Saturday, December 29, 2012

Brace yourself for the ride!

Yay, braces!
Today is my first full day with braces. I had them put on yesterday morning and it was such an amazing experience! It was a big deal for me because it marks a day where I've chosen to do something really substantial and life-changing....and just for myself.

The taste of rubber, metal and glue after the whole process wasn't too pleasant though, and it felt pretty uncomfortable having new foreign bodies literally stuck on your teeth. However, after the whole procedure that surprisingly only took all of a half hour, I couldn't help but take a look in the bathroom mirror and considered how momentous this decision I had made for myself was. In the words of a best friend of mine who always knows what to say "Hang in there - and I am sure you will not regret your decision at the end of this journey." And with that, he left me with much anticipation and hope to reach the end of this three year process. I couldn't help but smile my normal gummy (and now braces-enhanced) smile in the mirror. I am excited.

The first meal was a big deal for me and was probably one of my most interesting (see: annoying) eating experiences this year. My cuisine of choice was my default Japanese selection. The only difference now, as I looked through the menu, was that I suddenly realized that I had a lot of boundaries (serious restrictions) to what I could and couldn't eat. It pretty much sucked that I couldn't have sushi anymore (without any regret or worry that something would get stuck in my braces and cause a helluva tough time brushing things out after), nor my favorite Kani Mentai Maki for a while. I really really hope it'd still be on the menu after 3 years! I eventually ordered a chawanmushi... And, with the egging on of my lunch buddy, a salmon belly misoshiru soup as well. And there the table was set for one of the most self-conscious and uncomfortable eating experiences in my life so far. I don't think I've ever appreciated mastication as much... Till I realized how uncomfortable it was to be swallowing vegetables (that I love!), mushrooms, and ginkgo nuts whole. My teeth were just too sensitive to chew on anything...and somehow food is just not the same when you can't chew them to little bits. I finally understood in totality the importance of what the food industry calls "mouthfeel".

Thank you, spoon.
The rest of the day just made the whole experience more real. Eating my favourite Baked Sesame Mochi from Sun Moulin at Lido turned out to be a torture as I couldn't chew on it anymore and had to tear it to little bits and swallow the bits whole. The whole new arduous process of consuming this little morsel of food made me feel quite nauseous after - which drastically affected how much I liked it. I couldn't have the popcorn and nachos at a movie outing after either. But I think the worst was when I went to Starbucks practically starving at the end of the day, and having to look over everything in the display counter that required teeth action to consume, and instead ordering a Mango Passionfruit Frap...and discovering I couldn't even use the straw! I just somehow couldn't position my lips properly to suck on the straw. :( I eventually requested for a spoon and literally spooned little mounds of my icy mango passionfruit blend onto my tongue to slide down my throat. I only got to finish about half of it before the rest had melted into liquid and I was simply too tired to drink the rest of it.

The salad I had to abandon.
Oh WHY... :(
Even today, I wanted SO much to have a salad I've been eyeing in the refrigerator for a while now (I simply cannot resist vegetables!), but after spending almost ONE HOUR trying to squish a cherry tomato in my mouth between my tongue and the roof of my mouth, I had to sadly give the rest of the bowl of green deliciousness up. I did have some almond beancurd though... as if that were worth any substantial consolation.  

Last night, whilst I lounged on my couch with a terribly empty feeling in my stomach, I immediately launched into an hour of researching "braces friendly foods". It's pretty amazing how much information there is. I think I spent a good hour or two scrolling through discussion threads and friendly orthodontic sites, but it simply looks like it's going to be a year of soft eggs, soups, squished vegetables, blends, and other mushy stuff. It was actually pretty depressing. 

I promise to be good for 10 months, but I plan to reward myself with a whole bag of Cheetos puffs for my birthday in October... which will be probably followed by a full hour of teeth brushing. ^^

The start of this process has been superbly exciting though. I'm really looking forward to seeing my teeth shift into their rightful positions, getting my jaw surgery done, and starting life again with a better bite and hopefully ulcer free! 

In order to speed up the process, I've also been doing a little research on how braces work to move teeth, and thereby hopefully find ways to shorten this process... Kinda like my little geeky way of handling life's little adventures. :)

What I've found so far:
  1. Understanding: Braces basically work by exerting forces on your teeth using the wires connected (also called the "archwire"). The archwire "activates" to some extent due to the increased temperature inside your mouth which causes it to straighten and "pull" on your teeth into position. Here's some good simple explanatory material.
    • What it means to me: 
      • Keep your mouth warm to keep the wire pulling? Maybe drink slightly warmer drinks?
  2. Understanding: How the braces force a tooth into a different position is by basically gently pulling it slightly loose into a new position and having the bone below it regrow to hold the tooth in place. There is also a new product in the market called Acceledent which basically gently shakes your teeth through micropulses for 20 minutes a day that supposedly accelerates the movement of your teeth and drastically cuts your treatment time. 
    • What it means to me:
      • Talk and move your teeth often in the day to encourage them to tug away and encourage faster shifting. The bone growth can take place at night when you're sleeping.
      • Make sure you get enough calcium, nutrition, and sleep.
  3. Understanding: Tooth decay or breaking of the wires or brackets slows down the process cause there's rework to be done.
    • What it means to me:
      • No sweets or sticky stuff that's going to be nasty on the brackets. (Oh no! My favourite baked mochis!) 
      • No hard foods. (Oh no! My delicious olive bread! :() 
      • Be very careful with the braces so that there needn't be any replacements.
      • Brush often, gently, and thoroughly.
The orthodontist estimated 1.5 years to get things in place before the surgery, but I'm planning to visit him once every 3 weeks (instead of 4) to hopefully speed things up and set my jaw surgery date for Q1/2  2014. I can't wait for this to be over!

On other notes: 
Mount E Orchard has the most extravagant parking charges! Did you know that they charge $2.50 per HALF hour?! I didn't! And the fact hit me pretty hard with a $12 deduction on my cashcard as I exited the lot after my appointment. :( Lesson learned: Next time, I'll park at Paragon...or at Wheelock and walk over.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, your transformation is very good and it turned out really well.. I'm about to have the surgery on feb3. May i know who your ortho and surgeon is? Thanks in advance. My personal email is,