Tomorrow marks four months of braces. When I wrote my initial post about braces after month 1, I said that I would put together at least a few more posts about this process. I’m not going to share monthly updates, details about exactly what I’m getting fixed, or lots of before/after photos. But I am putting together periodic updates, talking about what this process is really like as an adult.
I shared more about why I need braces and why I decided to get braces at this point in my life in my initial post. The short of it is that I’ve put off getting braces since HS. I finally took the plunge because I need a night guard and can’t imagine wearing one with the way my teeth fit together right now. At this point in my life, time, budget, and general life circumstances (i.e. not planning to move in the foreseeable future) allow for braces, so I went for it.
The last couple of adjustments have been much less painful than the first few adjustments.
The first adjustment I had after getting my braces on was rough because I’d had a couple of teeth pulled (to make more room for my top teeth) two weeks before the adjustment. I was just getting to a point where eating was getting better, and my teeth didn’t hurt all the time, and then I was back to square one again.
The last couple of adjustments have been better. The timing has also worked out well, which has been nice. I had an adjustment about two weeks before the cruise, and then I had an adjustment a few days after we got back. Both of these adjustments set me back temporarily about a day, which is a significant improvement. Now I’m set until early August, so I won’t have to deal with an adjustment while we have friends in town.
I can eat most foods now, as long as I cut them into small pieces.
With a few exceptions, I’m able to eat most foods now, as long as I cut them up into small pieces. There have been a few times that I haven’t had time/proper silverware to cut up my food, namely eating sandwiches while on vacation. So I would just tear it up with my hands, which isn’t ideal. But it would allow me to eat the food that was readily available without killing my teeth.
Generally, I am able to cut up my food. So I am, even when it looks ridiculous, like when I’m eating tacos, or when it looks like I’m being super cautious while feeding a toddler, like when I’m eating steak. But it’s exciting to be able to eat a wider range of food again.
I’m still steering clear of raw carrots and celery, any other raw fruits and vegetables that aren’t cut up small (i.e. apple slices are okay, but biting into a whole apple isn’t okay) whole nuts (small pieces on a salad are okay), corn on the cob, pretzels, cereal, granola, granola bars, kettle chips, tortilla chips, and anything sticky (i.e. caramels, hard candy, dried fruit). I think that popcorn would be okay, as long as it’s not caramel corn, but I haven’t attempted it yet.
I haven’t been as thirsty, but I think it’s because I’m drinking more water now that it’s summer.
In my initial braces post, I mentioned that having braces has made me thirstier than usual. I’ve never read or heard anything about thirst as a side effect, but it’s been real for me. The past month or so, it’s been better. I do drink more water in warmer weather, which is helping. I think partly it’s just an adjustment process, too.
I’m still missing flossing and am generally paranoid about the well-being of my teeth.
Flossing has played a huge role for me in staying cavity-free for the past decade. I’m doing my best to brush more often than usual (at least one more brushing per day and whenever possible, after meals) and clean in between my teeth as needed. But I’m still paranoid that I’m going to finish my stint with braces and have cavities. I have an appointment with my dentist for my regular semi-annual cleaning in a week and am curious to get their opinion on how my teeth are doing thus far.
I’m seeing real progress, which is extremely encouraging.
I was able to see real progress after just a month, which was encouraging, especially during the early days with a lot of pain and difficulty eating. Now that I have two fewer top teeth, my other top teeth have so much more space and are really starting to spread out. Orthodontic adjustment appointments are…brief, so there isn’t a lot of feedback, much less general discussion about how things are going. But I’ve met all my targets thus far, and overall, it seems like they’ve been pleased with the progress with my teeth, how I’ve been taking care of the braces, etc.
I’m sort of playing it by ear with these updates and can’t promise that I’ll have another one in exactly three months at month 7. But I’ll plan to write another update in early fall, if not sooner.
To those who are sticking with me, reading these lengthy updates about my experience with braces as an adult, thank you. If you have personal experience with braces as an adult, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.