Note: There are some graphic pictures of my teeth later on, so consider yourself warned if you don't like the insides of mouths!
When I was in grade 6 I was playing a game with my friends and I ran out in the street to get a ball. On the way back I wasn't looking and I got hit by a minivan. I blacked out, but when I woke up I was on the ground off the street in pushup position. My mouth was gushing blood because one of my front teeth had come out.
My mom and I made an emergency trip to the dentist with my tooth in a baggie full of milk. The dentist put my tooth back in and put a special glue on it so that it would stay in place while the gums grabbed back on to it. I later had a root canal, which isn't painful at all when the tooth is already dead. Remarkably, and to my dentist's surprise, the tooth stayed in indefinitely. He'd thought it would be 10-15 years and then it would fall out.
Fast forward to when I was 28. I was really self-conscious about my teeth because I thought that they made me look bad. And I never smiled with my teeth showing. To this day I'm still not very good smiling with my teeth showing, but I practice whenever my picture's being taken!
I got an orthodontist recommendation from my dentist to see what could be done. Dr. Vaysman from Upper East Side Orthodontist did a consultation and decided that we should try putting braces on my top teeth and see if anything happened after a month or two. There was the possibility that the bone from the tooth had fused to my head. It was clear pretty quickly that the tooth was moving, so we put braces on my bottom teeth too (after all, if you're getting braces you might as well do everything!).
Here are some things you should know about braces:
- They will cut your mouth up until it calluses. Don't be stingy with the orthodontic wax you're given. Also, it seems to be impossible to buy flavourless orthodontic wax. I just got extra from Dr. Vaysman.
- They're nearly impossible to clean. I was seeing my dentist quarterly while I had braces and she kept telling me I needed to do more to clean my teeth. By the end I was using a Waterpik to get out big chunks of food, floss to get in between my teeth (as much as I could), a Sonicare tooth brush that my dentist recommended, and then a fluoride mouthwash.
- Having an adjustment done, early on, was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. It took a lot of will power not to scream out or try to run away. I just kept reminding myself that they do this all the time, and I've never heard of someone's teeth being ripped out by an orthodontist. Closer to the end the adjustments became smaller so it hurt less.
- You have to adjust your eating habits. I got more loose with this as time went on, but I never had corn on the cob or a bagel (or anything gooey treats) while I had braces. Early on I was worried I'd have to give up pizza, but that turned out to be OK.
When the process was done I was totally shocked to see the before and after. Dr. Vaysman was a miracle worker. I really didn't think it was possible for my teeth to look as good as they do now. Here are the before and after picture so you can judge for yourself: