Maintaining Braces with Cerebral Palsy

Hello as if we’re in September already! I decided that this week I would do my first throwback post, to my younger years, as I haven’t really talked about my childhood that much therefore, I thought I would start by telling you all about my braces. I’ve decided to tell you about my braces because this was a difficult period of my life- anyone who has had braces knows that they can be difficult at times, but when you add CP into the mix the level of difficulty increases.

So, the background story… Anyone who knows me knows that I never do simple and my situation with my braces wasn’t simple, to say the least as, more or less straight after I’d had my initial appointment to see if I needed braces I had my braces put on as I was classed as an “emergency case”! I was classed as an emergency case as my last tooth that was coming through wasn’t coming through in the correct position and it was, in fact, damaging my nerve. This meant that after I had my braces put on I had to have an operation to remove my last baby tooth and two more teeth (as my mouth was too small for all my teeth), then I had a gold chain put in to bring the tooth that was damaging my nerve down slowly into the correct position. Already this process was a lot complicated than anticipated I remember when I got told all this information and I come out of the room and turned to my mum and just said ‘Why me?’. I just felt like my life was complicated enough without this- which looking back is rather selfish of me, but my 13-year-old self didn’t have the same outlook on disability as I do now.

Having to wear braces never got me down; looking back now I probably would be able to take my situation on board a lot better. However, this still doesn’t mean that physically I would have found it easier because physically maintaining my braces caused a lot of issues. Due to my situation being complex I had to get my braces tightened more often meaning that I was in pain most of the time. It was also very hard to keep them clean independently, due to my CP I don’t have a lot of control over my mouth and tongue so when food gets stuck in my gum I must physically go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. Meaning that if this happened when eating in a restaurant it would leave me feeling a bit embarrassed, over the years (as this happens regardless of braces) I have developed techniques to subtly resolve the situation in my own way without people knowing. But, with braces, most issues were caused due to my lack of control; like I said my control with eating still causes me a lot of issues today but this is a whole other blog post and to be honest is probably something I’m not quite ready to be 100% open about.

I was very keen on making sure that my braces were always clean and I always did what the orthodontist told me but as said it was hard to do this independently and my parents did have to intervene a lot more than I would have liked. However, I did get into a routine. Overall, I had my braces on for 20 months, so I did get better and become more independent towards the end!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Elastic bands are common with braces; in my case, they lasted 2 weeks before I had to call the emergency orthodontist on a bank holiday weekend! I’d struggled with the bands and was cautious that I’d end up doing damage, but I didn’t think I could somehow break the bar at the roof of my mouth and cause it to stick into my tongue. Let’s just say, I never wore elastic bands again after that incident.

As you can see having braces wasn’t the easiest 20 months of my life; I am happy with my teeth now, still annoying that this was all because of one tooth but it taught me a lot. It taught me that not every thing’s as easy as it looks at first however practice makes perfect (a clichè, I know) but, it’s true! Yeah, this was a very frustrating period and it would have been a lot easier if this situation wouldn’t have occurred but that’s life, unfortunately, this isn’t the first frustrating situation to occur and it won’t be the last. So, I might as well reflect on it and look at what’s it’s taught me rather than focusing the negatives, this situation is never ideal even for an able-bodied person, but worse things happen!

Thank you for reading,

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT