I have hated my crooked teeth since my evil wisdom teeth came through and slowly but surely pushed them all closer together and out of place and when I asked my dentist about it, I was told that it would only get worse as our teeth are constantly moving throughout our lives (boo!) and the only way to fix them would be to get a brace, so I decided to finally do something about it and meet with the orthodontist.
I was initially going to a consultation about getting Invisalign which is all the rage at the moment as they straighten your teeth with just a clear and practically invisible mouth retainer that you just have to change every couple of weeks or so and wear for 20 hours a day taking it out only to eat. This sounded like the perfect choice for an adult not wishing to have train tracks, however when I went to my consultation, the orthodontist informed me that it would be a lot more expensive for my treatment and would take longer to work than wearing fixed braces.
Prices for Invisalign range between £3000 and £6000 and as my teeth would need a longer treatment and therefore more braces made up, mine would be at the more expensive end of that range (eeeek!).
The fixed braces are clear and discreet, more cost effective for me and I could be done within 6-12 months (8 months being the average) which actually sounded like the best option for me. I would need to visit the orthodontist every 4-5 weeks to get the wires tightened which is not a problem as the orthodontist is based at my local dentist.
Clear fixed braces cost anything between £1500 and £4000 and mine will cost £3500. The orthodontist will usually allow you to pay in instalments.
Once the teeth are straight and the braces are off, a permanent retainer is fixed to the back of the front teeth and a removable retainer is to be worn at night as often as possible to avoid them moving back to their original place. These braces aren’t cheap so I will definitely be using whatever they give me to retain the straight teeth I get!
I’ve never worn braces, even as a child, so I was really nervous about wearing them as an adult. I originally thought it was something only children wear, but after talking to friends and people on social media about it, I was surprised at the number of people that either said they’ve had them as an adult or that they wanted to get them and lots of people asked me to keep them posted on my journey. I did some research and apparently wearing braces as an adult has become more and more popular so it’s good to know i’m not alone in this!
I’m going to keep a journal of my progress on my blog. Hopefully sharing my experience will help in the decision making process for anyone considering having braces.
The bottom row are the ones that have been the affected the most from my wisdom teeth and they are the ones that bother me the most, however, the top ones would look better if they were a bit straighter. I actually couldn’t have the bottom ones done without the top as I was told that they wouldn’t sit together properly so I’ve had both the top and bottom braces fitted.
Dental Impression of Top and Bottom Teeth Together
Dental Impression of Top Teeth
Dental Impression of Bottom Teeth
The true misalignment of my teeth is so much more evident when you look at the impressions like this and they definitely made me glad that I’d made the decision to get them fixed.
My orthodontist recommended staggering the top and bottom fittings as they can be uncomfortable for the first week so I had the bottom ones fitted just over a week after my top ones.
The top brace was put in place on Friday 6th July 2018 and the bottom one was done on Monday 16th July 2018.
I paid a deposit of £1000 and had the dental impressions taken at the time of my consultation which meant that the orthodontist was ready to fit the top ones 3 weeks later so it’s quite a quick process.
The fitting took around an hour and was OK. It was uncomfortable but not painful. Whenever I’m at the dentist I try to go into a little zen state and relax as much as possible as it’s never a nice experience. To do this, I focus on my breathing; inhaling and exhaling through my nose as you do during meditation. It works really well and definitely keeps me calm!
The worst bit about the fitting for me was the rubber mouth opener my orthodontist used as it felt like it was ripping my lips 😦 Obviously it wasn’t going to actually rip my lips (drama queeeeeen over here) but in the days following the fitting, my lips were all cracked and sore and it’s certainly not the nicest feeling in the world. If I could ask them to change one thing, it would be swap that horrible contraption to something a a bit nicer and easier on the lips.
The First Few Days
It was a really strange feeling. I felt like my top lip was protruding out really far and I was nervous that they would be really obvious but when I looked in the mirror I was thrilled to see that they were really discreet.
I am definitely glad I staggered the fittings as it was very uncomfortable to eat for the first few days even just with the top in place. The fittings rubbed a little on the inside of my cheeks and my front teeth were a little numb but painful when I bit down, accidentally knocked them or brushed them. That feeling subsided within the first few days and when the time came to have the bottom set put on, I wasn’t really in much discomfort and had actually started to eat (soft foods) more easily.
The fitting of the bottom braces was a little more awkward because of the positioning of my lower teeth and the fact that they are more misaligned than the top. It took slightly longer as some of the cement (that holds the bracket in place) went between my teeth and was hard to get out as I have very tight spaces between my teeth. As with the top set, it wasn’t particularly painful but I was glad when it was done.
The orthodontist had to put some composite resin (the same stuff as some fillings are made of) onto my back teeth so that I can’t close my jaw and clamp my teeth together as my top teeth would collide with the lower braces and eventually knock them off so I was warned that chewing would be difficult for a few days.
When I got home, one bracket in particular was really rubbing on the inside front of my lower lip but I thought it was just the braces and something I would need to get used to. After a couple of hours, it was feeling really sharp so I decided to take a closer look. I’m so glad I did as some of the cement had dried into a sharp point underneath where the bracket sits so I had to go back to the orthodontist on the same day and get it filed down.
The First Few Days
OK, so this felt much worse than the top! The bottom ones rubbed my cheeks and the inside of my lips a lot more, due to the angle that they sit at and the area where the sharp point of cement had been digging in before I noticed it, was raw and painful. I was given some dental wax so I used some of that to help stop the bracket rubbing it even more which helped. Chewing was impossible and even my tongue felt like it had sore spots and ulcers! How do kids do this?!
In the first couple of days, quite honestly, I was really wondering why I was doing this to myself!!
I am on day five now and things are starting to calm down a bit. My gums are starting to feel a little less sore which makes me feel a little better. Eating is still very difficult and quite stressful though. I can’t chew at all and am finding that I’m still having to stick to very soft foods or liquids but it’s still early days and I’m told it will get better and my mouth will adjust in time.
Living with Braces
It’s really not easy and I’ve had days where I just want to throw a tantrum and get them taken out of my mouth immediately but I know it will get easier and soon become the new ‘normal’ and I just need to remind myself why I’m doing this.
There are a few things that I simply can’t do for the few months that I’ve got them and if you ask me, it’s a small price to pay for straight teeth!
After eating, there is absolutely no point asking anyone whether I’ve got something in my teeth. The answer is always going to be YES! Food gets stuck in all the little nooks and crannies of my braces and whilst it is super annoying and not very sociable, I have to brush my teeth after every meal.
I definitely can’t eat or drink anything that might stain them so curry and red sauces and things like beetroot are all off the menu 😦 and I need to make sure I don’t eat anything too hard or chewy that might break the braces.
If I have things like coffee or smoothies, I drink them through a paper straw to avoid staining.
Houmous, omelettes, baked beans, smoothies and lots of ice-cream have been my go-to foods so far! LOL! I’m trying to keep it healthy but needs must! Ice cream is necessary when your mouth hurts! 😉
Cleaning and Hygiene
I am very strict with myself on oral hygiene and brush my teeth a minimum of twice a day, floss every single night and use a mouthwash. Good hygiene practices are even more important with braces as food particles can get caught and accelerate tooth decay or damage / erode the tooth enamel. With braces, flossing is obviously more difficult as you can’t pass the floss between the teeth as the wire is in the way. To overcome this, I bought a water flosser from Costco and I also use interdentals. I have been advised to see the hygienist more regularly as a brace wearer and have booked an appointment in a few weeks time.
I’ve bought all the essentials for when I’m out; travelling toothbrushes, mini toothpastes, interdentals, sugar free polo mints, etc. You definitely need to be prepared!
My next appointment is booked for Thursday 23rd August so unless anything goes wrong, such as a bracket coming away from a tooth, I shouldn’t have to go back in until that next appointment.
The orthodontist I am seeing is Alena at Riverside Dental Clinic in Caversham, Reading, UK.
If you have any questions or helpful advice, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
With love, Tash ❤ x