All Smiles

I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. After years of toil, trouble, and pretty much constant tooth soreness, I am officially done with my braces!

Some of you may remember that back in February 2014, I got lingual braces behind my top teeth. I got them removed a little over a year later, and then, because I just have to do everything as inefficiently as possible, a couple months later I started Invisalign.

My bottom teeth were still quite crooked, and I decided that I wasn’t actually as satisfied as I thought I’d be with just a straight top set (this happened right around the same time as Sean’s proposal, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence.) I posted an update on my whole braces journey back in June, so I won’t repeat everything again, but as you can probably guess, I have one final update for you:

 
I’m done!

I had my final Invisalign appointment at Smiles at Fairfax Corner last week, after a year of my initial Invisalign treatment, plus an additional 5 (?) months of adjustment trays. Phew! It sounds like a lot of time, of course, but the reality is that time is going to press on anyway, so why not perfect your smile while you’re at it?

It definitely took much longer than I thought it would, considering how I had already gotten lingual braces on top, but that just goes to show that you really should just take care of your top + bottom teeth at the same time. A lot of the reason that my Invisalign treatment took so long was to correct my bite — which may or may not have gotten more out of whack due to my linguals-on-top-only. It’s hard to say.

Regardless, I’m thrilled to be able to finally say I am D-O-N-E. No more switching out aligners. No more attachments on my teeth. And you better believe I will be wearing my retainer every night until the day I die. I’m not letting these puppies backslide the way I did in college! Putting your own money into your smile really makes you value that retainer, I tell you what.

I may end up getting a permanent retainer (a wire glued to the back of my teeth) if it’s deemed necessary in the future, but for right now, I’m just going to relish not having anything permanently attached to my chompers. If you have any questions about either Invisalign OR lingual braces, I’m happy to answer them! Because I can! Because I’M DONEEEEEEE!!

Year of the Ram

Happy Chinese New Year, friends!

Yesterday marked the first day of the Year of the Ram (or Sheep or Goat, depending on who you ask!), so allow me to wish you all a year of prosperity, good health, and great times! As most of you know, I am half-Chinese, so Chinese New Year is usually a big deal in my household, but this year my parents are out of the country so I had to make due with my own mini-celebration.

 
And by mini-celebration, I mean that ate some hand-pulled noodles at Lotus Garden with friends. Heeeeee.

Speaking of celebrations, I have another exciting thing to celebrate this week:

I got my BRACES OFF!!!!!!!

 
I’ve had lingual braces for the past year-and-change, which means I had braces behind my top set of teeth. So while you couldn’t actually see them, I DEFINITELY knew they were there. And now they’re gone! Well, replaced with a permanent retainer, so there is still a little something behind my chompers, but nothing nearly as intrusive as those big metal brackets. So here’s to a new year of not getting food stuck in my braces anymore!

In other news, Yelp’s Fit Club is still chugging along, and this week has so far given me the chance to try out an Ayengar yoga class. And tomorrow I toy with fate by attending my very first [solidcore] class, which I hear is supposed to be the most difficult workout of your life. No big deal. And then, as if that weren’t enough, I have another fitness event on Sunday — a bootcamp-style workout at The Worx by Maia. WHEW.

Good thing I’ve been doing P90 for the past six weeks, otherwise I wouldn’t even be in good enough shape to make it through my own fitness classes, hahahaha.

So I guess you can look forward to hearing about all those various different workouts next week… if I survive, that is! And have a great weekend in the meantime, folks!

Lingual Braces: 1 Year Later

Yesterday, I went to the orthodontist. In case you had forgotten (as I often do), my mouth is secretly full of metal.

I have lingual braces on my upper teeth, which has slowly been straightening my smile over the past year.

teeth update

Though you may remember me reporting being in a lot of pain during the first week of having these puppies in, in the months since my last update it’s honestly like I’ve forgotten that they’re even there. Other than a bit of pain/soreness for a day or two when I get them adjusted, and the fact that food does get stuck back there pretty easily, they really are relatively forgettable. And don’t worry, that lisp I carried around for the first couple of weeks is looooong gone!

Unfortunately, while my original estimate from the orthodontist put me at being braces-free by the one-year mark, I experienced a little setback about a month ago. For some reason, my front teeth started making backwards progress, with the overlap between my front two teeth become more prominent and the unevenness between the teeth becoming more pronounced.

FullSizeRender (1) FullSizeRender

I’m not sure if you can tell in the above pictures, but take my word for it. It was not fun to see my teeth were backsliding into crookedville. Luckily, my teeth were able to be pulled back into place with just one correctional visit. Unluckily, that still means it took an entire adjustment just to get back to where I was (I get them adjusted every 4 – 6 weeks). So that little setback means that I’m still a (secret) braceface, and tacked on at least a couple more months to my overall braces tally.

But, hey, I paid like four grand for these stupid metal brackets, so they can take as loooooong as they need to make things right!

January 28, 2014

IMG_9830.JPG IMG_9831.JPG
January 15, 2015
After my braces do finally come out, I’ll be getting a permanent retainer put in, which will be a single wire glued to the back of my teeth to keep them in place. I’ll still need to use a regular retainer as well, but the permanent one should help ensure that everything stays in place. I won’t be making the mistake of letting my teeth backslide this time! Having braces twice in your life is MORE than enough (especially when you’re the one who has to pay for it the second time, hahaha.)

I’d actually been recently considering starting work on my bottom teeth, via either lingual braces or Invisalign. Ultimately, though, I decided that there are other things I should be saving my money for right now. And since I primarily only show my top teeth when I smile, hopefully it won’t bug me too much that only half my mouth is celebrity-straight, haha.

Even with the associated cost, I will probably say that, second to me getting LASIK, getting braces is probably the best money I could’ve spent on myself. (LASIK is HANDS-DOWN the best thing I ever did for myself, without a doubt, but straight teeth is good too, haha.) I am that much more confident in my smile, I feel that much more beautiful, and definitely feel it money well-spent.

Have you ever considered anything like braces, LASIK, or anything else along those lines? If so, what’s preventing you from pulling the trigger?

Lingual Braces: Four Months In

Hi folks!

So I figured it might be interesting for those of you who are in any way, shape, or form invested in the state of my teeth (so… really just interesting for me, then) to get a little update on how the whole lingual braces thing is going! Fair warning, you’re about to see lots of up-close-and-personal photos of my mug, haha.

For reference’s sake, feel free to click back for a refresher on how I was feeling during Week 1 (hint: it wasn’t good) and Weeks 2 & 3 (MUCH better).


January 28, 2014, the day I got my braces
 


March 27, 2014
I had my 3rd adjustment last week, and I definitely feel as though I’m seeing a serious difference in my teeth. The right side of my upper teeth in particular seem almost completely straight to me, which is awesome. The slight overlap between my two front teeth is also straightened out, though my left front tooth still protrudes juuuuuust slightly.


Day 1 vs. today! (Whitening will come later, hahaha!)
The left side of my teeth have also improved, but since that was much worse to begin with, it’s still got a bit of a ways to go. The difference between my left canine and the tooth next to it (what I used to UNaffectionately refer to as my shadow tooth, since if the light hit me wrong I sometimes looked toothless ahahahhha) is much diminished, though still not straight.

As for the extreme tongue discomfort that I experienced in the beginning, it’s pretty much a non-issue at this point. I don’t use wax anymore, and it doesn’t hurt at all. At my adjustment last week, they clipped the wire that was extending past my actual brackets, which has been causing a smidge of annoyance because my tongue is getting used to the feeling of the clipped end of the wire now, but it’ll be good in the long run because I was getting food stuck on the wire ALL the time.

Adjustments are still a huge pain — literally — because I pretty much can’t eat anything solid for the two days following, but otherwise I’m definitely getting used to that too. Once the pain subsides, I’ve found that I can eat most things, though I still follow common sense about what to try my luck on. As long as I don’t mind thoroughly brushing my teeth afterwards, I’ve even found I can eat corn on the cob and stuff like that!

Thankfully, my lisp also pretty much disappeared after the first couple of weeks (or, at least, that’s what people tell me). The lisping does seem to get temporarily worse for about a week following my adjustments, strangely. Maybe because my teeth are so sensitive and my whole mouth just feels a little weird? Meh. As long as it is just temporary, I’m cool with it.

So there you go! My four-month update on the lingual braces front. As far as I know, my predicted length of treatment is still less than a year in total, though I haven’t been told if there’s an exact amount of time left or not. Until then, guess I’ll just keep smiling!

Lingual Braces: Weeks 2 & 3

So after my initial bitching session post about what having my new lingual braces is like, I feel it’s probably time that I update you on how I’m doing with them now.

Not surprisingly, just a few days after I spent like 1000 words complaining about how much my tongue hurt, my teeth hurt, and how miserable I was, things got much, much better. My tongue did indeed get used to the metal and is no longer hurting. My lisping is like 800% better (in my opinion), and really the only thing that still catches me are my S’s. But I’m definitely getting used to it, and some folks tell me that they can’t really notice… though I don’t really believe them, hahaha.

My teeth also have stopped hurting, some of them just still feel loose — which is admittedly a semi-scary feeling, because even though logically I know that my teeth aren’t going to fall out of my head, I had a dream that they did and now it’s like all I can think about. Also, biting into stuff still isn’t as easy as it used to be, though I can eat most things without too much incident (no gum or caramels or biting into apples still though).) It’s just mostly annoying because stuff gets stuck in there really easily – especially rice and stringy things like cooked onions. Also, sandwiches are still a bit of a challenge… which is super sad because I loooove sandwiches. Womp womp.

But all in all, things have really turned around almost 180*, so I am no longer hating the world and regretting this decision. Huzzah! Since it’s only been a couple of weeks I can’t see any kind of difference yet, but hopefully when I go back to the ortho in a couple of weeks he’ll have an estimate of how long it’ll really take to get my chompers nice and straight — since the only timeline I’ve been given so far is the very specific prediction of “probably less than a year.”

I have my first wire adjustment the second week of March, so I’ll be back to update you again on how things are feeling after that!