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Having braces, the second time around

My old friend and schoolmate, Theresa, was assisting me, on a review of the Totem Forest Signature. She's been living in Orange County, since the late-1990s. She mentioned that, after years of not having any physical media at all, some SoCal stores are now stocking small selections of CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records.

At the beginning of the Fall 1986 semester, Theresa and I met. At the time, I had orthodontic braces, and San Francisco's record stores replaced vinyl records with cassettes and CDs.

Take a look at the OMD The Pacific Age LP on the wall. In late 1986, Theresa bought it on cassette, and just rocked out, to "We Love You." At this time, my braces, which I had had since 1983, were removed. I was kind of disappointed; my teeth were yellow, and not quite straight. My orthodontist made an upper retainer, told me to use it for six months, and then discard it - which I did.

But over the years and decades, your teeth shift. 40 years since we originally had braces, we now have them again. But you might encounter some differences.

In the 1980s, we had all-metal braces. Those still exist. But most patients nowadays opt for the ceramic brackets.

Ceramic brackets are larger than metal ones, and can really rough up and cut the inside of your mouth. Moreover, because the ceramic brackets are larger, you may not have as much space, to maneuver your floss and toothbrush.

Ceramic brackets may not be as durable as metal, and supposedly don't move teeth as quickly.

When I had metal braces as a kid, I had to go back to the orthodontist every month, to get them tightened. With ceramic braces, you go back every 6 to 7 weeks. Depending on what type of teeth movement is called for, the dentist can change up the gauge of the arch wire. Sounds like audiophile cables, but isn't. The bands which hold the arch wires to the brackets come in a variety of colors.

But as an adult, you yourself may have significant differences, from when you were an adolescent. As a kid, you still had your wisdom teeth, and they were not ready to break the surface of your gums. As an adult today, you probably had your wisdom teeth removed years ago.

Now that you are an adult, your teeth probably have fillings, crowns, root canals, and even implants. I have an implant, and the brackets haven't stuck for long on it. Thus, my orthodontist has skipped placing another bracket on the implant.

As an adult, you probably were used to how your teeth and bite aligned. But when you get braces, that alignment will change. The simple act of chewing will become difficult. It's one thing to limit the foods you can eat and drink, but biting with your incisors may hurt. You may experience a reduction in biting force/power. When you use your molars to chew, with a "misaligned" bite, you may experience your teeth accidentally chattering.

Once you get braces, you might find that your teeth are more sensitive to hot and/or cold.

Simple acts of blowing, kissing, rinsing, swallowing, spitting, and talking may change and prove difficult.

At work, when you flash that smile with braces, and slur and drool while trying to talk, you might feel as though your professionalism has taken a hit.

My wife has seen old photos of me, as an adolescent with braces. But she met me well after my original braces had been removed. Starting when our son was 7, he had orthodontics. My wife never thought that I would once again get braces, but here we are.

As an adolescent, Theresa had braces. In the 2010s, she opted for Invisalign. Her teeth didn't need radical movement, so Invisalign made sense (it takes longer, and costs more than regular braces) for her.

Many of you will need braces. But be sure to vet all of your options, and, if you do go with braces, know what you are getting into. And if you do have to spring more than US$4000 for braces, well, there goes that new amp or speaker we've been eyeing :-(

-Lummy The Loch Monster

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Topic - Having braces, the second time around - Luminator 21:11:00 07/09/24 (6)


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