When I last checked in for my continuing saga of getting braces at 37, I was learning how to survive the palate expander. I was starting to eat a little more normally and wasn’t in much pain. Of course, as soon as I got used to all of that, my top braces went on. And everything REALLY changed. I don’t like to admit some of the things below, but I have been getting such nice emails from people going through the same thing right now that I want to be honest about it all.
Getting the braces themselves was really easy. I think I was in and out in half an hour. Because I already had the metal bands on my back molars, all they had to do was apply the individual brackets, set the wire, and loop the elastics (I got a purple clear rather than going all color crazy). I didn’t even start feeling anything until the last 5 minutes when she was setting the wire onto my teeth with some kind of pliers and the rubber bands.
They told me to expect that the pain would get worse throughout the day and even worse the next morning. They also said it could be 5-7 days before it went away. They were right! I was miserable that first afternoon. I basically took a nap on the couch and watched Food Network, fantasizing about food I knew I couldn’t eat. The next day was painful but I tried to distract myself. I ate soup, ice cream, pudding, and basically the same stuff I have been eating for a month.
On Day 3 I did a 5 mile run and ate some pasta. I just cut everything up really small. At that point I started noticing that I wasn’t hurting constantly. I’m on Day 6 now and things are getting back to normal. I only take ibuprofen about once a day (mainly when I have to have the expander cranked). I still can’t bite anything with my front teeth or they feel like they will break. But the back teeth are fine and the front teeth no longer ache. But the pain is not the worst of it!
The last month I was a little embarrassed to talk because you could hear my lisp. But you couldn’t actually see that expander and the lisp was getting better. A major reason that I decided to get the braces was that I was tired of being so self-conscious of my smile. I feel like I shot myself in the foot because I have never felt more self-conscious in my life. I don’t want to see people and try to avoid smiling unless I really have to.
At this point, I am hoping that I will just get used to it and accept it. But it’s really hard. I’ve been practicing smiling so that you don’t see my bottom teeth because when the bottom braces go on it is going to be even worse. They can’t do the ceramic down there, so they will be metal and stand out more.
I don’t want to eat in public because I would be mortified if something got caught in the braces. At least working from home I can pretty much hide out. At least until I get used to all of it. At Zumba we do an LMFAO song where the words are “Sexy girl all around the world just shake your hips” and every single time they sang it last night I thought to myself “The least sexy thing on the planet is braces.” Clearly, I’m a little hung up on the whole thing.
For the next 4 weeks I will continue to crank my palate expander every other day so that hopefully when I get back I will be fully expanded. At that point, they will tighten the braces with a stronger wire that will put even more pressure on my teeth. I’m hoping that the bottom braces will not go on for a few months. Maybe even after our summer vacation? Of course, the sooner they go on, the sooner I will be done with it all.
Read more about my journey: