Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The silent treatment

Reached day 8 of my upper brace experience, and overall things have gone well! The initial tooth soreness faded very quickly, to the extent that I was able to go out to dinner the very next night. I did however manage to swallow one of the back brackets whilst scoffing a roast potato, but it wasn't attached to the archwire so not a big deal. Apart from figuring out what's good to eat with this thing on, life has returned to normal rather quickly. I can only hope the rest of my experience is as positive!

However I faced bigger issues at the weekend as I unveiled my brace to the family for the first time. Ma has been opposed to me going through with this from the start, and I managed to keep her from seeing my teeth all through Sunday lunch. When we were alone in the car later I decided it was time to fess up. I took a deep breath and said "There's something about me you havn't noticed". A pause. "Your brace is on?"she asked "I need to have a look at this" and pulled over to the side of the road to have a good look, asking a few questions about the cost, pain etc etc. I commented that my boss has said it looked rather dainty, she said nothing.

A little later we were looking through some photographs I had taken on my camera and came across the closeup shots i'd taken of my teeth the night before my brace went on. Encouraged by how things went in the car earlier, I started talking about how pleased I was to have started this process and how I was looking forward to the my new bite. But before I got any further she shook her head and snapped "No, I don't want to see these or talk about this!". Oh. We changed the subject and the atmosphere quickly returned to normal, but upstairs later on I did find myself getting really upset by her reaction. Refusing to discuss things like this is even worse than shouting as there's no possibility of putting my of the story, and it makes the journey i'm on so much more difficult emotionally. I'm just going to have to keep quiet about the whole subject until she's come to terms with it a bit more, this could be a long time knowing my mother...

Enough of the gloom and doom, now i've got used to the brace it's time I took it out to meet people. Sizzle is desperate to go for cocktails so she can have a good nose, and i'm sure that reactions will be forthcoming after a few beers. Countdown is also beginning for the bottom all metal brace on December 9th!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

First brace experiences

The brace is now on, and I can report that so far it's all good :)

Yesterday morning was pretty tense, I'd barely slept the night before because of the anxiety, so I headed out feeling exhausted as well as full of sudden doubt about what I was about to do. The appointment itself started in the usual whirl of cleaning, suction and scraping, but before I knew it they were lowering the mould and I got my first chance to feel what the brace was like - the only way I can describe it is like finding a couple of London buses suddenly parked up along my teeth, they felt so bulky! The archwire went on next and Dr H started to talk through all the cleaning and maintenence, but by this point all I wanted was a mirror! My first thoughts on seeing my reflection was' hmmmm not too bad!'

As I got to work the realisation that I'd actually gone through with it suddenly hit, and I sat shellshocked at my desk staring into space for the next few hours. Reactions though, were good. No one noticed the brace (or my slighly impared speech) and were impressed by how unimposing it was. My first lesson in how to eat also came along quickly as I took a bite into my usual afternoon biscuit and felt a stab of pain shoot up my front teeth - so that's why they told me to eat soft food.

I was convinced I wouldn't sleep the night with this new contraption glued to my teeth, and fussing around with little brushes and wax seemed to take an age, but when my head hit the pillow I was out like a light. This morning the brace is already feeling quite normal and despite careful eating habits i'm already beginning to forget it's there.

I had a meeting with my boss earlier on and asked her afterwards if she'd noticed the brace. She said she hadn't and commented that it looked 'rather dainty'. Now that I was not expecting! She made my day :)

Still, I have bigger challenges ahead. On Sunday I visit my mother who's just arrived back from a long holiday. She doesn't know I've been braced and was still hoping I'd change my mind about the whole thing before she left so she's NOT going to be happy. If i'm lucky all i'll get is a dismayed look with a 'well as long as you know what you're doing' type remark. If she freaks out however I won't hear the end of it all afternoon. Fingers crossed it's the former!

Monday, 17 November 2008

No Turning Back

Dr H will be fitting my upper brace tomorrow at 9.30am, and I will be irrevocably set on the path towards surgery and a new jawline. I'm VERY nervous. What if I hate it? What if I can't bear the sight of myself in the mirror and panic? I had always imagined (hoped) that my brace would look weirdly cool in an unconventional sort of way, but now i'm worried that it will just look wierd. Still, it's not enough to put me off going through with the whole thing, as every time I have these doubts I just take a good look in the mirror - I hate my jawline and teeth now so imagine how they'll look in 5, 10, even 2o years! A glance at my family tells me how much more prominent this chin becomes with age. By then it will be too late to take action, and i'll be stuck knowing I had the chance to make the change all those years ago but didn't take it. Cue lifelong regret and frustration. So however much I freak out, NOT doing this would be a far scarier choice.

The last few days have been interesting. I havn't been able to resist the urge to examine my teeth at every opportunity - in the toilets, passing shop windows, even in the mirrored lifts at work (which has been somewhat embarassing when people have walked in and i've not noticed). It's like i'm taking a last look at the old me before the transformation starts to take place. Is it true that as your appearance changes your whole person changes also? I can't see myself walking out of Dr H's office in 18/24 months time without being changed by the process, but what those changes will be i've no idea.

Despite thinking of almost nothing else recently I have actually managed to keep my big brace news from a few of my colleages. Tomorrow morning when I breeze in to work with a cheery 'Hi guys' I wonder who'll notice and what they'll say?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Ready or not...

Things are moving quickly! Had my final moulds taken yesterday morning and casually enquired when the brace would be ready, thinking it would be in December sometime. Dr H's response was 'oh, I think we'll pop on the top set on the 18th'. Hold on...that's only 12 days away. OMG panic, didn't realise it would be so soon! He'll put the lower set on three weeks later, and i'm rather pleased to be having a few weeks to get used it, hopefully it means i'll have adjusted to the feeling a bit more when the bottom set go on. Dr H also told me that he still hasn't decided how exactly he'll move the teeth, or whether he'll need to extract a front tooth or not. Watching him fiddle around with my casts however, as though struggling with a particularly troublesome rubix cube, makes me think it's inevitable.

Anyway, i'd now better get moving with my final preparations. I need some decent photos of my teeth and jaw as they are now, as well as stockpiling floss, interdental brushes, paracetamol and all the other dental paraphernalia that seems to go with brace wearing. Also planning to celebrate the start of this journey with a final blowout of stringy, sticky brace-hating foods next weekend. I'm definitely going to include melted cheeses on crusty bread and caramel cake on the menu. Apparently red wine and curry are also out as they have a tendancy to stain ceramic brackets. Better get stuck to those while I can :)