Having Adult Braces
Previously I wrote about getting my wisdom teeth removed and the pre and post-surgery to make sure everything was successful considering my respiratory issues. But the process to fix my teeth and jaw issues didn’t stop there.
Braces to correct my bite and chewing
Besides the fact that my wisdom teeth were causing pain and shifting the rest of my teeth, the other main reason I decided to have them removed was that I was planning on getting braces to hopefully correct my bite and ultimately help me chew more effectively. However, my teeth couldn’t be repositioned unless I took out the things that were making them move.
Unfortunately, I had braces as a teen and assumed that treatment should’ve lasted. But into my early twenties, I noticed only two of my molars were touching, making it almost impossible to chew, and thus more food getting stuck in my throat with a high potential of being aspirated.
Dental problems due to SMA
On top of that, my top row of teeth was protruding forward. I’ve noticed that’s common among people who have SMA and I think it’s the result of using BiPAP and tongue thrusting while sleeping. At least it was in my case. Not to mention I was also missing a front tooth.
Obviously, I’m not ashamed to admit I had a lot of dental problems (although never any cavities) and maybe I’m just vain enough to want to fix all those issues. I mean, yes, some were cosmetic but the others were a danger to my eating.
Even though I have a g-tube, which I could use for all nutrition, I still wanted my jaw pain to stop, my mouth to open wider, and to have a smile I could be proud of.
Finding the right doctor
So, I found a highly respected orthodontist who was experienced with similar issues and patients who have other medical needs. I think it’s important to research any doctor, medical or not, to see if they are comfortable with treating somebody in a wheelchair.
Of course, everybody should be, but a quick consultation will help everyone involved feel more comfortable and on the same page and give you an opportunity to make sure their office is able to accommodate a wheelchair. Unfortunately, a lot of dental offices aren’t.
I immediately trusted this orthodontist because he didn’t push the standard treatment or the most expensive. He listened to my needs and was also the first person to recommend getting my wisdom teeth removed before starting.
It was also decided the best treatment for my situation would be the regular metal braces, not Invisalign. Was I bummed to look like my former 12-year-old self? Yes, but I understand it was the only option to properly fix my issues.
I was "Brace Face" once again, making sure to brush more often to not get build up or thrush due to my BiPAP and medications I take by mouth. Besides the annoying wires and putting wax in my mouth to alleviate the poking, I did get to pick out some awesome colors every time my bands were changed which made me feel young again in a fun way.
We all deserve to feel confident with our smile
Now my braces are off, my teeth are touching, there’s no more protruding, and I got a fake tooth to fill in the gap I’d had for almost a decade. And big bonus... my mouth can now open wider!
For continuous treatment, I now wear Invisalign on the top and bottom while I sleep to prevent any shifting.
The point of this post is just to say don’t neglect your teeth no matter your disability or age. Everyone deserves a Hollywood smile!
Which emotional aspect of SMA do you find most difficult?