I’ve been meaning to write this post up for ages, as it’s been an ongoing thing in the background for some time, but I’ve only just gotten around to it as tomorrow (tomorrow!) I am being fitted with my Invisalign braces. That is, of course, assuming that we aren’t snowed in in the morning. We’ve had amber warnings of snowfall and you may be aware that everything closes, and nothing in this country works, if we get more than 2mm of snow.

A bit of background

The main problem with my teeth is the crowding at the bottom front that has slowly, over a period of years, resulted in a single tooth getting pushed further and further forward, and sticking up higher and higher. For a long time I have mentally referred to it as my ‘tombstone tooth’, because it stands up proudly above the others and is visible when I talk. The light glints off it in a most disconcerting way (in my opinion anyway).

The thing is, my actual smile is quite neat and tidy because then the bottom teeth are hidden behind the top ones. It’s only when I talk that the bottom teeth really stand out.

It has been painful to bite on the tombstone tooth for a long time. I have to bite into hard foods (like snappy biscuits), using the side of my mouth because I can’t put that much pressure on the single tooth that sticks up from the bottom. And also the amount of build-up I get around the back of my crowded lower teeth just isn’t funny.

I also have some misalignment (and a smaller tooth) on my upper right, which historically hasn’t really bothered me, but I have noticed of late that it is also getting more prominent with the gradual movement (twisting, in my case), of teeth that seems to occur as you age.

I did have metal braces on my top teeth as a teenager, to correct a mild cross bite. How I wish I had worn my retainer forever! 20-odd years on, my teeth have jostled around into a new mish-mash of positions and I have been self-conscious of them for quite some time now.

I had read about Invisalign and in the back of my mind had kind of decided that at some point I was going to do it. Last year a local practice was running an information morning that included a free 3D scan, so I booked and went along.

This is why my mouth has been under such scrutiny recently.

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I am excited and nervous, all at once. I know exactly what to expect in terms of soreness, abrasion and all that other stuff, but on top of that Invisalign comes with its own set of rules about immaculate oral hygiene to ensure that the plastic covering the teeth doesn’t turn into a bacterial incubator. They require 22 hours wear a day, which doesn’t leave a huge amount of time for eating and cleaning. I am a grazer, and pick at food on and off all day, so that’s going to have to stop. Eek.

But I am so excited at the thought of taming the tombstone tooth and bringing it back down into line to play nicely with the others. I’m paying for private treatment, so if you’re curious about costs I’m having top and bottom aligners, totalling around £3,500 (you can just have top or bottom, but in my case I needed the top ones to create space for the bottom ones to straighten). I will also need a retainer at the end of treatment that will be a further £500. Yeah – I know. It’s a lot. But I think about that tooth a lot too, to the point that sometimes I lose track of what I’m saying because I’m too busy thinking about my tombstone tooth flashing away while I speak.

Passing comment

About 5 years ago I was chatting socially to a group of people and one of them was a dentist. She was talking about her patient and how her braces had tracked her teeth into a beautiful smile and she was really pleased with progress. Someone asked about how bad her patient’s teeth were to start, and she explained that she had some crowding at the bottom. I said “Oh, like mine,” and the dentist frowned said…

Not as severe as yours… but yes.

Oh man. Ouch. I was all ready to show her my teeth to see if they were the same as her patient’s, but a) she’d already clocked them and b) she’d already assessed them as being worse than someone she was currently treating.

I felt so embarrassed and self-conscious. I was already aware that the crowding was visible when I talked, but that was the moment, five years ago, that I knew I had to get them straightened.

So here we are.

Wanna see some pics?

Of course you do.

So this was was caught in passing, but it shows my tombstone tooth on the bottom quite nicely, as well as the slightly gappy top bit:

Invisalign before

Here are some I took today:

Invisalign before Invisalign before

Excuse my poor, dry winter skin. This time of year plays havoc with it.


When you go through all the prep for Invisalign, you get a treatment simulation, which is frankly brilliant. They are not 100% accurate, as physiologically everyone’s mouth responds in a different way, but they are a guide to how your teeth will be moved.

It’s displayed as an incremental movie that shows the teeth moving into place. With a bit of basic photoshopping, here’s the beginning and end frames:


Now, I can’t imagine that my teeth will end up as perfect as they are on the right – but even halfway between would be a big improvement on the bottom teeth.

I can’t remember how many sets of aligners I’m going to need – something like 19? or 22? You generally wear each one for two weeks, give or take, so I’ll be in them for the best part of a year, plus full time retainers for 3 months (I think) afterwards. Then it reduces to night retainers, and then gradually down to 3/4 nights a week. Don’t quote me on this – it’s from memory so may be slightly inaccurate.

Regardless, I am 100% happy to wear them for as long as it takes. Time passes so fast anyway these days that it’ll be Christmas before long and my teeth will be almost straight! I’ve waited so long to do this. There is a part of me that doesn’t quite believe any of it is going to work, and I will be stuck with my big bottom tooth forever, but we’ll see.

Here’s hoping the snow holds off tomorrow morning so I can get to the dentist and get them fitted!

27 February 2018

I must be getting more sleep as I’m not blogging so desperately with updates, lol! Things have settled down quite a lot now F is in with me. She has started talking in her sleep before she wakes up and I think she is a really vivid dreamer because she will often say something (usually about food), and then get upset and wake up. However she settles back pretty quickly with me there, so it’s probably as good as it’s going to get for now. I still like to be in bed by 9pm, which is okay as it’s just me and the three kiddos.

I have picked up the family photo books again, and I’ve just finished 2013 (so that’s 5 books – 2009-2013 – done). I restarted after a long break because I was doing a big clear out of the conservatory. It houses our filing cabinet and inside was loads of artwork and kids stuff from preschool. I knew I just had to get these photobooks FINISHED because leaving them just makes for a horrible backlog (like the one I’m facing).

I’m on a bit of a mission at the moment to simplify the house further and reduce the number of projects I always seem to have ongoing, so the books have been occupying every spare moment.

Completing 2013 was a relief. It was a tough year: three miscarriages, the death of my nan, I was attacked by a dog out running, two friends had pregnancies, baby showers and babies, we did a long weekend away with some people I later realised were not really very good friends and we went on a family holiday with my in-laws where Steve and I argued almost all week. I was so lonely and tired and sad that year – how the fuck I ended up persevering and finally having F in 2015 I actually cannot fathom.

I felt really quite down while going through all the photos and although it is a lovely album with some wonderful pictures of the boys there is an underlying sadness to the whole year and I remember every event and how I felt inside even though I didn’t display it.

I vowed to myself last night that I will never, ever again pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t. I will never put on a smiley face to keep relatives and friends happy and avoid making other people feel uncomfortable. It was utterly exhausting and such a hard, hard year. People in general have been far more helpful and concerned over our recent marital separation than they were over my miscarriages and haemorrhages and hospitalisations. People generally speak to me about it as though someone has died, when in fact it is the death of a marriage, not a person.

Maybe it is because the subject of miscarriage is too personal and uncomfortable, whereas relationships break down all the time. People know what they are expected to say when talking about relationships. They understand.


The photobook mission is back on.

17 February 2018

F slept through last night – and so did I! I woke briefly at 2:30am, but otherwise a peaceful night all round. First night in a couple of weeks that she hasn’t screamed, cried, or talked to me in the middle of the night.

Does anyone else suffer from Raynaud’s? I’ve had it for years in my hands and (rarely, if they are ever exposed in the cold), my feet. I finally managed to snap a pic today, as the only place I ever seem to get it is driving the car:

By the time I got to a place I could stop it was wearing off, but you can still see the total failure of blood circulation. It’s like temporary frostbite.

And I think I must be dehydrated – my fingers look like I just got out of the bath.

Teeth and Gums

I went to the dentist today for a hygienist appointment. I have been TOTALLY COMMITTED to an extensive daily oral hygiene since I was told I had gum disease a few weeks back. I have been brushing, interdental brushing, flossing and mouthwashing.

I felt so pleased with myself for sticking to it, and I swanned in expecting them to congratulate me on my super-clean and healthy mouth.

When the hygienist looked in my mouth she said:

Well, I am very surprised by that!

[No response from me: my mouth was open and she had her mirror and fingers in there]

Very surprised. Yes, I really am surprised.


I usually have a good idea what to expect when I finally take a look in someone’s mouth.


But you really have got a lot of tartar there!

Can you believe that? My happy optimism about how clean my mouth was fell through the dentists chair and crashed onto the floor with a thud. She said she would not be able to tell that it was only four months since I last saw a hygienist. It basically looked as if I wasn’t bothering to brush my teeth on the insides at all.

So I’ve come away determined to cut down on the sugary food and to pay yet more attention to my brushing style.

I also have quite bad receding gums on some of my molars. I’ll try and snap a pic. It’s really horrible.

11 February 2018

I decided today that I would set my blog to private going forward.

But then I realised that self-hosted blogs don’t have the private option built-in, so my option is to use a plugin to make it private. That requires a bit of time to make sure I choose the right one.

In the meantime, I’m not going away, I just want to keep things more personal – please feel free to request access once it changes!

10 February 2018

A better night – F woke briefly at 03:30 and everyone slept in until 07:10. Lovely ?

I’ve not had any meat for two weeks and all we have left in the house now is three tins of tuna.

I’m working on a set of veggie meals the kids will enjoy before I think about reducing dairy. Today I made (all vegan) tofu chicken nuggets.

The fried coating on these was amazing. The tofu inside was… well, tofu I guess. The kids ate half of what I served (6 large each) and didn’t complain. I’m definitely making them again. I adpated the recipe from the here one at Under A Lemon Tree and I used buckwheat flour instead of oats.

The weather here is appalling and the kids are now on half term so I don’t know what we’re going to fill next week with.

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