Dec 2, 2007

metal mouth

Teeth flossing used to rank way up there on things I hated to do. I've been meaning to write a piece on how awesome those new individual flossing tools are that have come down in price now that they are an affordable option. But I won't write that post because I can no longer use them. And the reason I can no longer use them is because I have braces. I didn't even think about this repercussion when I was deciding to get braces. This begins the first in a list of horrible side affects of getting braces.

Now the main reason I got braces was because of an unfortunate decision when I was maybe 10 years old. My 'adult' tooth (the right upper canine) didn't come down properly. It went across the roof of my mouth. Rather than go through surgery and have it pulled down and 'braced' into position for a year and a half, I had the adult tooth removed. This means I still have a baby tooth. Apparently this is genetic. My dad has a baby tooth too.

Unfortunately a baby tooth causes a whole host of teeth issues. In fact the cause & effect discussion with my dentist was quite interesting. The baby tooth is obviously smaller than my adult teeth and has worn down more than my other teeth making it even tinier. This causes the tooth directly below it to be less worn than the corresponding tooth on the left side. The teeth adjacent to it have started to lean in and twist to fill the space. The teeth below it have adjusted accordingly. The forensics can illuminate exactly what caused the veritable tooth train wreck that now exists.

So rather than dick around any longer I just opted for the hard but permanent solution. Get the baby tooth replaced with an implant. This means braces. If I want an adult sized tooth I need an adult sized hole to put it in. Bracing will slowly push the other teeth into their proper spots over the course of a year.

Which mean one year of hell.

Flossing is the first problem. What took me 2 minutes with those handy flossers now takes 10 minutes. Because of the guide bar that goes across all the teeth the floss needs to be threaded behind the guide bar first using a little threading tool. 10 friggin minutes of threading. Ugh.

Worse, eating has become a painful event. I love food. Love it. Now eating results in a mouth absolutely caked with food. It's remarkable how much food can get caught in braces. After every meal I now spend 5 minutes sloshing water around in my mouth. Then a good brushing. And then a good inspection to find what's left. If I don't lose additional weight with braces I'll be surprised.

Finally braces hurt. I presume this gets better, but as my wife states, it makes you feel like your teeth are bruised. This in turn makes them very sensitive. Too hot or too cold and you get an ouch. Not to mention the chafage that occurs on your cheeks. Everything is utterly sensitive which makes eating all that much more unrewarding.

I'm just proud I never made fun of anyone with braces in school.

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