The Changing of the Bands

Last night was the second night I’ve taken off my bands, and the most important thing I’ve learned so far is: to make sure I take my meds at least 30-45 minutes IN ADVANCE to take the edge off the pain.

The first night, I was so worried about screwing something up, that I actually didn’t remove the bands in the way back. I tried opening my mouth, and I swear that it felt as though my lower jaw is no longer attached to the top. My first instinct was, oh I’m going to floss and brush the hell out of my teeth. No chance. I couldn’t get my jaw open wide enough to insert my toothbrush. I started to floss, and then I remembered: the “arch bars” are wired to my jaw through my teeth. Meaning, it’s like having metal floss woven between your teeth. My teeth are now so tight together that I cannot fit regular floss between. Ouch. I settled on mouthwash, and waterpiking my teeth and gums.

Putting the bands on the first night wasn’t that bad, especially using the $200 big tweezer from the doctor. I got very full of myself – laughing and thinking, what was Dr. T making such a big deal about? It was actually kind of fun – it reminded me of playing Operation in reverse – trying to stick the “bread basket” back in. What was the bread basket, any way? The stomach??? If so, that makes a lot of sense to me now, but I never understood that as a kid.

I found out what Dr. T was making a big deal about the second night I tried to put on the bands. As I was cocky from my success the night before, I took off the bands in the way back. And no, I hadn’t yet learned my lesson about taking meds first. I felt the pain almost immediately after I was fully unbanded. Again, it felt as though my bottom jaw was unhinged. I tentatively tried to open and shut my jaw, and was rewarded by a weird creaking/crackling sound. I really hope that wasn’t my jaw breaking all over again!  Also (and I hope this is just my imagination), it felt like several teeth were loose.  OMG – can you imagine if I have to get fake teeth after all of this???????).  I took a lot of time to brush what I could, swish mouthwash and waterpik my teeth and gums. God, I love that waterpik. For some reason (likely because the inside of my mouth was killing because of the wires), I also replaced the dental wax. Not a good idea.

Then, I started the process of reattaching the bands. It seemed logical to do the back bands first at the time. I quickly wished I left those on! There were bands flying around the bathroom. I couldn’t reach the back hooks withouth dropping the tool. I kept accidently putting the bands around the twisted wire that graces my gums. The bands were extremely difficult (and painful) to coax off of the wires, and of course, the wires continued to cut into my gums. The dental wax was also getting in the way. I didn’t want to remove it – it was the last tiny bits I had in the house, and it didn’t feel right to “reuse” it. I thought of my sister who has this thing that once a sock comes off a foot, you cannot put it back on. Even if the sock is perfectly clean and you only had it off for a second.

So, I had to compromise. Instead of the four-point, square band formation that my doctor wants, the back bands are perfect triangles. It’s the best I could do! Even the front ones were not easy to replace. Beginner’s luck, I guess.

I continue in my learning process. Tonight I’ll try doing the front bands first, and save the back for the end. Or maybe I won’t take the back bands off at all. And I definitely will save the wax for the end – after I buy more, that is!

Santa, if you’re reading my blog, dental wax makes a great stocking stuffer!

I recounted this story to Patrick and went into detail about the state of my teeth and gums. Something you can only really do with someone who has vowed to spend the rest of their life with you no matter what. He got grossed out, which is saying something (he has a high bar for what he will tolerate). He says he won’t kiss me at all until after I go to the dentist! But then, when he realized how long that will take, he rethought it and suggested that I just use vodka as mouthwash.

Sounds good to me!


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