  Maybe they only have green.
 I can already tell that these molar band are going to drive me nuts!  The attachments on the side stick out more than the brackets and are rubbing my cheeks raw.  Wax to the rescue!  Other than that I don't notice them.

I have included a progress photo.  I know it's only been 2 weeks, well one since the re-install, but I want to see some movement!  If you've had/have braces how long before you could see a difference?
  
             

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 8, complete removal and re-install



As you may recall I got my braces put on last Tuesday evening. 

Day 1 I tried to eat noodles at lunch but couldn’t.  My teeth were very sensitive.  I had soup for dinner but could only drink the broth. 

Day 2 just the front teeth were sensitive when I brushed.  When I put lotion on my face I had to press lightly around my mouth. 

Day 4 I attempted Mexican food for dinner after living on protein shakes and apple sauce for the last few days.  I was able to eat the beans and rice fine.  I had to cut up my cheese enchilada in to tiny pieces and it hurt to chew but I was hungry!  No chips and salsa though which sucks because I love chips and salsa!




Day 5 the back 2 brackets on the bottom left came loose from the tooth while I was eating soup.  I got so stressed out over this and couldn’t even finish my soup at my favorite ramen place (Orochan Ramen).  I had been so careful eating and I thought I did something wrong.   

Days 6 and 7 I was back to eating apple sauce because I was afraid to knock more brackets off. 

Today, Day 8, I had my appointment to remove the rubber spaces and install the molar bands.  As the orthodontist was removing the rubber bands several of the brackets came off!  She then began pulling on the rest of them and they all came off so easily.  She said it was probably bad glue but I think she meant a bad glue job by the other girl who put them on last week.  I noticed this time they really held the light (that cures the cement) to each tooth for a good 30 seconds at a time.  It didn’t seem like they did it that long last week.   

After getting my new set she decided that I still didn’t have room for the molar bands and installed new, thicker rubber spacers (purple ones this time).  It still hurt but not as bad as last week.  I went with the purple rubber bands again.  I go back in 7 days to see if I’m ready for the molar bands.  Hopefully I won’t loose any brackets this time!
 
Thicker rubber spacers.
 

I had a surprise when I got home..  My boyfriend had braces put on while I was at work!  That was my Valentine's day gift; I don't have to go through 2 years of braces by myself.  In two years we're going to celebrate Valentine's Day by eating all the stuff we no longer can eat.

I actually think this is really cool.  Now I can include his experiences as well!  His treatment is going to be different than mine.  On the top they installed a spring on the wire to help the two teeth move a little faster so they can put a bracket on the tooth that's not in reach at the moment.      

He picked green bands, I still have purple.
When I compare my before picture to this weeks picture I can't see any difference yet.  I know it's only been a week but I want to start seeing movement! 

If you've ever had braces how long until you noticed a difference?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Day 1



Just call me Brace Face!  My braces have been installed. 



I was at the orthodontist for about an hour and a half lat night.  First I had a cleaning.  I’m not sure if they do this for everyone or just because it was time for my 6 month cleaning.

The next step was to place a cheek re-tractor in my mouth that held my cheeks and lips out of the way of my teeth.  I also had the spit sucker at the back of my mouth and I was biting it with my back teeth.

These things hold your cheeks and lips off of your teeth.


Next the orthodontist made sure my teeth were completely dry and an adhesive was applied to my teeth.  After that each bracket was placed one by one with bonding cement.  The excess cement was removed from around each bracket and a measuring device was used to make sure each bracket was in exactly the right spot on each tooth.  Next the cement was cured with a UV light.  16 seconds on each tooth. 

None of this hurt but my jaw was really sore from holding my mouth open for so long.  That whole process took about an hour.  Also my lips and tongue were so dry!

The next step was to install rubber spacers between my back teeth.  OMG!  This hurt.  As I said before my teeth are really, really tight.  These are needed because next week I’ll be getting molar bands installed around the 2nd to last molar on the top and bottom and the rubber spacers are creating room for that band.  According to my orthodontist these are better than installing a bracket on those teeth.  Brackets on the back molars are more likely to pop off due to chewing and the pressure needed to move the larger teeth. 

Those little blue spacers are evil!


Finally the spit sucker and check re-tractor were removed.  I was handed a tray filled with all different color bands.  It was a little overwhelming; there were so many colors!  I went with purple (my favorite color).  These bands are what hold the wire in place on the brackets.  They will get changed at each appointment (about once a month) so I’ll have plenty of time to try all the colors.

All the colors!
 

A very thin wire was threaded through the brackets and a purple band was placed around each one.  I think the thickness of the wire will increase gradually to help shift my teeth.  And then I was finally done!  I was handed a mirror and took my first look.

After I got home all I ate was apple sauce.  I wasn’t ready to try eating yet.  I wasn’t in any pain at all.  It just feels weird to talk and especially smile because my lips don’t slid across my teeth like they used to.  They get stuck.  Brushing my teeth felt normal too. 

This morning I could definitely feel pressure in my top and bottom teeth.  They are pretty sore and brushing my teeth made the pressure worse.  Only one bracket is bothering me.  The ones toward the back have this little pointy part that will be used to hook a rubber band to in order to connect it to a top tooth if needed.  That pointy part is poking me in the lip but I used a bit of dental was and that seems to have solved the problem.

All in all the process wasn’t bad.  I’m anxious to start seeing some movement.  Only 24 months until my new smile!  


                               

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

...Braces as an Adult



Every since I was little I’ve been told I needed braces.  It was something my parents just couldn’t afford. My teeth aren’t too terribly crooked but I do have bad crowding to the point that it’s hard to get dental floss between my teeth.  And this is even after having my wisdom teeth removed several years ago. 

When I bite down my back teeth don’t touch.  My two front teeth directly hit my two bottom teeth and this is starting to cause chipping.  Apparently the front two teeth should just come over the top of the two bottom teeth.

At my dentist appointment yesterday braces were once again brought up but this time I decided to take the plunge!  I’m getting braces!  As a 36 year old adult!  



I’ve decided to document my journey on my blog.  I’m not sure if you’re like me or not but I like to research everything and find out real life experiences and opinions from real people.  Hopefully my journey will help someone else make the decision to better their smile. 

I go in next Tuesday for installation.  (Is that the right word?)  I’ve opted for the standard metal brackets.  I made my decision completely on price (they were the cheapest option) but after doing a ton of research last night I feel I made the best choice.

The silver wire will still be visible and I read that the clear brackets can turn yellow over time and that they pop off more easily.  


Speaking of price…the total price from start to finish is $3,395.00.  My insurance will cover $1,500.00 of this leaving me to pay $1,895.00.  (This is only $95 more than I paid for my dental implant last year.  One stinkin’ (fake) tooth cost as much as 24 months of braces treatment!)  I’ve opted for a no-interest payment plan directly with my dental office.  I will pay $78.95 a month for the next 24 months.  $40 a check.  I can swing that…eat out less, don’t buy that new InknBurn top…When I break it down it’s not too bad.

I guess that’s about it for now.  I’m actually really excited for my appointment on Tuesday.  Is that weird?  I’m only a little bummed by the long list of food they gave to me that I need to avoid for the next 24 months.  I guess being forced to cut out sweets and junk food isn’t necessarily a bad thing.      

So many of my favorite things in this picture.
               

Have you ever had braces?  Was it when you were a kid or adult?  Any handy hints for me?
      

Monday, October 3, 2016

Interval Running

I ran my first half marathon (and first race of any kind) in 2010.  I definitely knew that I needed to train but I didn't know where to start. I ended up finding a 16 week training plan online that told me what days to run and how many miles to run on those days.  I went in to training not really knowing what I was doing. I would try to run as far and as fast as I could, for as long as I could, and then I would walk until my breathing slowed back down to normal and I would start to run again.  As the training miles got longer my walk breaks got longer. I was so tired by the end of each run and would never be able to keep running until the end. On race day I finished the half marathon but I ended up waking the last 3 miles and I was so sore and so tired for about a week afterwards. 


I completed several more half marathons in the same fashion until one day I decided I was going to give interval running a try. I had began to notice people around me during a race with their watches beeping, putting their hands in the air signaling that they're slowing down to walk. I went back to google and did a little research and decided that I was going to give the Galloway method a try. 


Jeff Galloway is an Olympian, author and creator of the Run Walk Run method. According to Jeff, the principles behind Run Walk Run are:

• Continuous use of a muscle will result in quicker fatigue

• The longer the run segment, the more fatigue

• Run Walk Run is a form of interval training

• Conservation of resources

• Quicker recovery

• Less stress on the “weak links”

• Ability to enjoy endorphins

• Reduce core body temperature


Walk breaks...

• Speed you up: an average of 7 minutes faster in a 13.1 mile race when non-stop runners

shift to the correct Run Walk Run ratio – and more than 13 minutes faster in the marathon

• Give you control over the way you feel during and after

• Erase fatigue

• Push back your wall of exhaustion or soreness

• Allow for endorphins to collect during each walk break

• Break up the distance into manageable units

• Speed recovery

• Reduce the chance of aches, pains and injury

• Allow older or heavier runners to recover fast, and feel as good as in the younger (slimmer) days

• Activate the frontal lobe – maintaining your control over attitude and motivation


It took me several training runs to find an interval that worked good for me. I've tried 2:1, 1:1, 30:30 but recently have settled into running 1 minute and walking 30 seconds. At first it seemed a little odd to take a walk break after only 1 minute of running but the Run Walk Run method works best if you follow it from the start. 


I recently ran my first marathon and by running my intervals and taking my walk breaks I was able to finish strong and keep running for the whole 26.2 miles with minimal soreness afterwards. I've seen my overall pace begin to improve as well. 


Overall, running intervals has made running more enjoyable for me. I'm gradually getting faster but never feel like I'm overdoing it or putting myself in a position to get injured.