On the last day of third grade, I got braces. I had a big overbite and my two front teeth needed to be pushed back and back up into the gum. My bottom teeth needed to be brought forward. I was missing two permanent teeth, one on bottom and the other on top. So they asked me if I just wanted them to push my teeth together or put in a bridge. I have heard someone say a bridge feels like a big wad of gum, so I went for the other option.† I got the bands, lip bumper and appliance put in the roof of my mouth that day. I had spacers put in before. My side teeth were slanting inward so I had to have headgear for six months. I also had to sleep in it. Mom was surprised and proud of me for doing so well the first night.
After I got done with the headgear, the brackets were put on. My teeth were so sore all I could eat was applesauce. Banging my teeth accidentally with a fork didnít help. Mom had thought about getting me the clear kind of braces, but that didnít happen. At first, I only wanted the gray colored bands. Finally, the orthodontist talked me into getting all different colors.† When we moved, my new orthodontist wouldnít let me have all different colors. The most I could have was three or four. So I started getting colors that went with the month such as: red, white and blue for July and red, green and white for December.
I had loved my orthodontist in Florida, but I didnít really like the one in Illinois. When he gave my rubber bands to wear, he told me to wear them all the time and to change them after I ate. Well, I followed his instructions religiously and went back the next month with an under bite. Mom asked him why he told me to do that when he knew it could happen. He said most of the kids didnít do what he told them. Mom said as long as she was paying for braces, I was going to do what he told me. I ended up being in braces three months longer because of it. When I went in to have them taken off, he just started popping them off and I felt for sure he was going to pull out my teeth. I got them off the summer going into seventh grade.
I had a removable top and bottom retainer. Iíll admit I broke my first bottom one by flipping it up and down with my tongue. The wire on the top one broke because the orthodontist had drilled the wire too thin. Again, Mom was not a happy camper. I used to soak my retainers in peroxide during the day when I reached the point when I only had to wear them at night. We had some people over for supper one weekend and the lady accidentally threw them down the garbage disposal and Mom didnít know about it and turned it on.
I had all four wisdom teeth, thanks to Dad. They were all coming in sideways and one of them had begun to eat away at the root of one of my molars. I either had to have the molar pulled and let the wisdom tooth take its place or have a root canal. I wasnít about to have a root canal at seventeen.
My teeth have shifted some and my retainers donít fit me anymore. I am still convinced if I wanted to keep my teeth somewhat straight I would have had to wear retainers the rest of my life.