Wednesday, March 13, 2013

811 Days of Adult Braces

Sometimes I actually forget about my braces. For the most part they don't hurt or affect me much anymore (apart from the labour intensive cleaning regiment) so it's easy to forget they are there for a few hours at a time. A quick reflection in an elevator mirror or storefront window however, and I am instantly reminded of how desperately I want to have them removed from my teeth and my life.

It's been 2 years, 2 months and 20 days since I had braces affixed to my upper teeth and a mere 1 year, 9 months and 26 days for the bottom teeth. I was told during the initial assessment that it would take approximately 2 to 2 1/2 years for treatment. I took that statement very literal, hoping that the two year mark would automatically trigger a conversation with the orthodontist about plans for removal. That never happened. In fact, when I asked about removal I was met with chiding for even asking the question, not to mention mild mockery for questioning the orthodontic process. Why is it so bad to ask these questions? As it is, I already feel a little duped because I was told that I would have clear (i.e. ceramic) braces. They were indeed ceramic but far from invisible; they never mentioned that the wire being used would be very thick and dark. To make matters worse the c-chain I have worn for almost the full 2 years covers over the entire top row of brackets; it may start out clear or light grey but always ends up greenish brown by the end of a 8-9 week cycle. It's as attractive as it sounds, trust me.

Another aspect that took me by surprise was the condition of my teeth once they were finally moved into the correct position. I imagine that when young children have braces and all their teeth rotate and align, their relatively evenly worn teeth form a nice horizontal line. In my case (having braces at the ripe old age of 35), when my teeth finally rotated I was shocked to discover that the edges of my teeth wore down unevenly based on how they were angled all this time. Makes sense of course, but it didn't dawn on me and I wasn't exactly warned. So....I do not have a nice horizontal line of teeth, more of a jagged fang-like appearance. The orthodontist told me after I already had braces that I will need filing and ceramic refinishing to refine the edges of my teeth. Again, something I wish I knew beforehand.

When people ask me when I am getting the braces off, I often feel dejected. When I explain that I don't know and that it should be within the 2-21/2 year window, I am often met with "that's a really long time, it wasn't as long for so and so..." and "How can you not know when?". It seems the only people that get it are former brace-faces. They all seem quite familiar with the evasive techniques of orthodontists, not to mention how quickly 2 years starts to look more like 3 or 4. I have another adjustment appointment next week and I am bracing myself (har har) for disappointment. They are obviously fed up with me asking for a status update and I am fed up with finding out they need to make yet another bracket adjustment. I hope that this next appointment will contain more positive developments but if not, I'm going to passive aggressively punish my orthodontist by eating tuna before my next appointment.

Check out the jagged edge of my upper front tooth.

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