Ahh, braces. That fun time in so many pre-teen’s lives. Or in my case, as a 30-something. Yep, I’m getting braces as an adult. Most people look at my teeth and say, why? You have great teeth! That is true, visually, my teeth are pretty good, but my bite was an issue.
Why I’m getting adult braces
I was one of those lucky kids that didn’t have braces. My mother dutifully took me to the orthodontist when I was in 6th grade and we were informed that I didn’t need them. Sure, there were a few things that could be fixed, but nothing that HAD to be fixed. I’m pretty sure my mom skipped out of the office (me too, lets be honest!).
Fast forward a few (ahem) years. My teeth are still looking good. But I was really good at clenching my teeth at night. This isn’t super common. Most people grind their teeth at night or clench during the day. Lucky me, I combined the two. So i didn’t grind my teeth down, but I put a lot of pressure on them every night. My dentist and I discussed a mouthguard to wear at night, but I never followed through because my clenching would go in phases. Plus going to the chiropractor regularly was helping too.
But then I was sitting eating supper one night (a flatbread chicken chipotle pizza, delish!) and I felt something hard in my mouth as I was chewing. I thought it was odd considering what I was eating. After a few more seconds, I realized it was part of a tooth. Yep, I had broken off part of a tooth. I’ve got some big fillings in my molars and my dentist had said we would likely have to replace/put crowns on those teeth in the future. But surprise! It was happening right then. An emergency crown appointment later, and I’ve got a full tooth again. I went on my merry way with my crown figuring I was set.
As I got used to the new crown, my bite felt off. I didn’t think much of it as nearly every time I’ve gotten a filling it takes a few days to get used to the new bite. But I continued to feel off and started getting a lot of pain on the other side of my mouth and jaw. I tried getting an chiropractic adjustment but I was still in pain.Off to the dentist I went to get it checked out.
We tried to file down my teeth a bit in the hopes that it would help with where my teeth were hitting (pretty much only the back molars on one side). All the pressure was just one a few teeth, causing a lot of pain. I let that adjustment settle in and it just wasn’t helping. Then, we decided to finally get that mouthguard in the hopes of taking the pressure off my back teeth at night. Thankfully, it helped. I wasn’t in constant pain anymore. However, after about a month, I still had quite a bit of sensitivity on the one tooth that had taken the brunt of all this. My dentist gave me 2 options. We could put a crown on to see if that would adjust my bite. And that was a big maybe. It might not help at all. Or I could go see an orthodontist. I had enough other issues with my bite, I decided to just go and get a consult with the orthodontist.
I did a little research before my appointment and honestly hoped I could do Invisalign. But those hopes were crushed pretty quickly by the orthodontist. With a list of things to fix that was about a half-page long typed, he said he needed the fine tuning of actual adult braces to get the results we wanted. I was given the option of ceramic braces (or clear braces) since I’m an adult (yay!) or regular metal braces. I decided to go with ceramic adult braces in the hopes that they wouldn’t be quite as conspicuous (and so I didn’t feel like an awkward teenager). So while I have absolutely no desire to have braces as an adult, I am going to do the adult thing and get them to make sure that my smile (and teeth!) are in the best shape I can make them for years to come.
So here I sit at the beginning of an approximately 18 month journey with ceramic adult braces. I’ll continue to post updates on how the process is going and how I’m handling adult braces. If you have any specific questions, please let me know and I will be sure to answer if I can in upcoming posts.