Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!

As time goes by these braces are getting easier, but I won't lie! Things were pretty rough (no pun intended) on the tongue side of things, for about 10 days. What I have to say here will help any patient of any age, with braces (tongue side or cheek side), or any orthodontic appliance in the roof of the mouth. This could be a longer read, so get your snack.

The Good

Still smiling after 3 days (middle, purple with hood on) Align Team Diabetes Walk

Food Consumption...

Eating has been fairly simple. Keeping bites small and chewing slow will open up the food eating possibilities, but to start I stocked up on some essentials prior to my big braces placement day. Soups, yogurt and apple sauce!
Snacks are yogurt with small cut up pieces of fruit; strawberries, bananas or other fruit bits. Since I miss my fresh veggies, as my teeth are sort of achy, I have par steamed carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. I have then stuck them in a baggie in the fridge for some softer, sort of "fresh veggies" with hummus or dip. Lunch with crackers/bread and soup is the norm. Supper is easy with pasta, rice or potatoes, cooked veggies and smaller bits of chicken, fish or ground meat with sauces. The problem??? All food (breads are the worst) get stuck in my braces, which causes my tongue to go digging for leftovers. This causes my tongue to develop mini canker sores. I wish my tongue wouldn't have a mind of it's own and just leave the food alone! The trick...Brush and remove food debris quickly,small bites and chewing slow. Eating this way has certainly helped the way my clothes fit : )


Placing some silicone wax
Wax is my friend! Wax pack in my pocket, purse, wallet, cell phone case, car glove box... Lips, cheeks and tongue have all taken a pinch with the new metal. Rolling up ropes of wax and pushing them into the brackets, catching my tongue are a relief. Mouth full, but relief. 
I've been training new employees at Align Orthodontics over the last month, so lots of talking. This has helped to build up the tissue on my tongue. This also means lots of wax!

Cool Oral Hygiene tools

Water Blaster...

There are a few products on the market that help with keeping the tin grin shiny and the gums healthy! I love my water blaster! I blast out all the food and give a thorough brushing with my electric tooth brush and my air floss. I also carry a proxa brush and soft-picks that Dr. Duncan gave me. I keep this in my pocket for a quick food remover between the brackets when on the go. Tools are important, so make sure that you plan to pick some up. Be sure to speak with your orthodontist first about their recommended Oral Hygiene products to suit your needs.

The Bad

The Rainbow Speech...

Silicon Wax Pack...Take them everywhere!
As I said in a previous post, "tripping over my tongue" is no fun and now I have a slur. As you read this, imagine stumbling over your D's, S's and Th sounds and n's putting the squeeze on your tongue. To help with this, we have a pamphlet with the Rainbow Speech in it. This is to help you practice speaking with the new appliances in your mouth. Sometimes it's just as easy to watch TV with the subtitle or closed captioned feature turned on and read along out loud. As weird as it sounds, trust me, it's better to practice and spit all over your knees than on someone else while your getting used to your tongue tripping all over. This fixes with time as your tongue gets used to it's crammed living space. This would be the same for any person with an appliance in the roof of the mouth as well.

Did I mention Food...

Getting food stuck in your braces is a big nuisance! In The Good, I mention about smaller food pieces and all the cool tools for caring for braces, but that aside, food stuck is yuk and hurts the tongue!

Bite Pads...

Did I tell you that I have blocks of metal glued to the chewing surface of my molars? That means that my front teeth don't touch because these bite pads hold my bite open. This is so that when I chew or close my mouth, my bottom teeth don't knock the brackets off my top teeth. Only the 2 metal pads in the back of my mouth touch to chew and grind food on. So, no sandwiches for me...I'd leave my salami in the sandwich and just bite thru the bread. Eating Pizza, I can't bite thru the crust! Mostly I either cut up or tear food with my hands and tuck to the back of my mouth. This has made it a slow eating process for me while my tongue pushes and moves my food to these two dime sized areas to chew all my food on. Remember I picked up soup, yogurt and apple sauce? Now you know why.

The Ugly

Tongue Chasing...

Between trying to pronounce my words in a new way, pushing and chasing food around in my mouth and my tongue having a mind of its own...determined to remove the food stuck in my braces, MY TONGUE HAS TAKEN A BEATING! Wax was a permanent fixture in and around every bracket for 10 days. I can spell R-E-L-I-E-F! . Not sure about the nutrition value, but yes I did swallow some unintentionally without an issue for my digestive system. The second best thing...Baby teething numbing gel. Pick some up! Whether for cheeks, lips or tongues, it provides instant relief. To help the overall healing process, good ol' fashioned salt water: 1 tbsp salt to 1 cup warm tap water. Stir to dissolve, sip, swish, spit, repeat! Worked for me!

Need Some Pain Control...

I did take some over the counter anti inflammatory pain medication, suggested by Dr. Duncan. This helped with my aching teeth from the pressure and movement of the braces. I would lay awake in bed and feel the throbbing at the end of the day. This did not stop me from my regular activities. It just reminded me that my teeth are still there! However, by staying on top of the pain (taking some pain control for the first 48 hours every 8 to 10 hours) really helped. Since that first 48 hours I have been sore, but no further need for pain control.  Again, another reason for chewing small bites and slow.

Food Consumption...

One more thing! No popcorn at the movies (boo hoo) It's just not worth the clean up!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

And So the Adventure Begins

Pre braces. Samples of what my teeth will look like, in my hand

Incognito it is! To get started specialized impressions are taken (what a mouth full) and sent to the US. It's so cool. Incognito will make customized braces that will fit only my teeth and no-one else. And, I get bling in my mouth. These braces are 24K gold! It takes 6 to 8 weeks for the lab to fabricate these little charms with the wires that will straighten my teeth.

The Braces have arrived, the braces have arrived! Ashley, Dr. Duncan's treatment coordinator books the big day. 2 weeks to wait? I am so excited. Let me know if there is a cancellation. I want to get this started...yesterday.

Prepping the area for bonding the braces in place

Finally the day arrives, June 7th, 2012. I can't believe it has taken 8 months to get to this point. So, off to the clinic I go to spend 90 minutes in a dental chair. The outcome? Braces on the inside of my teeth. BTW, the prep work and time to place the braces is the same, whether braces are placed behind the teeth or on the front of teeth. Plan for 2 hours.

Incognito braces in place

What did I get myself into? 
My mouth feels so full. Oh, excuse me...did I spit on you?  My tongue is tripping all over my mouth and my braces.  I guess I have always wanted to speak a foreign language. Traveling, but not even leaving the city! This feels like a big adventure that I am about to embark on.  

This will certainly take some getting used to.

Feel free to leave comments or ask questions about orthodontics and braces treatment.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

In or Out?

So, I decided that...I'm in! 
I'm going to explore Incognito, Hidden Braces. I booked my exam with one of the great doctors at Align. At the exam, the dental assistant took photos of my smiling face and my teeth and a few x-rays as well. Dr. Duncan discussed all the options, and I was a candidate for Invisalign, regular braces or Incognito.

However, I had a few issues. I guess this is common for adults. I had been in an car accident in my early 20's. My front tooth had broken off and had been crowned. I now needed a root canal on my crowned tooth before any treatment could be considered. She suggested that I see a root canal specialist and then a crown and bridge specialist.Oh, and to boot, I also have shorter roots on my front teeth. This means, if I do get orthodontics again, she will need frequent x-rays to watch that my roots don't get any shorter.
$$$, so...I'm out!

But, after thinking long and hard, I thought that I would at least hear what these specialists have to say. After all, it is my front tooth, and I would hate to lose it. So I'm in!

12 weeks later...I have had my root canal. Positive experience. Healing well. Another 6 weeks of waiting for the appointment with the crown and bridge specialist.
The verdict. I may need more crowns than just on the root canal tooth. My current crown is wearing away my lower front teeth. He wants to crown my lower front teeth too.Arrg, I am sooooo out...the door is hitting me on the way out!

Time for a heart to heart chat with Dr. Duncan. She explains that orthodontic treatment is perfect for me. The braces will move my front teeth out of the way and prevent any further wearing. Plus, I won't need to have any additional crowns, plus I'll get my wish to have straight teeth again, plus if I go with Incognito, no one will know I am wearing braces...I'm TOTALLY in!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Wishing...For Straight Teeth!

Working in the Dental field for the last 20 years, the last 10 years at Align Orthodontics in  Edmonton and Sherwood Park, you really spend a lot of time looking at smiles! Having had braces when I was 14 (for the first time), it totally changed my life. I had "Bucky the Beaver" teeth all through junior high. At that time, retainers were only worn for a year. Well, at least they were for me. 

My vision of Bucky, the Align employee  

In the last 5 -8 years, I have had visions of "Bucky" coming back to haunt me...my teeth have started to shift. I did not know if I wanted to go through the whole braces thing again. 

One day, at our Align staff development day, we were shown the latest in braces treatment. OMG! Braces behind the teeth!!! Invisible braces in Edmonton? Not Hollywood? No one will ever see them? Now this...interests me. Our discussions carried on introducing us to Incognito, Hidden Braces. All I could think about is my wish for straight teeth could once again be a reality.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Braces, Braces Everywhere!

So perhaps you have been considering braces for awhile. Maybe your friends have them, maybe your dentist suggested you have them, maybe your parents want you to have them...or maybe you just never had the opportunity to have them before.
They are truly everywhere! So many people have them, and at every age. But where do you start? How do you know that you should even consider braces over cosmetic dentistry?
Well hopefully this blog will help you with your thoughts, decisions and considerations. Be sure to also refer to our website, www.alignortho.com, for full details about Reasons for Orthodontics, Kids and Adult treatment, types of treatment and the assortment of ways to straighten teeth, all with a budgeted commitment that works for you.
Thanks for looking into Align Orthodontics. We hope you can...imagine the possibilities