When I last posted about my Incognito lingual braces, I was kind of freaking out a bit about them. My first two days were not easy at all, and I was having serious second thoughts. So I thought I’d update you on the time following those first two days, until the first tightening six weeks later.
I’m hoping this will help you if you’re thinking of getting Incognito lingual braces, or have recently got them and are having some difficulty with them like me. Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you:
it gets better.
If you want to know more about Incognito lingual braces, I explain more about them on my previous post; but in brief, they’re just like train tracks only they go on the backs of your teeth so are therefore almost invisible to others. I chose them so they wouldn’t make me look like a teenager at work, although I soon had second thoughts about the wisdom of this choice…
After the first 72 hours, I was pretty miserable. I couldn’t speak very well at all, and I was in a fair amount of pain both from my achey teeth and from my tongue which was not enjoying its new metal neighbours.
Two days post brace fitting I went out for supper with some family members and they picked up on my strange speech straight away, which didn’t help my confidence. The room was quite noisy and I found that certain syllables just didn’t make it out of my mouth. I mostly ate mashed potato and was a little bit miserable.
Two days later I had another family lunch, where I discovered that kale and braces are not a good mix. I took about twice as long as everyone else to eat my roast lunch but other than that, I did feel that my speech was improving gradually.
Week 1 also included my two dreaded pitch meetings, 5 and 6 days post fitting respectively. I was so nervous about them, but if I concentrated really hard on my speech I managed to just about sound normal. I think I got away with it because none of my colleagues mentioned anything, and I’d like to think they’d tell me if I sounded like a total prat. (Sidenote: we won both jobs so I think that’s a good indication that I didn’t totally ruin things!)
I survived this week by coating basically all the brackets in gishy goo or dental wax, whichever was to hand, which made talking slightly more difficult (because that meant there was even less room for my tongue to move) but much less painful. I still struggled to eat, so I tried to stick to soft foods. Mostly ice cream.
I was mostly working from home this week which meant I could break in the braces gently. The exception was our big monthly meeting which, of course, I happened to be rota’d on to lead. This involves standing at the front of a room full of your rowdy colleagues who all want to chat to each other, and trying to get them to listen to you instead. Not an easy feat at the best of times! I was quite worried about this, but it was actually fine. A lot of people didn’t even notice, and I managed to do half the day gishy goo and wax free.
With eating, I discovered that if I cut everything up with a knife and fork, I could just post it to the back of my mouth where my un-braced molars were able to chew with much less of a problem. Being still unable to close my teeth together, I occasionally caught a tooth on a bracket which made me wince, but mostly things were much improved.
I went to a baby shower with one of the people who came to dinner the day I’d had my braces fitted. She said my speech was so improved she assumed I’d gotten fed up of the braces and had them taken off. So I’d say that’s a pretty good review!
I also felt much buoyed after meeting Kelly for a brace-friendly ice cream date, and I managed to talk just fine. Things were looking up. My teeth were still a bit achey, but nothing major.
The main downside at this stage was how long it took me to clean my teeth. I genuinely needed to adjust my morning and evening routine because of it!
I had some more good spells of working from home which meant my tongue was feeling much more happy at this point. My main issues were that I still couldn’t use my front teeth to bite anything, and eating in general was still a bit tricky. I tended to stick to soft foods still, and continued to cut everything up. I couldn’t deal with anything vaguely sticky or stringy. If I had a particularly full day of talking for one reason or another, my tongue really suffered, but if I stayed at home and didn’t talk I was almost pain free.
This week marked the point at which I started to feel like everything was going to be ok. I met up with some of my old university friends and they didn’t even notice me talking differently, which was great. I didn’t have much pain, although I still struggled with overly crunchy foods like some fruit and vegetables, and my s’s got lost if I tried to talk at any kind of volume.
This was the week I went to Santorini! I was having practically zero problems at this point, no pain, and was even tentatively trying to bite (fairly soft…) things with my front teeth. Occasionally my tongue would catch the brackets while I was talking, which would result in me mispronouncing a word or spitting unfortunately (sorry, poor husband) rather than any pain.
Week 6: the first tightening
Having been told various horror stories about people crying in the orthodontist’s chair when having their braces tightened, I was a bit apprehensive about this part. I’d just begun to get used to my new crazy teeth and I didn’t want to have to start all over again with it all.
I needn’t have worried though, because the tightening appointment went really well. My orthodontist had a quick look at my teeth and braces as they were, and told me I’d been taking good care of my teeth and to keep it up.
Then she popped off the elastic bands that had been keeping the wire in place, and removed the wire. She gave my teeth a quick clean whilst the wire was off, which she warned me might feel a bit unpleasant but it wasn’t at all. It felt very strange to have my teeth back for a split second – and then the new wire and elastic bands went back on. This required a bit of pushing and pulling, and to my sensitive teeth this was a bit uncomfortable.
However, it was nothing too dramatic and was over pretty quickly. I even got some new elastic bands on the backs of my upper teeth that felt more comfortable than the last lot. Although of course that required another adjustment to my speech …
This appointment took less than half an hour and I was soon back home again. I needed some painkillers for the next day or so but after that was absolutely fine. I adjusted to the new rubber bands pretty well, and I even managed to eat a pizza without cutting it into tiny pieces first! I also met up with Kelly again, who says she thinks she can see my gap shrinking already. I’ll take her word for it – happily so!
Here’s a bonus picture of me which shows the most visible part of my brace, the bar behind my gap. This is also a picture of me laughing at my own attempts to smile nicely for the camera. I am so incapable of taking pictures of myself it’s not even funny. Ok it’s a bit funny.
At this point I’m feeling much more confident about the journey ahead. I think I stand a good chance of getting through this whilst a) keeping my job and b) enjoying food again. (Priorities). Basically I’m now feeling a lot more like this whole Incognito lingual braces thing hasn’t been a huge mistake.
Thanks everyone for your kind and encouraging words at the end of my last post. It really did help me feel less down about it all!