As we celebrate Ortho Month here on Hygiene Edge, I wanted to share my experience in hopes to make braces wearing a more enjoyable experience. I have had braces TWICE. Once as an awkward adolescent and once as an awkward adult in braces.
Thanks to inheriting my father’s large teeth (thank’s Dad) and my mother’s small mouth, I was an orthodontist’s dream. As an adolescent I was severely self conscious of my buck teeth and wanted this braces thing to be over as soon as possible. After consulting with my orthodontist, it was decided that I would have 4 premolars extracted in order to make room for my teeth and to hopefully correct my class II bite. I was in braces 3 years. I hadn’t learned the discipline of wearing my rubber bands consistently and would quadruple band with a side of Advil for a week before my appointments in order to show some progress. I was not consistent, my hygiene was floss-less and I tried to make my braces as inconspicuous as possible, always wearing grey bands. I had failed at this braces thing and didn’t really know it.
The sporadic rubber band wearing backfired over time. Years later when I was working in the dental field I noticed that my bite was still class II and I had a “black triangle” between #8 and #9 that I wanted corrected. I decided to go to multiple orthodontists for evaluation. It became clear that in order to correct my bite and close that black triangle I was sentenced to jaw surgery and 2 years of braces wearing at the age of 26. This was a new opportunity to do braces right!
When I was an adolescent, my braces were a boring, awful experience. I had done braces wrong. This time I was going to enjoy this braces thing. Gratefully I was in Dental Hygiene school at the time and was introduced to the Oral B Pro 1000 mechanical toothbrush. I used the Power Tip brush and Ortho brush attachment to clean around my braces. The Power Tip brush allowed me to clean where the wire attached to the bracket without hurting my papilla. The Ortho attachment helped me clean above and below my brackets without needing any ninja moves. My teeth had never been cleaner! I also was motivated to floss knowing my fellow students would be peering at my teeth. Flossing was not my favorite pastime as it took FOREVER (I hadn’t heard about GumChucks yet) so, I added my beloved WaterPik water flosser to my hygiene arsenal. I decided that my braces needed pizazz this time and took every opportunity to change my band color to anything outrageous. I decided to have fun with them!
Looking back at my braces experience, I am glad that I was given a second chance. As a Dental Hygienist, I feel I can empathize with and inspire those unmotivated adolescents and I can also encourage those hesitant adults in getting braces. Adults with braces rock and they are much better at wearing their rubber bands consistently! Well, at least I was. I have noted my favorite products that helped me have a better braces experience. I’d love to know what products have been game changers for you and your braces wearing loved ones.