Saturday, September 21, 2013

Yes, I got braces.

"You did what?"  "Good for you!"  "Huh?"

These are but some of the responses from patients this week when they saw that I now have braces.  Yes, you read that right.  I have brackets and wires in my mouth.

Yes, I really do have braces.
So, why did I do it?  Well, it was time for me to take care of myself.  My teeth are relatively straight.  They are slightly crooked due to them moving over time, and if I was interested in just having them look straight I could have done invisible braces; or even veneers.

However, I have been getting food trapped in between my teeth along my gums for awhile, and the contacts between my teeth (the thing that causes the "snap" of the floss when you put it between your teeth) was very light or not there at all between many of my teeth.  When you floss you want to hear a definitive "snap" of the floss.  It means your teeth are touching each other well, and you are much less likely to have problems with food getting trapped in between your teeth.  Besides being a constant irritation, if you continually get food trapped in between your teeth, it can cause cavities, problems with your gums, and ultimately bone loss around your teeth.

So, I went to the orthodontist for a consultation.  The best way to treat my concerns was traditional braces; not invisible braces. He expects my problems to be corrected in 4-6 months.  The braces are going to straighten the teeth, and also tighten the contacts (that "snap") between the teeth.  If necessary, he will "slenderize" or "slim-down" some teeth on the sides to make my teeth have a longer, or more broad, contact.  This is a routine procedure in which a disc or strip is taken to the outside edge of a tooth to "shave" it down a little bit.  I like to describe this procedure as if you have a broken finger nail & you take an emery board to smooth it down.  It does not cause sensitivity, and it does not hurt.  It simply removes a tiny amount of enamel to allow the teeth to touch better.

I am, obviously, happy with my decision to go ahead and get braces.  Long-term it will improve my health, and short-term I hope to lose some weight since eating is a little more cumbersome.

So, if you have had similar problems (crooked teeth, food getting caught) with your teeth, come to the office and we can have a discussion about what options are best for you. It may be traditional braces, it may be invisible braces, it may be something else.