Six months ago I made the decision to start Invisalign braces. For the past few years my dentist has been telling me that I would be an excellent candidate for them, but when the time came that I was actually willing to commit to them, he told me that the in actuality, I would need metal braces in order to see the results I am looking for. This lead me back to my old orthodontist (I had braces about 10 years ago), and the question if I was willing to go through a full metal mouth of braces for another two years of my life. This question was then compounded when my orthodontist suggested (since it is his job to inform me of all my possible options) that surgery to correct my jaw may be something I would want to consider. It was all pretty overwhelming at the time.
My teeth aren't that bad. My mouth is small, and even though I've had a lot of teeth removed, my teeth are still crowded and aren't perfectly lined up. And it's the top teeth that really only bother me. I smile, a lot. Even though I am very self conscious of my teeth and can't stand to look at pictures of myself (unless my teeth aren't focused and you can't see how crooked the top is, then I don't mind so much). I try not to let my self consciousness control my life though, and if I want to smile, I smile big and wide, but in the back of my mind I'm always picturing what everyone else is seeing when they look at me. That is what lead me to braces originally, and what kept me motivated when I had to consider metal braces. But jaw surgery? That was a whole new process that had never crossed my mind! I've always known I have a short chin (no chin sometimes, when I'm relaxed and let my guard down), but I've always just thought that that is the way I am and never really sought to change that about myself. But when my orthodontist (Dr. V) told me that I had that option, that there was a solution to that problem (and also, that I have a receding chin that will only get worse with time, awesome news!), it opened a whole set of questions for myself.
It took many months, lots of questions, of myself and of people I know who have gone through the process, to get to the decision of yes, this is something I want to do. Not everyone is happy with the decision, some can't even understand why I need the braces. But now that I've made the decision to begin this journey, I can't imagine stopping it and having everything stay the same. After seeing my x-rays and that my jaw is very vertical (I hope to get a picture of it soon), and knowing it's only going to get worse, not doing anything about it now isn't an option. I believe my orthodontist even said if nothing is done now to correct it, I will likely require surgery in the future anyways, so why wait? There are a number of other reasons to have it done as well, not just for the physical appearance of my side profile: Because my lower jaw is much shorter then my upper jaw, and the way my lower jaw is positioned, my mouth sits naturally open, and it takes a conscious effort to keep my mouth closed; Because my mouth sits open most of the time (and has for all of my life), I breathe through my mouth and have a horrible time breathing through my nose (but something to talk to the oral surgeon about); I snore and have read somewhere that this surgery might help, but something else to talk to the OS about.
It's taken me six months to get here, and this week it all begins. My first appointment with the oral surgeon is tomorrow and my braces go on on thursday! I'm nervous, excited and just ready to get started!