Thursday, November 8, 2012

I’m a dental student with braces.

Study break! Hi lovely people. I have braces now! This (plus my nutritional habits aka coffee addiction) now puts me at a high risk for caries on CAMBRA.

Here’s me during my unknowingly- last happy weekend without braces: I went clothes-shopping with Janet, ate Korean cookies, bit into many apples, and snacked on sticky gooey junk foods (October ended with the biggest free candy fest of the year). I also saw Kal Penn which I’ll write about soon! (is up, complete with a picture I took so close.)


I had an afternoon appointment with my orthodontics resident Helen on Tuesday. She had prepared a treatment plan for me after our initial test series with X-rays, impressions, and many many photographs. She explained that one option was surgery in the summer continued with braces afterwards.

Or we could go with a non-surgery option, but compliance would be especially important. I would need to wear my retainers every day and fix my tongue-pushing habits. Otherwise my teeth could move back… after which we’d be back to square one.

Helen and I talked about this option for a while. I asked her about the specific concerns I had about my maxillary canines, my twisted molar in the wayyy back, and alveolar bone loss. (Sometimes dental school students make the best patients, other times...) I would need to come in every 2-3 weeks for adjustments.

I said: “Okay, I’m happy with this plan. I’d like to go for it.”

Helen said: “I’ll start setting up.”
You mean, today? Right now? Actually… yes. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Three hours (and multiple mini-naps) later, I had top braces on. Putting the braces on didn’t hurt. It was a couple of hours later that my jaw was throbbing. I couldn’t even bite into pita bread without crying. I look a little out of it here, holding my interproximal brushing device:


It’s been two days with braces and the brackets are really uncomfortable. The inside of my cheeks are scraped up and hurt every time I chew. But I am happy with my decision and more excited than anything: to have textbook occlusion and to be able to cut up flat foods.

It is a big investment both in terms of money and time, but I’m happy. (To be honest Z helped me tremendously with this decision to get braces as an adult. Before I had made up my mind I was a whining mess of: “Will I ever have friends? Will people ever like me? Do adults get braces?”)


  1. Oh, wow! Oh, wow! This is great insight for someone like myself who will be getting braces within the next two months!

    So, if your jaw is too tender to chew bread, what did you eat then? Soup?

    1. Really? Braces buddies? I've been just crying while eating. OR I just flinch while eating. In class, I'll be eating apple slices and from the back look like I'm shoulder dancing or something.

      Lots of smoothies, baked goods, and soda. I'm hungry all the time now.

  2. My wife suffered from a tongue thrust habit as well. Not easy to overcome. She had to wear a tongue crib with orthodontia for several years both in her teens and late 20s. I hope you can avoid that fate!

    1. I only wore it for a few months and now that my open bite is closed, I don't push my tongue out front to say my sibilant sounds. Hope your wife's loving her smile now!