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October 23, 2006

-- 'Down in the mouth' --

The pain and suffering of braces

By Wesley Saxena

My mouth is a mess – at least that’s what the orthodontist said.

I sure didn’t expect that getting braces would be as painful as it’s turned out to be so far, and I haven’t even gotten them yet.

When I first learned I would probably need braces, I was nervous. My mom and dad delayed it so often that I didn’t think I would ever get them.

Click Here   Wesley Saxena in India last winter.

About two weeks before the process was supposed to start, I got to thinking that I did want braces and I didn’t want to wait anymore. But now I’m not so sure that deciding to go through with it was such a good idea.

The fun started a couple weeks ago.

To prepare for installing braces, the orthodontist had to make molds of my teeth with a putty substance and then make casts with plaster. To make the molds, the orthodontist used a metal horseshoe-shaped palette with the putty inside it.

When the orthodontist withdrew the palette from my mouth after making a mold of my top teeth, she didn’t pull it down and then out, she wrenched it out of my mouth by pulling it sideways and making my gums hurt.

But that pain was nothing compared to what I felt last week when I got spacers put in. Spacers are little rubber rings that go behind and in front of a molar on each side of your mouth – on the top and on the bottom.

A total of eight spacers get “gently eased” – as the orthodontist says – into your mouth to make room for the wires that hold your braces into place. The orthodontist threads floss through the spacer and gruffly pushes it in between your teeth and then pulls out the floss.

Then they say, “Now it will feel like a bit of corn between your teeth and you’ll want to pull it out, but you can’t.”

You can’t, even if it causes you unbearable pain. I made it through a whole school day without the spacers hurting, but when I got home, I got a headache and a toothache, which caused me to fall asleep.

The next morning I couldn’t touch my top and my bottom teeth together without feeling like my teeth were going to shatter.

The orthodontist said that I couldn’t eat things that were too hard, too sticky, anything that can easily get stuck in my teeth … but forget that – I couldn’t eat anything, my teeth hurt so much!

In addition to unbearable pain and suffering, just yesterday I found out that not only were the teeth that the spacers surrounded getting pushed, but I noticed my front teeth were forced together.

They became all jumbled up and more crooked than they were before. Because of the spacers, I’ll probably have to have my braces on even longer.

Speak of the devil, I’m getting them in just a couple of days.

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