March 27, 2015

My Journey to Having Perfect Teeth

After years of giving people half smiles and hesitating to give a broad one, I finally decided to get some adult braces. It took a few years for me to maintain this, but it was all worth it. Now, I can confidently smile. Maybe you’re saving up for them or you’re still in the stage of wondering whether you should get braces. If so, then I hope my experience can help you in making your decision.


Sonrisa. Artwork credit: Martin Garrido
Why I considered braces
I always had a set of fairly crooked and misaligned pearly whites. I also liked to drink a few beers and some bottles of wine every now and then, but the biggest teeth-ruiner for me was drinking lots of coffee and smoking.

While smoking, drinking coffee and taking alcohol in moderation was fairly acceptable, it was my lifestyle which I probably needed to improve on. I was not eating healthy amounts of fruits and veggies. I loved sugar. I liked sweets. I was not getting enough sleep, nor taking in calcium-rich foods.

Along with crooked teeth I had discolouration, and these two were not a good combo. This series of choices was not easy to admit though. One day I finally decided to ask my orthodontist in Brisbane about some options on getting braces. Here’s what went down:

Checked out my choices
He showed me three options which were Invisible, Lingual or Hidden and Traditional.
  • Invisible braces
They almost look transparent, plus they’re comfortable to wear. They’re lightweight and made of heated thermoplastic. My teeth doctor even said I can take them out when I eat my favourite sweets. This makes it easier for me to have client lunch meetings and restaurant trips with some friends.
I was told if I wasn’t comfortable to wear them 24/7, I can take them off for two hours at most. It would take more than a year for my teeth to get fully aligned. Considering their costs, these range from $5,000 to $9,000.
  • Incognito braces
They’re also known as lingual or hidden braces. This was by far, the shortest time a person will have to endure wearing braces. They’re made of gold alloy brackets, which I was told were customisable to the curves right behind my molars. I was told it might be more expensive than other types of braces, but it’s the most effective one being sold right now. They range from $5,000 to $8,000.
  • Traditional metal braces
These are the most affordable braces my dentist could offer me. In comparison to traditional units with visible brackets, I found transparent and ceramic ones. They may be easily seen on my teeth, but they’re at least more sleek-looking when it comes to traditional orthodontic braces.
Being budget-conscious, I was almost tempted to go with this option. Given the structure of my teeth, the doctor advised my ceramic braces may cost $5,000, although the price ranges from $3,000 to $8,000.

What I chose
Incognito braces seemed like the right choice for me, so I carried on and told my dentist it’s the best option I can take (given my budget and the number of gaps on my teeth). I didn’t let my lack of budget stop me from getting these braces though. I checked with my insurance provider and thankfully, I only had to pay roughly 50% of the total cost.

Getting them on
So I booked an appointment with my dentist and to my surprise, it didn’t take too long for the braces to get glued behind my teeth. Before this took place, they took an impression of my teeth to customise the brace fittings.

While holding up a mirror in front of my mouth, I saw blue glue. It was supposed to get all the braces in place, and finally a long wire was inserted into each brace per tooth. The wire was supposed to be the force for all the braces to correct my teeth.

The first few days
Good thing I don’t have a speaking job. My pronunciation changed as my tongue doesn’t have a lot of room to wiggle in. I certainly needed to adjust with the reality of not having enough space inside my mouth.

Food is one of the favourite things I enjoy the most, so the first week was a period of a huge adjustment for me. I had to put wax on each brace to lessen the soreness and irritation on my tongue. I also needed to learn how to intricately brush the insides of my teeth.

Since I’m an avid fan of food, I didn’t let the soreness get in the way of my eating. I have a stash of flavourless wax so I could eat anything to my heart’s content.  After a week or so of adjustments, my mouth felt normal with the braces. Still, I can’t chew gum, eat gooey goblins during Halloween and ravage through thick slices of steaks. I however, have lost a bit of weight and learned how to cut my food in small portions.

And when they’re finally taken out
The most challenging part of my whole incognito experience was the brace removal on each tooth, using a pair of plyers. The pain was bearable, and I think it was a bit trickier for the dentist to file the blue glue covering. Next up, they just replaced my braces with a retainer to keep the aligned teeth in place for another year.

And I tell you, there’s a significant difference by the way I smiled at everyone! I’m no longer worried if a friend saw this tiny gap in my teeth which I need to adjust my smile with, each time. For all those considering to get some braces, I suggest you to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist to check out your options. You’ll see how much of a difference they can make in your life.

(Contributed by Jessie)


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1 comment:

  1. Mamata2:47 PM

    ! just make sure you brush your teeth regularly. What I personally found that helps is using an electronic toothbrush as opposed to a regular soft toothbrush with whitening toothpaste.

    ReplyDelete

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