“The Road Goes Ever On and On…”

When we last met, summer had just begun and I was closing in on my one-year anniversary of bracedom.

Today, there is snow on the ground, and spring is lurking nearby (probably behind the Bradford pear at my folks’ house).

I still have braces. My metal mouthwear and I have had several exciting adventures during the past few several almost-year, including (but not limited to):

  • Power chain action
    • Because my teeth developed the Gap of Rohan on more than one occasion
  • Rubberbands everywhere
    • SO. MANY. TINY. RUBBERBANDS. Surprisingly, I lost only one (and found it a few months later…).
  • Wire gone awry
    • The entire bottom wire somehow slid just enough to come out of my farthest-back right molar bracket (the buh-looooood!).
      • Don’t worry; the ortho was able to set up an emergency appointment (thank you, Dr. B!). *whew*
  • O-ring severance
    • Chips will indeed do a number on your rubberbands, yo. (But my love for Kettle-brand crinkle-cut potato chips lives on!)
  • Tooth shaving
    • Sometimes you’ve gotta give a little to get a lot (i.e., give a little bit of tooth to get a lot of movement in the right direction).

I really, really wish that I had been able to keep you all up to date on the latest happenings in Orthodontialand, but it just didn’t happen. The past ten-ish months since my most recent post have been difficult. (I have been able to take only two vacation days during that span: the day after Christmas and the day after New Year’s, if that gives you any idea of the insanity that has been my life outside the blog.)

To compound that craziness, over the past year or so, my life goals and priorities have been shifting, and my compass slowly swung in a different direction than the one toward which I was so dutifully heading. The greatest evidence of this change is that I am quitting my job (don’t worry; my employer already knows 😉 ). If you know me, you know that this is a hecka big deal, and not just because of the financial implications.

But all of that is a tale for another day and a different blog.

Returning to [Bracketed Brackets], I have continued to take photos of my braces journey, so I plan on at least having a grand finale of sorts, as well as a few spinoffs. 🙂

For those of you who have hung around, thanks for continuing with me on this adventure! We’re in the home stretch!

“Young lady, if your teeth get any more perfect, we’re just gonna have to take those braces off!” –Dr. B

Baby, It’s Collllld Outsiiiiiiiide (and Inside My Mouth)

I went to the rodeo last month. My friend Mackenzie scored a handful of tickets and offered Niko and me the opportunity to go with her and her husband and a couple of our mutual friends.

Uhm, yes, please.

I hadn’t been to a rodeo in… years. Like, a shameful amount of years. Niko hadn’t been to a rodeo in, like, ever. Opportunity knocked, and we gleefully threw open the door and ushered it in. We may have offered it a beverage, too.

This rodeo shindig happened to occur the very same evening that a fierce cold front was blowing in. We did not acquire parking next to the event building and had to travel on foot from a location that, under not-arctic conditions, would have been conducive to a lovely, leisurely walk.

Not so that night. We sprinted across New Siberia as quickly as we could (as a member of our troupe is with child (and it’s not Yours Truly)). During round one, I pretty much kept my lips pursed as I shuffle-jumped with my hands jammed into my hoodie’s kangaroo pocket. Brrr.

The dash back to the vehicle, however, brought a whole new experience to my orthodontia’d mouth. Instead of pursing my lips, as I had on the maiden voyage, I chose to talk. I chose to talk, and I felt my teeth squirming.

Dear readers, it was cold enough to cause my braces hardware to contract and give me the sensation of having my teeth squeezed. It felt sort of like they were trying to zip a zipper that just wasn’t zippin’.

Everything returned to normal once I surrounded myself with air that wasn’t featuring a wind chill index of -200 degrees, but whew, it was a pretty odd feeling. My mouth doesn’t typically experience those kinds of temperatures, so it really took me by surprise. So, if you reside in a locale that has wildly bipolar temperatures, take note and remain calm. Everything will be all right. 🙂

Now, let’s take a ride in the Several Weeks Back Machine and visit a magical land in which I switched out this set…

Right thurr, right thurr!

This set right here.

…with a new one!

Aside from how nice they are (and the good work they do on my teeth), I love my orthodontist and his team for two other reasons:

  1. They play music I can jam to (quietly, of course… and still-ly).
  2. They always have HGTV on the television in the waiting room.

Niko and I don’t own a TV—well, that’s not 100% true. We own a TV that he got from an old buddy in the service, but we’re not sure whether it works (we’re pretty sure it doesn’t), and we haven’t tested it (will we ever? who knows?). We lack Netflix/Hulu as well, so TV access of any sort is kind of a treat. I lurrrrrrve it.

I’ve really gotten into a routine at the ortho office. I arrive, watch an episode of whatever’s on HGTV (ehrrmuhgerr, DIY!—I arrive at my appointments early #deepandabidinghatredofmorningtraffic), get called back, have removable hardware… removed, brush and floss (I live for flossing without wires!), have Dr. B examine my progress and make recommendations, choose a band color, silently jam to the music on the speaker system while the tech updates my orthodontic hardware, receive my “See Us Again in X Weeks” slip, make an appointment in four to six weeks, and frolic to the vehicle.

Boo yah.

There was a little deviation from that typical schedule during this particular round, though. While the tech was securing the rotation wire around my newest bracket, I heard a metallic *plip!* and the tech ceased twirling the rabbit-ear wires. My one-round-old bracket had just popped off.

Not to worry, though, for a new one soon took its place. In fact, Dr. B himself came over and performed, like, half the work on my braces this time while my tech attended to a grade-school kiddo. So I got to hear his banter with the techs a little better than usual, as well as a few more “Hmmmm”s and “All right”s and “Awesome”s. Based on his commentary, my teeth seem to be progressing very favorably. *fistpump*

When the time came to choose the new colors for my bands, I decided to mix it up a little. I went bold, if you will.

Madame Mix-a-Lot

Mixin’ it uuuuuuuuuup!

As a concession to February, the Month of All Things Pink and Red, my tech and I decided on light pink and red. The thing was, I forgot about the tendency of all bands to become a li’l paler once they’re applied to the brackets, so the light pink ended up looking white.

“OK, self,” I said, “go easy on the tomato sauce and red wine this month” (since I consume so much tomato sauce and red wine?).

Once the initial itchy soreness subsided (by the second day, I believe), this round went very smoothly. I did have a couple of instances in which I ate tomato sauce and sipped on some red wine, but I think the carrot juice I sometimes drink ended up tinting the lighter of the bands more than anything. It wasn’t horrendous, but it was noticeable (to me, anyway, but I see my teeth every day). Definitely something to keep in mind when choosing from the rainbow of band colors (*coughdon’tchoosewhitecough*).

Stay bracey, my friends.

The Rundown

  • What’re your orthodontia accessories? Every single brace (braces?).
  • Band color? Green and darker green. (Spoiler alert!)
  • Any pain today? None! Not even when I press on ’em.
  • What sort, would you say? Now that I’ve lived through several rounds of both the top and bottom braces, I’ve gotta say that the pain has lessened substantially—like whoa. This really surprises me, since my pain threshold is way, way low.
  • Do you miss anything? Right now, caramel. Doubly so because it hasn’t been OK’d on my new eating plan (much backstory exists here).
  • Looking forward to anything? Being able to see my teeth sans hardware again.
  • On the bright side… I love my Waterpik and wish I could take it with me everywhere!