Brace Watch Month 26/ Month 2

That’s right.

a/ I haven’t updated Brace Watch for almost a year, and
b/ I now have two daughters wearing braces.

First up, DD1. She’s now 13.

She was only supposed to have braces on for 2 years , but she’s probably got another 12-18 months to go thanks to a disinterested NHS orthodontist who left her without a wire on for about 4 months, and basically pissed around with her teeth.

Our new orthodontist has achieved more in the last 8 months than the previous one did in 16. Unfortunately, at our last appointment yesterday, she told us that she too is leaving. Who knows what the next one will be like?

This was DD1’s mouth after her last treatment with the old orthodontist last May.

Wire on braces 16 months

And this was her upper jaw yesterday, before she had her appointment.

Braces retain canines 26 months

Such a difference! Finally her canines have come down.

Also, in January DD2 , who is 11, had braces fitted for the same reason as her older sister. Dodgy canine teeth seem to run in our family.

DD2 has a couple of issues that make the fitting of braces a little tricky .

Firstly, she has ASD and some sensory issues, so I was worried how she was going to cope with the feel of braces on her teeth and in her mouth. I thought there was a possibility of her having to have them removed early, but figured it was probably worth a crack.

Secondly, she plays the trombone and braces can really interfere with a brass player’s technique.

The first week of her wearing braces was quite difficult for everyone but she did get used to them, and made no fuss at all about yesterday’s adjustments.

I forgot to get a photo specifically of her teeth before she had them fitted, but this close up gives you a good idea.

Retained canine smile


This is her bite after two months of treatment.

retained canines after two months of braces

retained canines braces 2 months

As her canines have moved down, her front tooth gap has closed too.

It’s so far, so good for us as far as braces are concerned and our next appointment isn’t until June. Fingers crossed that the surgery has a replacement orthodontist by then!




Brace Watch 16 Months

Last week, DD1 finally went back to get the wire on her braces again.

Almost 4 months previously, the orthodontist had decided her gums were too inflamed and her canines hadn’t come down enough, and had taken off the wire. By the time we managed to get another appointment, her teeth looked like this.
braces month 14
You can see her canines have come down, but her second incisors are way out of line with her front teeth.

We haven’t been impressed with her treatment on the NHS. We’ve found it very hard to get appointments and the orthodontist has not been very helpful with regards to DD’s anxieties. When we found out that there was another orthodontist who would be operating out of  the dental practice we attend, we asked if we could move. Usually, it is very difficult to change orthodontists once you have started NHS treatment, so I had to go through  my complaints with the practice manager, but we got permission to change. Hooray!

Of course, the new orthodontist might not be any better than the old, but I’ve generally heard good things about NHS orthodontics so I remain hopeful.

Last week was the last time we will see the old one, and she  put the wire back on DDs teeth. DD was really uncomfortable for the first few days, but feels better now and you can see that her front teeth have moved back into line pretty quickly. The RHS canine still doesn’t have a bracket on but will hopefully move down to the gap on that side.

Wire on braces 16 months
In a month’s time we have an appointment to see the new orthodontist. so it will be interesting to see what she makes of what has been done so far.

Brace Watch; 12/14 Months On

Another late one, which means there will be another update along very soon.

DD1 went back to the Orthodontist at the beginning of February; a year after her braces first went on. The Orthodontist felt that her canines weren’t coming down the way they should, so she removed DD’s wire completely, and left her with just the brackets.

This is what her teeth looked like before treatment started in January 2013.

impacted canine teeth upper jaw
And this  is her mouth now, at the beginning of April 2014.

retained canines. 12 months of braces

You can see that DD’s canines have come right down now after a couple of months of no wire attached to the brackets. Hopefully the wire will go back on to start the job of straightening again, at her next appointment which is…well, who knows?

We had an appointment for last week which we had to cancel, so are now on the ‘waiting list’ for an appointment. Last time this happened DD didn’t get seen for 4 months. The joys of NHS treatment, eh?

The possible good news is that our Orthodontist is leaving and we are getting a new one. She’s supposed to be very nice, which will make a change as the one we have at the moment is very brusque and not at all empathetic when DD gets worried about some aspect of her treatment.

But we’ll see. Right now, we are just holding out for another appointment with whoever we can get, after which I will update ‘Brace Watch’ promptly for a change.

Brace Watch: Month 10

A bit late now, but at the beginning of December DD1 went back to the Orthodontist for another check up.

Appointments during the school day can be difficult to manage when your children are at secondary school. They are expected to catch up on any missed work by themselves and it’s hard to tie in appointments with homework and tests. It’s especially difficult when the school is so far away from the orthodontist that a 5 minute visit means a 1 hour round trip.

It’s probably just as well DD will have her brace off by the time she is preparing for GCSEs as our orthodontist is not at all flexible with appointments. We get given an appointment time, and if we can’t make too bad!

This appointment was a couple of hours after DD had sat her Grade 5 piano exam, so she was still a bit shaky after that.

This time around she had all the wires taken off; she still doesn’t like this being done although she knows it’s not going to hurt. By now her ‘left behind tooth’ has caught up with the others enough to be included in the same wire. DD was pleased about this as she had found the gap between the two bits of wire really hard to clean.

Braces 10 months

Braces 10 months

The orthodontist said her tooth cleaning had slipped again, so we are back on the plaque disclosing tablets. She’s using these a couple of times weekly but I wonder if she should be using them every day?

The nurse tried to encourage her to go with yellow wires this time around but DD preferred green, so this is her smile for the next couple of months.

Braces 10 months

Now I’m wondering if we should have gone for a brace on the bottom as well…




Brace Watch: Month 8

On Friday DD1 finished school early and had her braces adjusted for the 3rd time since she got them.

She’s now at secondary school where they are not so happy about her taking time off for orthodontist appointments and the like; they prefer you make these for outside school hours. But our orthodontist is a tricky customer with limited appointments. We’ve learnt that you have to take them when they are offered. DD was going to have to miss double French for the appointment but I considered her attendance to be essential, as her braces haven’t been looked at since May!

DD’s school is 20 minutes drive away, and our dentist is close to home, so we had to factor in 40 minutes travel into the plan. We have to go and pick the girls up from the school office, they can’t just leave school for appointments, so it all took time and we were predictably a little late for our appointment.

DD was nervous, but the Orthodontist was in a good mood for a change. Although as brisk as usual, she told DD she was doing a great job of brushing, then removed the old wire and replaced it with a tighter one. She also put a bracket on DD’s ‘left behind’ tooth and added an extra bit of wire to include it in the brace. DD also has some lovely turquoise rubber bands this time around.

braces Month 8

DD found this adjustment left her teeth and jaw sore for 3-4 days and had to take ibuprofen to get help her sleep at night but she’s finally feeling comfortable again now.

It’s amazing how quickly teeth move. Only 4 days after being included in the brace, her left behind tooth has almost caught up to her other front teeth. Now her canines just have to come down properly- only another 16 months or so to go!

Braces 8 months on


Brace Watch: Month 4

This morning we had DD1’s second appointment to have her braces adjusted.

She was a lot more nervous than I would have expected, but I think part of this is due to the attitude of the orthodontist she sees. This young woman is very abrupt and impatient with my daughter, who gets quite anxious about anything that might hurt. The thought of having to see this woman for another year and a half has led me to look into the possibility of changing orthodontists, but I have been told that this will lengthen DD’s treatment period so we are just going to have to grin (?) and bare it.

My advice to any parents out there, about to hand their child over to the NHS  for orthodontic care, is to have a chat to others who have used that particular orthodontist and ask if they would recommend them. I probably wouldn’t recommend ours just because of her miserable attitude and have since learnt there are much nicer ones around. Of course, where you live you may not have much choice, but forewarned is forearmed and all that!

A couple of weeks after DD had her last adjustment, the bracket fell off one of her molars and she had a bit of pointy wire sticking into her gum. We had a hard time getting an extra appointment. This is another thing prospective orthodontic parents might want to ask; what happens if your child’s braces need attention between regular checkups?

Anyhow, back to today. This is what DD’s teeth looked like before her appointment this morning.

4 months of braces

From the last update, you can see her canine teeth have really come down in line with her other teeth. This is good news as DD had some teeth extracted especially to make room for her canines. I am a little worried about the right hand side  2nd incisor that doesn’t have a bracket on it. It seems to be retreating further and further back, but when I asked at what sort of point they think about bringing it back into line, the orthodontist got quite snippy with me.

Random incisor

The bad news is that DD hasn’t been brushing her teeth properly and there is some plaque build up on them. We got quite a lecture about this, as if the brackets are not brushed around carefully you can end up with marks on your teeth from them.  I have been leaving DD to brush her teeth by herself but will now make sure that I supervise her more closely.

We have got her a softer tooth brush, some tepe sticks and some plaque disclosing tablets to help her do a better job of keeping everything clean.

At the appointment today, DD had the wire replaced ( no rubber bands offered this time!)  but her rouge tooth has been left bracketless again. DD really likes her ‘random’ tooth and isn’t the least bothered by it. It’s just me worrying that the gap it’s supposed to go into might close up  in the meantime.

In fact DD is noticeably more confident about her teeth now she has braces, than she was before they were applied. She’s happier to smile and show her teeth in photos than she has been for years, so this orthodontic work is definitely stressing me out more than it is her!

Brace Watch: Month 2

This morning we had DD1’s first orthodontic appointment since having her braces fitted in January.

This is what her teeth looked like this morning before the appointment.

Month 2 of braces

You can see that the bracket has come off the second incisor ( front tooth) to the left and is kind of just floating there. This happened about a month after the braces were first fitted. DD was just sitting there, not eating , when the wire went ‘ping’ and the bracket came away from the tooth. At first we were quite worried, but some Googling convinced us that this is not uncommon. Sure enough, when we rang the dentist on Monday, they told us just to leave it and wait until her next checkup.

The main changes in her mouth are the her top incisors are have moved into line ( apart from the one with no bracket) and her canines have moved down significantly.

DD was again very nervous about this appointment and it didn’t help that the orthodontist was so brusque. I don’t think it would have been too much of an effort for her to have taken a little time to put an obviously nervous tween at ease by explaining what was going to happen, but luckily the dental assistant was nice and did her best to reassure DD. And DD was pretty brave really. She let the orthodontist know that the cheek retractors were hurting her, but sat still and bore it when she was told that there was nothing that could be done about the pain.

The orthodontist decided to include her canine teeth in the brace this time around, as the hole created by extracting her premolars was closing up.  The wire was taken right off whole brace, new brackets were put on the canines and everything was wired up again. The bracket that popped off her premolar wasn’t replaced this time around, so I guess they will straighten that up later.

This is what DD’s teeth look like now.

canine teeth included in braces

The blobby looking stuff over the canine brackets is wax and should help stop the wire rubbing against DD’s lips  and gums causing pain.

DD was warned that she would probably find this configuration less comfortable than the previous one, and although she’d had 200mg nurofen this morning before her appointment, she could tell her jaw was going to ache as a result. She also thinks that eating might take a while to get used to this time around as well.

 As per usual. we go back for her next readjustment in 8 week’s time.

The Dentist Appointment

Tongues-eye view of The dentist

Emboldened by a successful and not-too-unpleasant family visit to the optician, I dared hope that our trip to the dentist might go as smoothly. This is always, always , always a mistake, isn’t it?

There were going to be no first timers on this trip, and it was only for the youngest three as DD1 had had her teeth looked at by the same dentist shortly before a couple were extracted and her braces were fitted. She had a netball match after school, so would not be coming with us. This had to be a good thing , surely 3 is  better than 4 when it comes to routine appointments?

The first hint of trouble was when we arrived home from school. The kids wanted their usual biscuit, I wanted them to have fruit. Then I asked them to clean their teeth before the dentist got to  look at them. Apparently this was totally unreasonable and there was much complaining. The threat of  being sent straight to bed after the dentist, with no screen time had to be bandied about, but finally I got them all brushing.

Next up, DD3 started packing a bag to amuse her while she had to wait.  She was not happy when I vetoed this on the grounds that we would only be waiting 10 minutes tops. ‘What if I get bored?’, she wailed. DD2 wanted to take a book, which I refused permission for, but DD3 managed to secrete a small soft toy moose about her person and smuggled that in with her regardless. When we found a car park, and got out of the car, DS got in on the act and wanted to bring his running bike. I said no.

We had to cross a very busy road to get to the dentist and we managed this successfully, after a short dust up over who was going to hold whose hand. Then it was time to fight over who was going to go through the surgery door and up the stairs first.

Our appointment was at 4pm, and I tried to arrive as close to this time as possible, so the chances of havoc being caused were minimised. Of course our lovely dentist was running 15 minutes late but there was a good selection of books and magazines out on the waiting room table. The DD’s both wanted to read the same book, but they weren’t arguing too loudly and there was no one else in the room, so I just ignored them. DS grabbed an interior decorating magazine and kept asking me if we could have a room that looked like the different illustrations. I kept saying no.

Finally we got called in to the dentists room. DD2 went first and it appears that she is going to need braces as well, though may escape without extractions. She had a bit of fluoride put on her adult molars and then she went back to the waiting room to finish off the book that she’d been fighting her sister over, while DD3 had her turn in the chair.

At this point, DS suddenly had to go to the toilet, which was just across the corridor from the room we were in. He got there by himself, but halfway through proceedings he spotted the hand drier above the sink and began wailing very loudly, as he was terrified he was going to set it off. I had to go and rescue him and by the time I got back DD3 was telling the dentist that the reason I had such a fat tummy was I had another baby in it. Our dentist has 4 kids herself, so she was very interested, then mortified when I had to tell her there was no baby, I’m just fat.

This is the third time DD 3 has done this in a week, so a discussion will have to be had. DD3 had a bit of tartar behind her bottom incisors which needed chipping off and had some fluoride treatment too so at least she couldn’t talk too much while those things were being done.

Last of all went DS. He was very good and didn’t need any treatment, so after I’d signed a raft of paperwork we were on our way and out the door.

We had to go back across the busy road to get to the car and DD3 chose that moment to drop her soft toy on the road. Of course she tried to pick it up, but I preempted this by dragging her safely to the curb. Poor moose , he was run over 7 times in front of the kids and DD3 and DS were screaming at the top of their lungs. Everyone was looking and I’m sure some of them thought there had been an actual human injury. We huddled on the path, unsure of what to do. I wasn’t sure if I could trust them to stay put if I went out to retrieve him, and was contemplating sending DD2, when a lovely man strolled over, assessed the situation and rescued DD’s toy for her.  There are some really nice people in the world.

We were on the home stretch now, but first I had to pop in to Tescos, to get dinner for the kids. DS suddenly had a complete meltdown as we entered the store and I couldn’t face dragging him around the store. It’s only a little express, and the car was parked right outside ( no roads to cross), so I gave DD2 the keys and told them to all go and get in the car, I’d be as quick as I could.

I dashed around but as I approached the checkout, I could hear a car alarm going off. I hoped it wasn’t ours, but of course it was.

DD2 had managed to get them all in the car but then locked the doors and set off the alarm. No one could get out and there was a crowd around the car watching as the three kids yelled and hammered at the windows. I managed to get DD2 to find the keys, press the right button on the fob and stop the alarm. All three were red faced and hysterical  by this point and I suspect I was the same.

I was just hugging them and making sure they were okay, when an older ( than me) lady tapped me on the arm.

‘I don’t want to interfere’, she said.’But you shouldn’t really leave the kiddies alone in the car.’

My children watched my face with interest . Thank goodness they remained silent until we were all in the car and the doors were closed.

Then as I drove off, DD3 said’ That lady should just Mind Her Own Business, shouldn’t she?’.

I had to agree.







The Brace Position

A couple of weeks ago DD1 had two of her teeth removed.

She needed braces, but because her mouth was so full of teeth, there was no room for her canines to come down. So instead, they were emerging from the side of her gums, causing pain and making her self conscious about her smile. So she had two pre molars whipped out, with only a local. She was very brave but ever so slightly traumatised. ( I was less brave and infinitely more traumatised.)

Today, we had an appointment to have her braces fitted.  Strictly speaking, it’s a brace I suppose, as she only needed one on the top. Anyhow I took her out of school early and off to the dentist we went. read more

The Extraction

A couple of days ago, I wrote this, asking for advice for DD1 who had an appointment to have a couple of teeth extracted yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who replied, I got some really good advice but Why Did No One Tell Me How Traumatic It Was Going To Be?

Again, if you have a tooth or dentist phobia read no further, there are a couple of graphic photos here!

read more