Sunday, 22 March 2015

My toothless week

By far the worst part of this process (so far — it's early days yet) were the days between surgery and starting my Invisalign — the days where I was toothless seemingly without reason. Recovery took a few days, and I needed one more day off work than what I'd planned, but once I started to feel better, the gaps where the four pre-molars once were started to gross me out.

It's like it's your tongue's job to explore any changes to your mouth. I get ulcers a lot, and my tongue is always prodding at them. With the gaps, this was worse. I'd feel something, freak out that I was about to eat one of my stitches, and immediately start gagging.

I also found it really hard to talk to people. Partly because of the pain, partly because I thought they would be looking at my new gaps and wondering why I was toothless. I met the incredible Tess Munster on Saturday, and I really hate my photos (which really contradicts the Eff Your Beauty Standards movement that we were celebrating that day) because I'm smiling so broadly, you can see one of the gaps. I was also in so much pain by the time I left (from smiling and talking, so I'd had fun getting to that point), that I was close to tears.

When I started back on solid food at the end of last week, it was hard work chewing in the front, trying to make sure everything got swallowed down and nothing got stuck in the gaps. The surgeon's instructions on making sure I didn't get an infection due to food left behind were really clear, and freaked me out and I became the most diligent salt-swisher and brusher I've ever been.

I think this served me well because I'm recovering really well. I've got a tiny bit of pain, and funnily enough, quite a bit of it is in the front of my mouth, in the crowded teeth on the top and bottom where my Invisalign will be doing the most work. I think having teeth out, as unpleasant as it actually was, was a good start to the process. I'm used to not snacking any more, I'm drinking twice the amount of water and I'm brushing and flossing three times a day.

My desk drawer at work now looks like this:

Toothpaste (cruelty free brand!), rinsing/soaking cup, 2 toothbrushes, hand sanitiser, panadols and several lip glosses

And I've started putting together toothbrush kits to take with me wherever I go, so I don't have any excuse not to brush, floss and rinse after meals.

There's no denying things are going to be tough, particularly in the first few weeks of treatment, but I keep reminding myself of how great my smile is going to be this time in 2017!

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