Random Thoughts on Thursday: all about teeth

Teeth. Funny little things, without which we would struggle to do a lot of things. It’s all about teeth here this week…

~ Porter-the-kitten lost a fang the other day. Do you know how I know? Because I found it on my kitchen bench. If I was typing this on my phone, this is where I’d insert the wide-eyed “what the…?” emoji. On the bench. Ew.

~ it’s apparently unusual, but a six-year-old can teeth. Tiny has his adult molars coming through, and he’s like a baby, shoving his fingers in his mouth as frequently as he can. The dentist we saw yesterday has told him he shouldn’t, and I’m hoping her words will stick where mine haven’t.

~ Pickle has over-crowded teeth, and hypomineralisation, which combine to give him extra-sensitive, extra-vulnerable little chompers. Add in the fact that he loves sweet things and is a reluctant tooth-brusher, and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily, his wee mouth is clear so far, but we need to be extra-vigilant from now on. Try telling that to the nearly-four-year-old who wants to be Mr Independent!

~ it’s been over six months since my braces came off, but sometimes I still feel like they’re there. Phantom braces?? Is that a thing??

~ kids all around us are losing their baby teeth but Tiny’s are holding fast. I’m quietly loudly glad about this, as wiggly teeth give me the heebie-jeebies. I’m sure my own didn’t bother me as a kid, but now…the sight of a near-vertical tooth makes me want to vomit. Husband will be dealing with the wigglers, that’s for certain.

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Adult Braces: the final chapter

My teeth were freed from their bracketed prison exactly two months ago. I love my “new” teeth. I don’t do it so much now, but for a long while I did a double-take every time I brushed them because I was convinced that they weren’t actually my teeth.

IMG_2655 They felt weird – long and slimy – and loose; for almost 19 months, there’d been so much pressure in my mouth from the brackets, wires and rubber bands, and suddenly, it was just my teeth and two permanent wire retainers.

2 Lake Tekapo (13)

I lisped for around two weeks, which made me giggle; my tongue would catch on the top retainer wire. It took me a while to trust that I could eat properly again. Straight after getting the braces removed, I walked along to see my husband at work, then bought two new lipsticks. I never used to wear lipstick because I didn’t want to draw attention to my ugly teeth; now, I wear it every chance I get because I want my teeth to stand out. I paid for these babies, and I’m going to show them off.

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At night, I wear a tight plastic retainer on both sets of teeth. They’re like a mouthguard, only much thinner and lighter. They make me gag, but once I’m asleep, I don’t notice them. I’ve stopped worrying that the teeth have moved, but instinctively still flick my tongue over the surfaces to check for food stuck in the braces. Some habits are hard to break.

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A good friend commented recently about a photo she’d seen of me on social media: “Your smile was huge!” I don’t feel embarrassed about my smile anymore, and for that reason alone, I’d say that the total cost was money very well spent.

2015: The Year of New Adventures

As Christmas and the end of the year approach, I find myself looking back in wonder at every new adventure my family has had this year. It’s been a big one, and to say we’re tired is an understatement. However, it’s a pleasant tiredness, the way you feel after a full day spent in the garden; we’re weary, but we can see how far we’ve come, and it’s satisfying.

Active Mums Kids

One of the biggest changes around here would have to be Tiny turning five and starting school. After a rough first day, my biggest his found his rhythm and absolutely loves school. He started the year not being interested in writing or reading, and is now often found with his head in a chapter book, reading quietly to himself. He’s made some lovely wee friends and likes to come home and share what he’s learned with his little brother which is so sweet to see.

Reading at 5 Pickle also had a big year, finally starting kindergarten. He would go every day if he could, but has just three sessions a week; his friendships have been developing over the year and while he’s not as talkative as his big brother, he’s very good at articulating his ideas and games to others.

Kindy Kids

Both boys are currently Avengers-obsessed, and Pickle has joined his brother in thinking Lego is the best toy ever. They play together so beautifully, and Tall and I often remark how we feel a bit redundant because they don’t need or want us to play with them anymore!

Pickle and AvengersBoys playing

Pickle and I had the pleasure of attending very good friends’ wedding in Fiji, which was amaaaaaazing, and as a family we embarked on a tiki tour from Dunedin to Taranaki and back again in the last school holidays. Tall’s sister welcomed a gorgeous baby boy into the world, I got to get my rock on at Rod Stewart and Fleetwood Mac concerts, and my braces finally came off.

Fleetwood Mac Dunedin

I’m sure there’s been many more highlights, and there has been some sadness, but mostly, 2015 has been a good year, and I’m looking forward to more fun times in 2016.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas, surrounded by people you love, and a marvellous start to 2016 xxxxxxxxx

 

Adult Braces: 17 months in

When I scattered carrot seeds into the vegetable garden recently, one of my first thoughts was about how much I loved pulling carrots straight from the garden, rinsing them with the garden hose and munching them on the spot. Then I remembered that braces wearers aren’t supposed to bite straight into those crunchy orange morsels, for fear of bending a wire or breaking a bracket. The joy of planting those seeds was slightly dampened, but I consoled myself with the fact that at least my boys could enjoy the experience, even if I couldn’t.

A week later, I had a routine appointment at the orthodontist. “How do you like your teeth?” she asked. “Is there anything you’re not happy with?”

“Are you kidding??” I grinned. “I love them! They’re so much better than when I first came to see you!”

Lake TekapoEmily laughed, in a I-should-hope-so kinda way; as she bent the upper wire and re-fitted it, she told me we’d be making the next two appointments at this visit.

“Oh, okay,” I replied, thinking she was just being extremely efficient because we’re approaching Christmas and holiday season. I was slightly disappointed; she’d mentioned aiming for having the braces off before Christmas.

“Yes,” she said. “One in seven weeks, then one the week after so we can take your braces off.”

I was speechless – stunned – momentarily, but as a big smile spread across my face, I found my voice. “Really?? That’s so great!”

Friday 20th November is D-Day for unveiling my new-and-improved choppers. To say I’m excited is an understatement – even though I hardly notice them anymore, knowing my time wearing braces is almost finished is such a relief. It’ll be weird, and I know I’ll ulcerate my tongue by playing with the permanent retainers I’ll be fitted with, and I’ll probably think my beautifully-straight teeth are hideously stained, but not having to think about rubber bands or worry about food getting stuck in the wires is going to be amazing.

Smiling is going to get a whole lot more fun, too.

Adult Braces: a 12-month update

Adult Braces: 12mths inWaiting for Rod Stewart with one of my best girls (with gorgeous teeth) xx

It’s been over a year since I had my braces fitted. Apart from a slight ache every now and then, I usually forget that I’m wearing them. Hooking in a couple of tiny rubber bands is second nature, and I think I’ve moved past my intense desire to bite into a crisp, juicy apple. I still wish I could gnaw on a big hunk of raw carrot, but I think I may have been cured of my child-like piggyness regarding chewy jelly sweets. I’m still hesitant to give a big toothy smile in some situations, and always rush to a mirror after eating, but generally, life goes on as normal.

The movement of my teeth has been gradual but quite phenomenal to experience. My bite has changed drastically, and the roof of my mouth has opened up. My palate has always been incredibly narrow, but Tall was surprised when I excitedly told him about my measuring tool: chocolate Lindt balls.

12 months ago, a chocolate Lindt ball (approximately 25mm in diameter) would get stuck in the roof of my mouth and I would dribble like a teething baby wait elegantly for it to melt before being able to move it around. Now, there is a little room to move (still not huge; my jaw is apparently very childlike, just like my feet), which is quite exciting.

At my last orthodontist appointment, my lovely orthodontist said she had six months in which to “tweak” things, which means I might be metal-free September-ish. I’m willing to wear them as long as it takes to perfect my smile, but if she’s right….well, September will see me buying as many apples, carrots, stalks of celery and cobs of corn as I can carry.

Adult Braces: a 9-month update

I’ve been wearing my braces for just over nine months now, and I’m potentially at the half way mark. I say “potentially” because I haven’t broached the subject of removal with my orthodontist yet; she indicated I’d be wearing them for 18-24 months, so I’m just hoping it’s the lesser length.

Adult Braces - 9 month progressTop: Day One. Bottom: Day 286

I don’t really notice them anymore, except on days when I have the wires tightened. For the last three months I’ve been wearing rubber bands to alter my bite, and they can be a bit annoying, but they are necessary, so I just roll with it.

There are things I do miss though. I miss eating carrot sticks and celery, and I’m over slicing the kernels off fresh cobs of corn. I can’t wait to gnaw at a pork rib or chicken drumstick (sorry, vegetarian friends), and even though I don’t really like apples, I salivate at the idea of taking a big bite out of one of those crunchy suckers.Cutting toast and sandwiches into quarters or eighths has become habit, but I’d really like to chomp down on a crusty, chewy bread roll once in a while.

The thing I don’t miss is my crooked smile. Despite having little bits of metal decorating my mouth, I don’t hesitate to smile widely whenever the mood takes me, and when I cover my mouth when I eat, it’s now because I’m checking for bits of lettuce stuck in the brackets, not because I’m ashamed of my teeth.

Just Call Me Brace Face

Last Monday, I had braces fitted onto my upper and lower teeth.

That’s right, let it out….call me “Brace Face”, “Metal Mouth”, or “Train Tracks”…

Feel better? Right, let’s move on, shall we? To the FAQ I’ve been answering for the past seven days:

But there was nothing wrong with your teeth!….Was there??
Yes, there was. It may not have been obvious to other people, but to me, my crowded teeth were my biggest flaw. For most of my adult life, I’ve hated them. I remember my first few dinner dates with Tall: I ate with a hand nonchalantly covering my mouth. When the photographer was happily snapping away at our wedding, I was silently wishing she was standing at a different angle: there are a number of photos that I think are gorgeous but won’t display, because of my teeth. I first decided to get the braces purely for cosmetic reasons, but it transpires I have an overbite and my teeth don’t meet where they should, so the decision has actually been a very good one. A very good friend also had braces fitted a few months ago, and I asked this exact question of her – I thought she had lovely teeth. Then, when I told her I was getting them, she said the same thing to me…what we see as a flaw in ourselves might not be seen at all by others.

WeddingWhy did you wait until now to get them?
I actually had braces on my bottom teeth when I was about 15 years old, but when the retainer broke off a month or so after they’d come off, my idiotic dentist took it upon himself to remove it entirely, telling me I’d be fine without it (same idiotic dentist also removed one tooth and used insufficient anaesthetic, meaning I break out in a cold sweat thinking about that experience even now). Then my wisdom teeth came through, and it turns out they are functional (ie: no impaction or issues)…which is all well-and-good, except I have an extremely narrow palate and a child-like jaw. Too many teeth + not enough space = crowdy-crowdy; then both pregnancies saw them move about too…oh joy. So now that we’re finished having babies, the time seemed right, and I’m looking forward to finally having a smile to be proud of.

How long do you have to wear them for?
18-20 months, or until I’m happy with the results. It sounds like a long time, but I’m looking at it from an age-of-my-Pickle point of view, and that time has gone FAST.

Do they hurt??
Yes, they do, but as a good friend said: “No pain, no gain, right?” They were easy and pain-free to get put on, but a few hours later, the pressure became quite intense. That dull, constant ache lasted for about four days, and painkillers at bedtime solved the problem. My biggest issue has been catching my lower lip on the brackets during the night, resulting in a bit of tearing, but wax on the brackets does the trick. No pain, no gain. No pain, no gain.

Aren’t they really expensive?
They ain’t cheap, but I think the cost is worth it in the end. Plus the orthodontist I chose offers a monthly payment plan (with no extra charges) over the course of treatment, which makes it more affordable.

For the past week, my little men have delighted in calling me Mama Train Tracks, running their little fingers gently across my teeth. It’s endearing, and I’m not offended by it at all, and while I’m a little self-conscious when I first see someone, their reassurances that they’re hardly noticeable soon make me forget they’re even there.

Except I still can’t eat properly. Urgh.