Teeth are a funny old thing aren’t they? Not only do they help us to chew and define the shape of our face and jawline, but they cause us so much grief over pain, aching, infections, fillings and now the fashion of whiteness. I am fortunate that I have never had a bad tooth, I possess no fillings and only ever had one tooth removed as a child for overcrowding, which was corrected with a clip-in upper retainer for around a year in my early teens. Since then my upper teeth have gradually began to move out of line and my bottom ones have been untouched my whole life. I brush twice a day, floss and use a mouthwash as well as having my teeth whitened when necessary to keep them bright and clean, but my lower teeth have been concerning me for many years.
I’m not in any pain, I can eat fine and people don’t stare at my mouth when they talk to me, as there really is no obvious issue with them, but I’ve noticed as the years roll by, my teeth are tilting inwards and gradually overlapping and moving out of line. I spoke to my dentist a couple of years ago as I felt my two lower incisors – the ones on either side of my middle teeth – were beginning to tilt inwards and look out of place, and I was advised that it would only get worse with time. At the age of twenty-six and as a mother of two, I try to take care of my appearance and keep my teeth healthy in order to keep them for as long as possible, but I’m aware that intervention is needed now to stop them from getting worse, complicated and more expensive to correct further down the line. Our teeth gradually move throughout our life and can end up at all sorts of angles, positions and alignment that can cause food to become trapped, plaque to build and tooth decay in areas that we can’t reach with a toothbrush anymore.
After having a browse around online I’ve been umm’ing and ahh’ing over treatments available, from fixed train track braces, nighttime only retainers or even invisible corrective shields that you take out whilst eating and are hardly noticeable. First and foremost I want my treatment to be successful and give me the results I require of straight and healthy teeth, but at the same time I’m also hesitant at the prospect of filling my mouth with lisping, unsightly metal for a year or so; which would affect my ability to speak normally, smile and eat let alone the possibility of pain and discomfort from moving my teeth and rubbing on my gums. As you can imagine, I’ve been giving this all a great deal of thought and consideration for what is right for me.
I have booked in for a free consultation for Invisalign aligners. It is hailed as a modern cost-effective treatment for teeth straightening that is almost invisible. The concept of Invisalign involves an impression of your teeth being taken which is sent to the HQ in America for an aligner to be created. A virtual 3D treatment plan charts how your teeth will move over the course of the treatment which is a bespoke package to straighten and realign each individual tooth. The aligner is switched to the next stage every two weeks and must be worn for a minimum of 20hrs a day, and only removed for eating, cleaning and taking selfies of course.
The benefits of using a removable Invisalign aligner means that you can take it out when necessary, there is no metal to irritate the teeth and gums like fixed braces, and you can brush and floss as you normally would; you also get to see the final results for free before the treatment even starts, if only everything in life was as simple. I will be charting my progress here in my blog each step of the way, taking pictures as I go and keeping a diary on how it feels, looks and affects my life. And hopefully very soon, after taking my first step into treatment I will have the teeth of my dreams. Roll on my consultation!
UPDATE: 11/04/14 Invisalign Consultation
I feel a little deflated after my Invisalign consultation and now I’m completely baffled over what to do next. The consultation itself was very helpful and interesting, I was shown the clear plastic brace that clips over the teeth and was amazed at how discreet and thin it seemed. Much like a teeth whitening tray, the clear brace was an exact mould of the teeth and has to be changed every two weeks for the next movement to slightly adjust the teeth a little at a time.
I saw a video of real customers before, after and during their treatment plan, watching weekly pictures of peoples teeth twisting, uprighting and correcting their alignment and it was fascinating to see the difference it made to the before and after pictures. After showing the dentist my teeth, she advised that the initial assessment would cost £350.00 which included having an impression of my teeth taken, this would then be sent to America to have my plan made and braces constructed, for which I would receive the full treatment in one big batch and have to keep on top of changing them myself at home. A photographer would also take a before, and later after, photo of my teeth, and following treatment my teeth would be whitened and a retention bar fitted indefinitely behind my teeth to stop them from moving out of place again. I would only have to return to the dentist two or three times across the treatment to ensure that my teeth were responding as they should, otherwise it would be a very handsoff easy process. Knowing I would have perfect teeth in just six months time was extremely exciting and I’d fallen in love with the thought of being able to take them out to eat and for special occasions so that they wouldn’t notice. A full 12 month treatment costs £4900.00, there is a 6 month Lite version for £3800.00 for less complex cases, and an i7 version for £1800.00 used for very minor treatment over 3 months. All in all I was happy with the price, which I was offered 0% interest free credit for a year, with monthly repayments ranging between £125.00 – £408.33 depending on the treatment needed.
I know that my lower teeth are out of line and some teeth have twisted around, but the top and bottom teeth are all corrected to ensure that the bite is in line. I was literally ready to pull my card out of my bag to pay for it when the dentist informed me of what I really should know first and it totally stopped me in my tracks. She advised that white squares would be attached to the teeth that needed hep with movement, and the braces fit over these and use them to push against and move the teeth into position. When the braces are on the squares are visible but still discreet, however they do stand away from the teeth and cause a lump. When you remove the braces for eating and cleaning, the squares really stand out and food can become tangled around them. So instead of having the invisible treatment I was hoping for, I had to consider the possibility of having white squares fixed to the majority of my teeth like lumpy porridge. The reason I wanted this treatment was so that I could remove my braces when needed, but now I discovered it would look worse without them during treatment. Well, it’s not the end of the world to grin and bare it for six months right? But my treatment wouldn’t be six months, as after looking at my teeth I was advised at least a year, and if I was unhappy with the final treatment then I could have it extended longer. Oh dear.
I had set my heart on having the Invisalign braces because they’d fit into my lifestyle perfectly, but in reality, after having my consultation they would be less effective than having fixed braces and take twice as long to correct my teeth. I think Invisalign is an incredible treatment and it is discreet, but it’s not completely removable, so sadly it’s back to the drawing board. Now I am at a crossroads, do I drag out a somewhat discreet treatment for well over a year or bite the bullet and have a clear fixed brace for half the time? The fixed brace will no doubt provide the best results in the shortest time, but equally it means filling my mouth with metal, irritating my gums and lips, and constantly watching what I eat. Argh! I have booked a consultation at another dentist to discuss my other treatment options, and based on the pro’s and con’s I will consider each treatment option carefully whilst blogging my findings.
UPDATE: 22/04/14 Six Month Smile Consultation
I visited a dentist today to talk about the Six Month Smile, which is a clear wires and brackets fixed brace system where small tooth-coloured squares remain on the teeth for 75% less time compared to other orthodontic methods. As they blend in with the colour of your natural teeth, they are more discreet than traditional braces, and claim to be unnoticeable from a distance.
After having an assessment, photographs and x-rays, the Six Month Smile braces can be fitted with the brackets and wires shipped over from America. You then have to visit the dentist every 4-5 weeks to have the wires briefly adjusted until the treatment is complete. The treatment is so quick because the nickel titanium wires focus on moving the teeth that show when you smile, rather than all of your teeth, correcting the cosmetic appearance of your smile rather than the position of your bite. It is said to use low force when moving the teeth to make the treatment more comfortable, which after the first few days you will become accustomed to, but painkillers can be taken if necessary.
It can affect your speech for the first week as you produce more saliva than normal, but you soon get used to it and readjust. After treatment is complete you have the choice of forever wearing a night-time removable retainer, or having a metal bar attached to the back of the teeth to stop them from ever moving out of line, my dentist advised that food can get caught in the bar and make brushing more difficult so I am considering the removable retainer. Prices cost between £1,000 – £3,000 depending on if you’re having the top, bottom or both sets of teeth treated. As I want to correct all of my teeth I am having both top and bottom fitted at once, my bottom teeth are my main concern to fix, but as I’m having the braces fitted I thought I may as well have the top minutely adjusted too as they are slightly out of line.
It really appeals to me that the treatment time for Six Month Smile is so short, and although having fixed braces was originally my last resort I’ve realised you just can’t get the same results in this time span with any other treatment on the market for the full extent of correction that I need. I was really sold on the Invisalign removable retainers up until I was told about white squares being fixed to your teeth and the treatment taking over a year to complete, as it basically then becomes a brace just without the wires. So after much careful consideration I’ve decided that I may as well have a discreet wired brace for a fraction of the time with the best end results. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to seeing my teeth wired up for the first time because it will be such a shock as I’ve only ever had a clip in retainer to close a gap as a child and it used a spring from behind the teeth so didn’t show.
I’m nervous about my teeth aching and hurting when I have it fitted and adjusted, as well as the thought of having a lisp and catching my lips on the brackets and wires. I think my lips will end up sticking out like Homer Simpson and I’m going to have to learn to stop smiling so that I don’t flash a mouth full of metal at people. But when I put it into perspective, six months is such a short amount of time and it will no doubt fly past, which in the grand scheme of things is well worth it for perfect teeth as they will only get worse if I leave them as they are. It’s safe to say I’ve quashed my hope of finding myself a husband for the next half a year, but come Christmas I’ll have a dazzling Hollywood smile! I paid a deposit at the end of my appointment today, with my appointment booked for eight days time. Eek!
UPDATE: 29/04/14 Mouldings Taken
Today I had moulds taken of my upper and lower teeth taken during a 45minute appointment which involved four sets of trays being filled with a squishy mango putty that was then pressed over my teeth. Each tray was held in place for a couple of minutes before being removed, which didn’t hurt and wasn’t unpleasant at all. From these an exact model of my teeth will be created and progress can be charted.
My dentist asked me if I had any questions prior to my treatment, and I raised the issue of time. My bottom teeth are my main concern and as I’m only having my top teeth slightly corrected, I wanted to know if my top braces would be corrected and removed sooner than the bottom, as it would mean I could have my smile back sooner whilst the bottom remained in place. My dentist advised that the treatment time really depends on the mutual decision of the dentist and patient together, as the most dramatic change is seen earlier in treatment when the shifting of teeth begins, which then gradually slows down as the teeth come into place and very subtle changes are made over the final months. He said that some people prefer to wait until the very end of their treatment to remove the braces, and others realise after a few months that once the major issues are corrected that they are happy to finish the treatment early without being too concerned about the final tweaks.
At the moment I would prefer to have the full treatment, even if it means going over the six months in order to achieve the best results. However when I’ve been picking food out of my braces and slobbering when I speak all summer I may just change my mind! I will give you my honest and unbiased opinion as always and keep you updated on my progress.
My braces are due to be fitted in one months time on the 29th May 2014, with my appointment already booked and paid for, and I’m told it will only take an hour. It seems pretty quick to fit the brackets, wires and tweak my teeth all in just sixty minutes, but I know that I’m in great hands and I’m looking forward to it. In the meantime I will be making the most of my final month of mouth freedom, by drinking plenty of red wine, eating fluorescent curries and chewing sticky toffees. Six months will come and go before I know it, and every day that passes is one step closer to the perfect smile. Let the countdown commence!
UPDATE: 29/05/14 Treatment Day!
I have been super excited and nervous all week as the days crept closer and closer to my treatment, and now here it is and I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof. I want it, but I’m nervous, I’m looking forward to it, yet I’m hesitant; I really don’t know whether to bite my nails or do a star jump for the butterflies that are in my stomach right now. I just keep telling myself that the sooner it starts the sooner it will finish and I will finally get to meet my new perfect teeth, it’s the beginning of the end.
My appointment was at 1pm today and after rushing around with the children between minders and shopping, I arrived with my six year old daughter at the dentists to check in a few minutes before my appointment. Sitting in the waiting room it felt like time stood still, I wasn’t worried about it hurting, but more curious to see what it would look and feel like and if I’d be able to talk normally again after. When my name was called by the friendly receptionist, my daughter and I were led to the treatment room so that the appointment could begin. I took a seat in the dentists chair before being reclined back so that I was laying flat, and I was handed a pair of plastic glasses to protect my eyes and a waterproof bib over my clothes from the dental nurse. The then dentist began by checking inside my mouth to ensure that it was clean and healthy before using a small camera on a long stick to take photos from all angles of my teeth which were shown on a TV screen in front of me. It was fascinating to see a worms-eye-view from inside my mouth at an angle that I would never have got with my phone. I smiled, laughed and cringed at how incredibly wonky and out of line my teeth looked, ecstatic to know that it would be the last time they would ever look like that.
So next the treatment began. My mouth was divided into four sections, just like cutting a pie into quarters, I had an upper left and upper right, lower left and lower right area that was worked on one section at a time and the steps repeated around my mouth. To start with a cotton bud was put under my upper lip to attend to the left upper teeth, this exposed my teeth and absorbed saliva as my mouth had to remain dry. A green paste was then applied across the surface of my teeth before being rinsed off with a water tube and suction, and then a yellow paste applied, rinsed and dried again. Next a clear tray containing the squares to fit to my teeth was clicked into place. When the mouldings of my teeth were taken at my previous appointment, they were sent to Six Month Smile where the technicians prepared the braces by suspending the square brackets to clear trays so that my dentist only had to set them in place. To set the squares to my teeth, a rod was pointed at each bracket with a blue UV light that triggered the glue and fixed them to the surface. It only took a couple of minutes to do a quarter of my mouth, and then he moved onto the next section doing exactly the same.
It didn’t hurt at all as my mouth wasn’t clamped, cut or hurt in any way. If anything it just felt like I’d been yawning way too much and as a result I wanted to close my mouth and let my jaw rest. I was so surprised at how precise and well planned out it was, as I’d imagined a little box of squares and a tube of glue and tweezers trying to fix each square to my teeth and get it on straight, but it was far less clumsy and time consuming than that. That’s public perception for you isn’t it! My teeth were then flossed and a thin metal strip, like a super strong sandpaper pulled between them to try and create space and help the teeth to move, it felt a little gritty but other than that no different to flossing normally.
Within half an hour all four of the trays were on my teeth and the brackets set with the UV light. Next the trays was ready to be removed. The dentist used a tool to prize the clear plastic tray off of my teeth which popped out with a little wiggling, leaving my teeth with perfectly positioned clear square brackets instantly on every tooth. Next came the fitting of the wire. At the four rear corners of my mouth, the brackets end with a silver metal cap which the horseshoe shaped wires slot into to hold them in place. The dentist slotted the upper and lower wire into the metal caps before hooking it into the square brackets and fixing it in place with little rubber doughnuts, just as you would tie your hair up with a scrunchie band. Again it didn’t hurt, it just felt like a little tugging and a ping as the doughnuts were snapped into place and then the excess wire was trimmed off with some clippers and my treatment was complete. The two clear horseshoe shaped wires are made of a special material that has a memory and will gradually try to return to shape, even though it is fitted through the centre of each bracket at the moment in a track more like a roller coaster than a straight line, as time passes it will pull my teeth into position a little at a time. I was asked to bite down so that the dentist could check the alignment of my teeth and when I did, my two top middle teeth hit the lower brackets so that I couldn’t close my mouth. A tooth coloured paste used to create fillings was shaped into a little ball and attached to my back lower teeth, one on the left and one on the right to prevent me from biting down onto my braces and potentially knocking them off. Now when I bite down and close my mouth my teeth don’t quite touch so I have to learn to chew again and eat at the rear of my mouth which I’m told will get easier as time passes and I get used to it.
Finally I was given a little pack of wax sticks which I was advised to rub onto any brackets that rub against my lips to stop them from hurting or cutting me. At the moment I don’t feel any rubbing or discomfort, it just feels like I have lots of hard toffee stuck all over my teeth and I’m trying my hardest not to absentmindedly pick it off. It’s like that dare where you eat a sugared doughnut and you’re not allowed to lick your lips, and all you want to do is get rid of it. I was advised that despite my teeth feeling fine now, as they begin to start moving, the ligaments in my jaw, gums and bone may start to ache and hurt so I can take some painkillers to ease the discomfort which will become more evident over the next 48hrs. And that was it. My Six Month Smile has begun! The dentist then took a set of pictures with my braces in place and one hour and ten minutes after I arrived, I was free to carry on my day.
After my glasses were removed, my bib taken away and the chair raised, I was shown the mirror to see my braces for the first time and I couldn’t help but smile and saw “wow” with a somewhat laboured speech. I was so relieved to not have a lisp and I can speak perfectly normal providing I take the time to speak slowly and pronounce my words properly. The braces aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be, they’re obviously there but unless I smile like a horse you can’t see them, as my lips cover the clear brackets and only show the untouched teeth. To start with it felt weird to talk because my teeth feel as though they are being held in place by something and I want to lick my lips and run my tongue over them which is pretty unattractive but funny. After driving home I realised that I really should have had a huge meal before my treatment, as I found it really difficult to eat. Fortunately I’d prepared some vegetable broth in the fridge just incase my teeth hurt to chew, and although they don’t hurt at all, I wasn’t expecting to no be able to chew as my teeth don’t touch at all. After pushing the pulses and lentils to the back of my mouth and trying to chew, I took a few air-bites and had to give up and swallow it whole. I’m glad that I had such finely chopped broth mix, but I have a feeling I’m going to really struggle with a normal meal as I’ll either have to mash it to a paste or very finely chop all of my food for the rest of the year as chewing does absolutely nothing to the food.
I realise not being able to chew is from the position of the two lower middle brackets, as they have to be in the centre of my teeth to be able to move them properly, so the filling material that has been put in the back of my mouth to stop me from biting down is what’s caused this and not the braces. It’s difficult for me right now, but I’m so happy with my treatment and I hope that in time I will find a way to eat normally again. I am so excited and thrilled that I have my braces on and I’m already counting down the days for my next appointment in four weeks time to see my progress. Brushing my teeth is something I’ll get used to as I normally run a brush at all angles and directions across my teeth in a frothy bristle frenzy, whereas now I’ll have to be mindful not to hit the brackets and ensure that no food is left trapped. Already it’s had a positive effect on my diet and lifestyle as I resisted the urge to have a chocolate bar for the fact that I have no way to eat it, so that’s a few calories saved already, perhaps I’ll put my extra pennies towards a new bikini?
UPDATE: 30/05/14 Day 1 – 179 To Go
The morning after the day before! I was expecting to need painkillers last night or even this morning but it’s not actually that bad. Whether I just have a good pain threshold or it’s the alignment of my wonky teeth, I’m thankful that it’s pretty easy to deal with. I can talk completely normal again now and it’s not even been 24hrs yet, and instead of pain I’d compare the feeling more to a dull ache or bruise. My mouth is tender, but not uncomfortable, I am aware of my teeth feeling different but it’s not unpleasant and as time passes I won’t notice it at all. Brushing my teeth last night was easier than I expected as I could still get the brush above and below the braces and it didn’t twang or pull on the wires at all. I guess I’d psyched myself up massively for a dramatic and painful procedure and lifestyle change which has turned out be be anything but that.
I also expected my mouth to stick out like a coconut/Homer Simpson and my gums and lips to rub on the brackets where I would to have to use my wax, but none of this has happened yet, despite laying face down on my pillow to sleep. Whether it will happen gradually over time I’ll have to wait and see, but so far so unbelievably good. As I’m still finding it hard to eat because my bite doesn’t fully close and I can’t chew, I had a bowl of broth again for breakfast today, which is my second meal since yesterday morning. I don’t feel hungry like I expected to, more thirsty and I’ve found I’m drinking more water and haven’t snacked at all which is a first for me as I’m normally constantly eating for the sake of it and not because I’m hungry. I was also expecting to lisp and dribble when I speak, but if anything my mouth actually feels more dry now, like when you nap with your mouth open by mistake and wake up with it feeling tacky instead of moist and need a drink.
Counting a month as 30 days, and with the treatment set to take six months this totals 180 days of wearing my braces considering extra time isn’t needed for further movement after. I find it fascinating to count down the days and blog exactly when my treatment completes, it’s slightly similar to having a pregnancy when you predict if a baby will arrive early or overdue. Place your bets now, 179 days and counting! Eek!
UPDATE: 03/06/14 Day 5 – 175 To Go
It has almost been a week since I had my braces put on and thankfully it is starting to feel more normal. The aching has died down and it no longer feels tender as though I’ve been punched in the jaw, I can still feel it as I am aware of my teeth, but more so like wearing a plaster as it’s restrictive rather than uncomfortable. A couple of days ago my lips started to feel sore where they were rubbing on the braces when I talked, and I really hoped that it wasn’t the start of the friction that would last me the rest of the year. Despite having my wax sticks I decided not to use them, as when I get food caught in my braces it feels disgusting and I try to lick it out and swish water in my mouth to free it but it tangles in the wires and is the most annoying and squeamish thing for such an OCD nut like me. My tongue does nothing to retrieve food from around my brackets, so right after eating I brush my teeth straight away. I therefore can’t stand the thought of rubbing wax across my teeth as well as food getting stuck, so for a day or so I didn’t speak as much as my mouth adjusted and luckily they haven’t rubbed since and I got away without using wax.
Eating is becoming easier, I still can’t chew properly but I’ve found a way around meal times. To start with I had soup from a spoon which I literally sucked into my mouth before swallowing. Next I moved onto baked beans, slow cooked with tiny diced mushroom and garlic so that it literally feel apart when you suck it and could be swallowed easily, you have no idea how good it was to eat a semi-solid food! After that I tried rice pudding as it was creamy, thick and delicious, another step forward as I still couldn’t chew but it helped to show me that I wouldn’t choke on food that was somewhat whole. After that I had ice cream that I had to sit on my tongue until it melted and it soothed my gums which was lovely. I then had steamed spinach and macaroni in a cream cheese sauce with finely chopped beans and asparagus, all nice and soft and easy to swallow, although the spinach was a mission to brush out of my brackets and wires. Yesterday I managed some potatoes with stuffed peppers, and I actually managed to chew a couple of times too, which was day four. To start with it was painful to chew as it felt like my teeth wanted to fall out, like when you accidentally pull your hair and handfuls just come sliding out and you convince yourself you’ll get a bald patch from it but don’t. Well it was the same feeling, wherever I chewed, left, right, back or front, it felt like my entire jaw of teeth were about to come tumbling out and my head was telling me to stop but my stomach was saying “FEED ME SEYMOUR!”
I’ve learnt to roll food about with my tongue and bash it with my back teeth which can’t fully close but turn it into a more manageable swallow for consistency. As long as I cut the food up small on my plate and give it a quick turnover in my mouth, then I’m now managing to eat adult food instead of mushy baby goo. I’ve been out and about as normal and nobody has noticed I’ve got braces until I tell them and they look in close and say “wow, how cool is that!” which has been kind of nice, as I really didn’t want something obvious. By the end of the first day I was talking normally again but I’m guessing that when I visit the dentist in just over three weeks for my checkup that my braces will be tweaked in some way and I’ll be tender again for a few days just as before. I am 100% happy with my treatment and it is the best decision I could have made for my teeth. I want to show you my progress warts and all, as there’s no point in me saying “hey guys this is cool go and buy it now!” because I’m pretty sure you see adverts like that all day on TV anyway. I have no gain from this, no contract and I am not working for any of the companies involved in my treatment. I am simply a customer giving you an honest and unbiased perspective on what it is like to have this procedure as an adult.
UPDATE:08/06/14 – Day 10 – 170 To Go
Today I noticed that one of the brackets had let go of the wire on my lower back left tooth. The tooth is quite possibly the most severely out of alignment as it is tilting inwards and further back than the rest of all the other teeth. I didn’t feel the wire separate from the bracket, so I’m unsure of when it happened. It didn’t hurt, didn’t break or cause me any concern, I just noticed when brushing this morning that the tooth was no longer connected. It could have happened when I was eating, sleeping or brushing as far much as I know.
I telephoned the dentist to ask for advice, as my next appointment is due in just under three weeks time. They advised I should come in to have it reconnected beforehand, and due to childcare I am booked in for a weeks time on June 17th. This means that my worst aligned tooth will have had less treatment than all the others, which could possibly delay the final result, or because of the position of the tooth, if it is easy to move then it may catch up over the coming months.
I can eat perfectly normally now as I am completely used to chewing with a gap. The only downside that I have found from having clear braces, is as soon as I eat anything remotely coloured they stain straight away, whether it’s from tomatoes, spice, vegetables or fruit. My brackets have now taken on a pale yellow colour which I can’t shift with toothpaste or mouthwash and in hindsight, because of the colourful nature of food and drink, I should have gone for a solid colour instead, as yellow would never have been my first choice for tooth accessories. I think a silver, gold or red would have looked far more attractive, as clear doesn’t stay clear or discreet for long.
UPDATE: 17/06/14 Day 19 – 161 To Go
Today I had my appointment with the dentist to have my tooth hooked back onto the wire that had popped off. My one-months adjustment was due for next week, but seeing as I was there today he decided to change my bands at the same time and then book my next appointment for a further months time on the 16th of July instead. First the bands were removed from each bracket by pinging them off with a metal prong, and then a gritty file was then pulled between each tooth to create a fine gap and help them to move easier. It felt like tingling through my teeth as if I’d bitten down on a fork and I closed my eyes as I cringed until it was over; I can’t say that it was the most pleasant feeling, but it certainly wasn’t painful as it just put my teeth on edge and was thankfully over in just a couple of minutes.
The same wires were then reattached to the brackets on my teeth but this time using new bands as they lose their elasticity over time and are less effective. Now they would be held firmer so that my teeth can continue to move and soon the wires can be changed, which will hopefully be by my next appointment. The new bands were attached, twisted, hooked and pinged into place which felt as though my teeth were being tapped with the back of a spoon by a short, sharp ping. And in just under an hour my treatment was complete and now I have another month until my next appointment. It’s amazing to see how different my teeth already are as the wires are noticeably straighter than just a few weeks ago. At the moment my teeth feel a little tender from being pulled and filed so I’m having a salad for lunch instead of anything too hard, but still I don’t need painkillers or wax, so that’s a reason to celebrate. I’m so happy with my treatment so far, almost one month in and I have just over five more months to go, the time really is flying past.
UPDATE: 24/06/14 Day 26 – 154 To Go
It’s been a week now since I had my bands changed and the wire reconnected to the bracket that pinged off, and last night whilst I was speaking I felt another ping on the other side of my mouth. This time a bracket popped off of my rear tooth and is now spinning around on the wire like a peg on the washing line. In all fairness, the two teeth that have come unattached so far are the most wonky and tilt inwards unlike the other teeth, so I know that they are holding the most force on the wires, but I can’t take it out or unthread it as it’s hooked through the wire and trapped between two other brackets. My rogue bracket is now literally rotating and hitting my gum and lip and I have to keep spinning it around so that it faces the right way and doesn’t stick out and catch, how annoying. I left an out of hours message on the dentist answer phone and hope that they’ll call me back some time today to book me in and have it reattached. Fingers crossed sooner rather than later as it’s difficult to chew right now. Boo hoo. Aside from that my other teeth are fine and my braces haven’t caused me any problems as I have been eating and talking fine up until bracket-gate happened. With each of the two incidents so far it’s been from my two rear tilted teeth which I was expecting to have a bit of bother from for how badly out of line they were. But hopefully as they get pulled into place they will settle down and behave themselves just like the other teeth who are all shuffling into position nicely.
UPDATE: 25/06/14 Day 27 – 153 To Go
Fortunately the dentist called me straight back this morning and gave me an appointment for lunchtime today to have my bracket reattached to my tooth. I was given a pair of goggles and a plastic apron and laid with my mouth open as the dentist tinkered with my braces. He started by removing the wire and then using what sounded like a drill piece and suction to grind the remaining glue off of the surface off my teeth. And just like before when he first attached them, he applied a couple layers of gel with a bud, dried, rinsed and prepping my teeth. He then placed a dot of extra strong glue on my tooth before holding the bracket in place and setting it with a blue light. Within minutes my wire was reconnected and some new bands snapped into place and I was fine to go.
Just as I had thought, my two most wonky teeth that were leaning inwards were the ones that had caused both of the problems, with the wire pinging off of one side and the bracket off of the other. The dentist explained that because of the extent of work needed to move them, these two teeth both put the most pressure and stress on the brace, but as soon as they start to move and correct the angle they will become less likely to cause any other problems, just like the other teeth. He advised me to continue to eat and brush as I normally would, as anything that I do shouldn’t effect the braces coming off, it was simply the tension on a very wonky tooth that caused it to come off.
My next appointment is in a months time, so let’s hope that my teeth start behaving themselves and I’ll only be back once a month from now on!
UPDATE: 28/06/14 Day 30 – 150 To Go
It seems that I really have no luck with teeth, as when I woke up this morning the bracket that was reattached only a few days ago on my wonky tooth has pinged off again for the second time. As it’s Saturday the dentist is shut so I left a message on the answer machine and hope that they’ll be able to book me in to have it reattached soon.
UPDATE: 01/07/14 Day 33 – 147 To Go
Today I had a lunchtime appointment to have my bracket reattached which involved removing my lower wire, regluing the bracket, filing between my lower teeth to create gaps and attaching the same wire with new bands. My teeth are now all connected again and I really hope that those two badly wonky ones won’t cause anymore trouble, they’re just so severely out of line that it puts a lot of pressure on the wires and brackets, and until they’ve shifted enough to behave normally I have to expect the odd setback and alteration. My next appointment is in two weeks time when I believe the wires may be changed if my teeth have moved the desired amount by then. I’m already noticing the height of them had come in line as my lower teeth aren’t as up and down as before, I just need them to stand side by side now instead of in front of one another. Eek I love noticing progress, how exciting!
UPDATE: 16/07/14 Day 48 – 132 To Go
A couple of days ago I noticed two of my brackets had joined the defiant ranks again and let go of my teeth. My lower back left wire pinged off of my tooth and my upper right bracket broke off of my tooth which I think happened after eating toast, but didn’t notice until brushing my teeth. Again I didn’t feel anything so it could have been off for a day or two, but fortunately I had my next appointment booked at the dentist for today so I was able to get it fixed.
At my hour appointment I had my wires removed, teeth filed, bracket reattached and bands replaced with new ones. The same wire was again reused and I’ve noticed over the past week that my lower incisors, the ones either side of my front teeth, have begun to ache and feel tender. The dentist explained that these have a large root on them and as they are pulled up into a straight position it is a big move for them, which will cause my teeth to ache. This is possibly the first time I’ve felt my teeth at all since I first had the braces fitted, and although it isn’t painful, I would said it was a 2/10 for how noticeable the dull ache is. My wires are already looking so much straighter as I creep into month two of my six month treatment and I am so pleased and excited.
UPDATE: 29/07/14 Day 61 – 119 To Go
Tonight the lower back left bracket on my wonky bottom tooth let go of the wire yet again and I left a message on the dentists answerphone which they will hopefully get in the morning and call me back with an appointment time to have it reattached.
UPDATE: 30/07/14 Day 62 – 118 To Go
Thankfully I got an appointment for lunchtime today, where I had my wires taken off, teeth filed and the same wire reattached with new bands. I already had two metal twists secured onto my side lower brackets, which is a stronger way to hold the wires in place instead of using bands. Today I had a further two metal twists added, taking my total to four, and these pull the lower side teeth into place, as the middle ones have come nice and straight now but the sides are still twisted and wonky. Hopefully this will hold them more firmly and help to correct the alignment.
The only difference between using bands and twists on my part is that the metal twists have sharp edges which have cut up the inside of my lip, like a rough end on a blunt wire, despite being wound around the bracket and tucked away there’s still a raw edge that slices into me across all four fixings so chewing and speaking is pretty painful right now. This is the most discomfort I’ve had the entire time but so long as I don’t speak or eat then it doesn’t hurt, so I’m hoping I’ll feel better after a nights sleep.
UPDATE: 10/08/14 Day 73 – 107 To Go
Today my lower left bracket pinged off of my tooth, and there’s no prize for guessing which tooth caused it, the wonky trouble maker! Fortunately my next appointment is in a couple of days time at the dentist so I don’t have too long to wait until I can get it reattached, it’s so annoying when something goes wrong as I don’t want anything to delay my treatment and results and I’m beginning to question if my exceptionally wonky two side teeth can be corrected in just six months or whether I’ll be wearing my braces into the start of 2015. Eek!
UPDATE: 12/08/14 Day 75 – 105 To Go
Today I had my check up at the dentist and told them about my bracket coming off. So the glue was drilled away and a new bracket applied. My wires were removed as usual, my teeth filed with a metal strip to create spaces between them to help them to move, and then new bands attached which I have managed to stain again with yet another curry. I really shouldn’t have gone for a clear brace system knowing that I eat so much coloured food, but as I don’t smoke or drink tea or coffee I thought food stains would brush away, but obviously not. Ho hum, it’s only another three and a bit months until my treatment is over and I can whiten my teeth and have a perfect smile.
When my bands were changed today, for since my last treatment I’d had four twisty ties put on my lower middle teeth to hold the wire more firmly in place and concentrate the tension on that area to correct the bad alignment. My teeth have moved massively in the past few weeks and as a result I had normal bands put on in their place when they were taken off and changed. It is such a relief to have the normal bands as the ties are sharp metal like a sandwich twist and the ends were constantly catching on my lips, rubbing and cutting me, but now they’re gone and I have no discomfort at all. I have to admit that I don’t notice my braces at all anymore and a friend asked me the other day when was it that I had them removed and I smiled and said “I’ve still got them and I’m almost halfway through my treatment” but as I was talking and eating as normal he’d thought I’d had them taken off already and couldn’t see them which is good to hear. My jaw no longer aches as I think the major movements have happened now and it’s just slight shifting that is needed to complete my treatment. Overall I am very happy with the results that I am getting so far and I get on with my life as usual. I don’t eat chewy or hard food and sweets, but then again I didn’t really have that before my braces anyway. I can’t wait to see the final results and do a before and after comparison because I can’t stop smiling, cosmetic dentistry is so clever!
UPDATE: 21/08/14 Day 84 – 96 To Go
This afternoon I felt a pinch on the inside of my cheek and after running my tongue across my teeth I realised that a bracket had pinged off of my tooth again, and there’s no prize for guessing who the culprit was, my infamous lower wonky side tooth!
I hadn’t done anything different, hadn’t eaten anything hard or knocked my mouth, just the pressure of the wire constantly pulling on the tooth was too much for the surface and the bracket let go once more. It’s frustrating to have so many set backs as I want my treatment to be as quick and efficient as possible, but at the same time I still realise that my teeth were and still are misaligned and need help and guidance to correct them. So I called the dentist late afternoon to see if they could fit me in in the next couple of days for a repair, expecting to reach the out of hours answer machine, but a member of staff answered.
As it was Thursday they stay open until 8pm and advised if I could get across within the next hour then they could do it for me straight away which was fantastic. So I left my children tucked up in bed with a sitter and whizzed over to have my bracket reattached. This time I didn’t have my teeth filed, just the wire removed, bracket reglued and new bands fitted.
The dentist explained that although the bracket pinging off is annoying there isn’t anything more that can be done, as it is glued to the surface of the tooth. If it was the wire pinging off of the bracket it could be held on with a stronger band, but there is no other way to attach a bracket safely to the tooth without causing damage other than using glue. So we have to be patient, hope that it remains in place for as long as possible, and gradually as it corrects the misalignment then the pressure should decrease and it will become less likely to detach itself.
I had a twisty band fitted to my upper left tooth at the front in the hope of focusing upon correcting the upper alignment. I no longer have twists on my bottom teeth at all, as these have been replaced with regular rubber donuts once more. It’s effectively a metal band twizzled around the wire and bracket to hold them more firmly in place and create greater tension on the tooth. As a result my top tooth is aching and feeling a little tender as the tension is far more noticeable than the rest of my braces. Given the way that my other wires responded on the bottom teeth I’m expecting it to feel tender for two or three days and gradually ease off until I no longer notice them.
It’s a pretty exciting time as I have just under 100 days to go until the end of my six month treatment. I’m a few days off of the half way point and have noticed such a great change in the alignment of my teeth. When I look back at how they first were and how they are now after just three months it’s astonishing. I’m very pleased with my results so far and the time is going so incredibly quickly, my braces no longer look or feel obvious and I am talking completely normally, aside from when a bracket catches my lip and makes it sore. But overall my experience has been very positive and worthwhile. Now let’s get to that finish line so that I can show you my results!
UPDATE: 01/09/14 Day 95 – 85 To Go
Four days ago my braces broke off again and it’s the most frustrating thing ever. I ate a McDonald’s veggie burger in a soft bun with chips, which I never have, and when I went to brush my teeth after, my notorious lower side bracket had come off the wire completely and the lower front bracket had snapped off and was sticking into my lip. As my dentist was on holiday I had to wait until this morning for an appointment at 08:30am to have it replaced.
I had the two brackets reattached and my lower teeth filed, wire reattached and new bands fitted. The procedure took less than an hour and wasn’t uncomfortable at all, it’s just the inconvenience of my braces breaking off so often and having to find childcare to book in for an appointment. Aside from that I am very pleased with my results and treatment so far and can’t wait to cross the finish line and have them removed.
UPDATE: 10/09/14 Day 104 – 76 To Go
Today I had my monthly scheduled checkup and for the first time ever nothing was wrong with my braces. No unhinged wire or broken brackets and no tenderness or cut lips from rubbing. I came in with a smile and left forty minutes later just as happy as always.
Today I had my wires changed – hoorah! What an epic milestone that was, as up until now my wires have remained the same as when I first had them put on just over three months ago and my bands were replaced each month to keep tension. Now that I have new wires I can really feel the pressure on my teeth, as these are thicker and stronger. My dentist explained that my teeth had to begin with the first wire because they were so wonky to start with, but now that they have made the majority of their movement the stronger wire could be used to pull them into the final position, and he’s really happy, as am I, with the progress that I’ve made so far.
The last part of the treatment is always the most frustrating, as I was told before it even began that the majority of movement will happen in the first few months and then it may seem to stop still for the final few months. However, changes are happening constantly throughout and every day counts, so I am happy to keep going above and beyond the finish line if needs be, but fingers crossed, by the looks of it I’m on target for the perfect smile in just six months of having my treatment.
To fit the new wires my dentist took two horseshoe shaped thicker white wires, removed the existing ones from my teeth and measured them up against each other to trim them to the same length, one for the top and one for my bottom set of teeth. He then filed the spaces between my teeth, clicked the new wires into the brackets and pinged them into place with new rubber donuts. So far I’ve had metal twists on particularly slow-to-move teeth, as this holds the wire to the bracket more firmly using the added tension to get things moving, and after an assessment of my top teeth today my dentist decided my top teeth needed even more tension.
So not only do I have thicker wires to pull my teeth oh so perfectly into place, but I also have a chain fitted to two of my upper left teeth which need to twist into position. The chain is a loop that anchors the two teeth together very firmly and because of it’s constant pressure it feels as though somebody is pressing on my teeth even now. My mouth has been very tender all afternoon and it’s difficult for me to eat as when I try to bite my entire mouth hurts like all of my teeth want to come loose and fall out.
Much like before when my braces first went on, I’m expecting my teeth to feel tender for the next day or so as my mouth adjusts, and as there is no rubbing or soreness I’m not in any pain, my teeth and bones just feel very delicate and it’s not very nice trying to chew as it puts a lot of pressure on my teeth. I know that this is the ligaments that hold my teeth in place adjusting to where they need to be, and with each day that passes they will be one step closer to reaching the end result, so for now I am going to get an early night, sleep it off and eat lots of soft and mushy food tomorrow, perhaps some soup or milky rice and mashed potatoes. My teeth now look lovely and white as my wires and bands have been changed, and are looking more and more perfect at every checkup. What an amazing transformation already and such a relief to know that those awkward bottom teeth that had caused me so many problems have now given up and are joining the others in a beautifully straight line!
I have my next checkup in another four weeks time on the 8th October, which is just five days before my 27th birthday, and what a lovely present it would be to have my appointment and then book in for my completion date ready for my braces removal in November. Eek!
UPDATE: 15/09/14 Day 109 – 71 To Go
Boo hoo! I guess I jinxed my progress by thinking that my troublesome teeth would behave themselves from now on, as to my surprise I woke this morning to find the bracket on my back left wonky tooth had pinged off yet again.
I am booked in for an evening appointment on 26/09/14 as I couldn’t make any others sooner due to childcare and school runs which is frustrating, so I have ten days to wait until I can have my bracket reattached. Grr!
UPDATE: 26/09/14 Day 120 – 60 To Go
I arrived for my appointment today and my dentist was super impressed with my bottom teeth, as they’ve moved perfectly into alignment in such a short space of time. It is just a few days until I will have had the Six Month Smile four months and I never expected the results this quick. He said if it wasn’t for my top teeth I could have finished my lower treatment today.
Despite my lower teeth having started out incredibly wonky in comparison to my upper ones, the bottom have moved quickly into alignment whilst the top have hardly budged at all. There are two overlapping teeth at the top that have refused to move at all, and much like the story of the tortoise and the hare, it’s only towards the end now that we’ve come to realise what a sticking point these teeth are being.
He changed my wires today, this being my third time now, to the thickest wire available top and bottom in preparation for the completion of my treatment. He filed spaces between my top teeth and also placed a chain and metal tie on my overlappers to again increase the pressure on moving them apart. I never imagined my treatment could be finished in four months instead of six, but he doesn’t want to remove my braces until both sets are where they should be for alignment which I fully understand. I am more than happy to wait it out as I wouldn’t want to waste the time and effort spent so far, so we shall see how they move by my next appointment in two weeks time.
UPDATE: 08/10/14 Day 132 – 48 To Go
I woke up this morning with a tender upper jaw and when I visited my dentist he said it was from the ligaments moving as my final teeth adjusted. I was absolutely elated to be told that my top teeth had moved enough now for my treatment to be complete. The dentist asked me if I was happy to end my treatment now and if the alignment was what I’d hoped for and I told him that I am elated. I can’t believe how quickly my teeth have moved and the difference it has made to my smile. My entire lower jaw has moved in just four months, that’s two months quicker than expected!
Although I am ready to have my braces removed it couldn’t happen today as a mould had to be taken of my teeth in their new position first, a wire will then be created to attach to the back of my teeth to prevent them from moving back out of place in future and I can have this fitted in two weeks time. To take the moulds I had my wires removed and a purple paste put into a metal gum tray and pushed over my teeth, which was held in place for a few minutes until it set. As I still had my brackets on my teeth it made it quite difficult to remove the moulds, and with my upper teeth feeling tender it was incredibly painful. As the dentist wiggled the mould free from my upper teeth it felt like my teeth were going to snap out and my eyes were streaming with tears with my hands clammy with sweat. It’s a feeling I never want to experience again. Thankfully my lower teeth weren’t tender at all, so when the mould was pulled out it was nothing more than a little extra tugging and wiggling until it popped out from the brackets. If my upper teeth hadn’t have been tender I doubt it would have hurt me at all, I’m just incredibly thankful right now that it’s over and my treatment is soon to be complete.
I am due to have my braces removed on 22nd October 2014, which is a week after my 27th birthday. I dreamed it would be complete before Christmas, let alone by my birthday. So now I’m counting down the days until I can have my perfect smile! Eek!
UPDATE: 23/10/14 Day 147 – 33 To Go
I received a phonecall from the dentist a couple of days ago asking if I would mind changing my appointment to this evening instead of yesterday due to time constraints which I said was fine, so as a result my braces came off today instead of yesterday.
I was so excited to get to my appointment that I got there super early and read some fashion magazines whilst waiting. My appointment took just under an hour and a half and I literally couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear the entire time. To begin with I had my new wires fitted to the back of my teeth before taking my braces off to ensure that they were a perfect fit. To do this the dentist used a spatula and a variety of pastes to apply to the back of my middle front teeth top and bottom. Some roughened the surface of the tooth to allow the paste to grip, and others were set with a UV light, with the 2inch wire held in place with a clip until it set. Effectively the wire is glued to the front middle teeth to prevent them from shifting out of place, and as the front teeth can’t move out of position the side and back teeth remain in place.
Despite having a layer of glue across the back of my teeth it isn’t massively noticeable to me. I don’t speak any differently and the wire can’t catch on my tongue as it’s sealed in a clear glue all over. I think it’s far easier than wearing removable braces at night indefinitely, as it stays there untouched forever and I can’t mess up by forgetting to wear it or it getting lost or broken. Food can’t get caught in it so it’s hygienic, and very discreet as the glue is clear and the wires very small. It was certainly the best option for maintaining my new teeth.
Once my wires were in place my braces could then be removed. To do this the dentist used a pair of pincers to grip each bracket and twist them off. I was expecting it to pull or hurt but I didn’t feel a thing, I only heard a crunching sound as the plastic brackets broke off, still attached to the wires so nothing fell into my mouth, and when they were all unhooked he lifted the wire out of my mouth with the brackets attached and my teeth feeling naked. After removing the brackets and wires from my top and bottom teeth the dentist then used a drill to file off the remaining glue from the surface of my teeth.
I’ve never had a drill used on my teeth before and again I expected it to hurt, perhaps burn, vibrate or cause a short sharp shooting pain, but as it was only to the front surface of my teeth I didn’t feel a thing. It was a little noisy with its whirring sounds in my mouth, and it smelt quite strange like burning material when you do the ironing, but other than that I didn’t feel a thing and nervously kept very still just incase it caught my lips or gums, which fortunately it didn’t! After the glue was drilled off the dentist then used a fizzy metallic piece on his handset to polish my teeth, much like a mop or rough scrubbing brush it whizzed across the front of my teeth and made them beautifully smooth and shiny. I couldn’t help but rub my tongue across my teeth and smile for how big and empty my mouth felt. Finally the dentist drilled off the two fillings from my back teeth which had been used to keep my bite open so that my teeth didn’t knock against the brackets, and now I can close my mouth and bite my teeth together and it feels so alien but great to be able to eat properly again.
And that was the end of my treatment! The very final part of my Six Month Smile treatment is complete and I am over the moon with the results and time span, as it finished over a month earlier than expected and a year and a half sooner than any other procedure available. Where my upper teeth were overlapped before, now my front tooth has come into position it has shown a chip to the corner of the tooth that was hidden before when it was wonky, so I’ll be having it built up with a filling after I’ve had my teeth whitened to the desired brightness I’d like first so that the dentist can colour match it. I can’t believe how quick this has all happened, and although I had my fair share of brackets breaking and wires pinging off, it is unbelievable just how much it’s changed my jawline. My lower teeth are almost unrecognisable and I feel elated to smile now instead of worrying about exposing my wonky teeth. In a way I miss my braces as they’d become a part of my daily life, but I’m so happy that they’re off and now I needn’t worry about staining them with curry or eating hard sweets and chewing gum.
The Six Month Smile has made a massive difference to my confidence and it’s the best treatment that I could have chosen. I’m so pleased that I did my research first and took the time to investigate every method available, and now that it’s complete I have no doubt that fixed braces were the best option for time, cost and results. I wish you all the best in your dental journeys and welcome you to leave your thoughts, feelings and feedback for me below. Happy smiling!
UPDATE: 01/06/15 My Teeth Have Moved Out Of Line
Since I finished my Six Month Smile I’ve had my top middle tooth rebuilt to replace the corner that had worn away when my teeth were wonky for so long, this took less than half an hour and involved rebuilding the missing part of the tooth with filler, termed as a “cosmetic filling” for £100. Today I attended my regular six month general checkup at the dentist and unfortunately it was found that my front bottom teeth have moved. My dentist tested the wire on the back on my lower teeth which are designed to hold them in place and stop them from moving following treatment, and was shocked that the wire still fit me perfectly, held tight at every point of contact and hadn’t failed at all, yet somehow my two middle teeth had moved out of alignment.
I didn’t feel or notice the alignment changing at all, and although I brush my teeth 2-3 times each day I didn’t study them closely enough to pick up on it as I’m a busy single mum of two young children so it’s a case of tooth brush in, swish it around, rinse and run back to the kids again rather than spending hours in front of the mirror. My dentist said he was baffled as to how only my two middle teeth could move like this whilst the wire had remained perfectly in place and he’d never seen anything like it.
I’d just like to point out that this isn’t a fault from my Six Month Smile treatment, as it corrected my teeth perfectly in super fast time for which I was, and still am very surprised and happy with how fast my teeth moved into alignment and the results I achieved. However it seems that as my teeth enjoy moving so much, the wire that I chose as my aftercare device to prevent my teeth from shifting out of place following treatment probably isn’t the strongest method for my requirements. So we spoke about how we could go about stopping further movement and addressing the movement that had happened since the end of my treatment. It took six months of having my wire on after my treatment ended for only my two middle teeth to shift, which although it’s very slow and gradual, it has made a big difference to the alignment of my teeth. Despite having your teeth straightened they will continue to shift for the rest of your life so it’s essential to find a method of keeping them in place permanently. 9/10 the wire is a very safe and reliable method to maintain the position of teeth, but I guess I must be the 1/10 in this unlucky case.
Therefore my dentist suggested we move the teeth back into position once more with a clear aligner, before fixing a wire and backing this up with a night time retainer to provide maximum protection against movement. Whilst my first thoughts when wanting to have my teeth straightened was to go for a clear aligner, I ultimately chose the Six Month Smile fixed braces for the fastest speed and best results. However, as I only have two teeth to move this time rather than an entire mouth, my dentist advised the best method for me would now be an aligner which would involve having mouldings of my teeth taken and two clear trays made up to be worn daily for six weeks to complete my treatment. Then when he’s happy with the alignment of my teeth the new wire can be moulded as well as my night time retainer. I’m also going to have my bottom teeth built up to make them more square in appearance, as some corners have rounded off and chipped away from where they were wonky for so long, but this can only take place once my teeth are back in line. So today I had my old wire removed, and mouldings taken of my bottom teeth to prepare the aligner trays I need, and I’ll return for my appointment in a couple of weeks to have them fitted.
UPDATE: 16/06/15 Fitting My Clear Aligner
Today I returned to my dentist to have my aligner fitted, this started by filing gaps between my lower bottom teeth which wasn’t as tight as my original treatment but still had a little friction. Filing gaps with what looks like metal sandpaper helps the teeth to move more freely and worked great to complete my Six Month Smile treatment in super fast time, it didn’t hurt but just felt like a gritty rubbing sensation between my teeth like when you get food stuck. My dentist showed me the two trays I now have for which the first is worn for two weeks before being switched to the second and then I return for a checkup at week four to make sure the movement is happening as it should.
My dentist has used NimroDENTAL Orthodontic Laboratory trays to correct my teeth which are completely clear and surprisingly strong, smooth like plastic yet far more rigid like a gumshield without being bulky. He doesn’t provide Invisalign, but the Invisalign trays that I first saw at my consultation with a different dentist were half the thickness of these and rather flimsy in comparison. The tray clicked very firmly into place on my bottom teeth providing immediate tension which I could feel on my middle teeth, again it didn’t hurt or catch but I was aware of a slight pushing sensation. It felt strange to talk but he said I’d get used to it in a few hours time and there’s very little maintenance needed. In order to prevent the aligner from staining I should either avoid coloured drinks or take it out when I want to drink, especially red wine, green tea, coffee and fizzy drinks which I don’t have anyway as I usually have green tea or water. It should always be removed to eat, not only to prevent it from staining but also to allow you to chew properly as it is smooth across the teeth and provides no resistance for chewing. The aligners must be worn 24/7 day and night and only removed to eat or brush and other than that they’re incredibly discreet and easy to use.
Within a couple of hours of having my aligner fitted I was speaking as normal. To start with the bottom of my tongue felt a little tender from rubbing on the side of the aligner that finishes on my gumline, but now it has adjusted and isn’t catching at all, I think it was from where my mouth was adjusting to something being in it that I was holding my tongue differently for a while. Returning home nobody could tell I was wearing braces on my lower teeth and said how amazingly discreet it was, far more so than the Six Month Smile. However if I’d have had the clear aligners for my original treatment then white square brackets would have been fitted to my teeth to push them in the right directions which would have left lumps everywhere and not looked as minimal as these, so I believe I made the right choice in not having these to start with.
UPDATE: 17/06/15 Day One With My Clear Aligner
I slept perfectly fine with my clear aligner last night and it’s very non intrusive, easy to wear and incredibly discreet. I cannot fault it’s design in any way and am relieved that in six weeks time my teeth will be back to position. The only problem I have with the aligners is the fact of removing them, as it’s very difficult and sometimes painful to do. Because they have to be taken out every time that I eat, I’ve now switched my days to eating just two large meals a day instead of three average sized portions and the odd snack, simply to minimise the amount of times that I have to remove them. I’m no longer snacking between meals as it’s far too difficult to get the aligners out, and I drink only water throughout the day whilst they are in place.
Popping the aligner in is easy as pie, as it sits over the teeth and you push it down and it clicks into place holding super tight. However getting it out is literally impossible with my fingers alone, as pulling on the aligner from underneath bent back all of my finger nails and it didn’t even budge at all. I’ve therefore had to resort to using two teaspoons, one at either side of my mouth on the outside of my teeth which I hook under the aligner and pull upwards at the same time. This takes me a few minutes and numerous attempts to remove my aligner in a mirror with my teaspoons which catch on my gums if I slip or lose grip, and it puts pressure on my teeth as I try to lift them out, much like wiggling a screwdriver in the lid of a paint tin to prize it off, only every time you want to eat.
When the aligner is eventually out my teeth feel slightly tender and unsupported because the pressure has suddenly stopped, and so when I chew I chew delicately before brushing my teeth and putting my aligner straight back in. In all my aligner is out just twice a day for perhaps half an hour in total whilst I eat my two meals. When it’s in it’s fine and no fuss at all, but getting it out is the worst part of my day. I’m hoping as the weeks pass the aligner might become easier to remove with wear and tear, because right now I’m actually dreading it and I wouldn’t dream of going out for lunch and having to struggle in public with removing my aligner with spoons. But I can imagine if it does get easier and looser with time then the next tray that goes in will be just as stiff and I’ll have the exact same problem over again. Well, six weeks of no snacking and tap water here we go! On the bright side it’s sorting out my diet and healthy eating again and a good insight into the treatments available for teeth straightening as I’d never have got to experience this method otherwise. For initial comfort the clear aligners are far easier to wear, hardly noticeable and quick to adapt to speaking normally, but taking them out is difficult and leaves the teeth feeling tender. With fixed braces they initially take some getting used to, you can eat and drink as usual and don’t need to touch them at all and the results are far quicker with the teeth always supported. I guess it all depends on what you’re prepared to put up with to reach the end goal. But hey ho, each day is one step closer to ditching my teaspoons! I’ll let you know how I get on in two weeks time when I change to my next tray.
UPDATE: 23/06/15 Day Six With My Clear Aligner
Thankfully my aligner has become easier to remove as the days go by, and from starting off using my two teaspoons I’m now about to remove it with just my thumbs. I’ve found the best area to grip it is either side of the middle teeth at the front, and although I’ve bent back a few nails in doing so, it’s not half as difficult as it was at the start of the week.
The more times you take it in and out the easier it is to remove it, and as the teeth begin to shift the aligner becomes less tight because it’s doing its job. Although I feel no pressure on my teeth anymore, I have another week of wearing my aligner before I change to my second one. Despite it being easier to remove it doesn’t wobble or lift off in my mouth and fits very much like a second skin to the teeth. It’s incredibly discreet and comfortable to wear, and where I thought before I had it that I’d have to remove it to speak and for photos or special occasions I’m now happy to leave it in. I’m already noticing my teeth straightening up after just six days and have a feeling that like my Six Month Smile my results will be far sooner than the six weeks predicted for this treatment.
UPDATE: 29/06/15 Day Thirteen With My Clear Aligner
Now that I’ve had my first aligner tray in for two weeks it’s time to change it to my second tray and as soon as I click it into place it began putting pressure on my bottom teeth and for the first half an hour or so I was very aware of it. As I’ve been speaking and drinking water this morning I’ve gradually adjusted and now I no longer notice it at all. However, just like before, the new tray is now very tight and precise on my teeth making it impossible for me to remove it with my fingers so I’m back to using my beloved two teaspoons to prize the aligner out before meals, but thankfully I know that in a couple of days it will go back to being removable with my thumbs, I just have to wait it out.
Here’s a progress snap of my teeth without my aligner and I’m already noticing them moving into position. These past two weeks have literally flown by and I’ve come to realise what a non-invasive, discreet and wonderful experience the aligners are, as they’re far more manageable than fixed braces, although if given the choice of having these for 2 years to complete my treatment or the Six Month Smile for the 4 months that it took I would still choose the Six Month Smile because to me the best results in the shortest time is of the greatest convenience. In another two weeks I have an appointment to see my dentist when I’ll be one month into my six week treatment and then I can hopefully have my wire fitted, the chips rebuilt on my lower teeth and my night time shield moulded, and if the time goes as fast as it has been I’ll be in there before I know it!
UPDATE: 16/07/15 Fitting My Final Aligner
Today I had my checkup and my dentist is very happy with how my teeth have moved into position. He filed some space between my lower teeth before fitting my final aligner which will stay in place for the next two weeks until my appointment on 3rd August. As I’m having my lower teeth rebuilt, wire fitted and night shield made it means a little extra work than normal around my straightening but it will be worth it for the final results.
My dentist advised that when I return in two weeks time I will have a moulding of my teeth taken in order to create my new wire to be fitted to the back of my lower teeth. After this I can have my lower teeth rebuilt with filler, just like on my top tooth that was missing a corner, and this will square them off and remove the angled edges where my teeth were wonky for so many years. After my teeth have been rebuilt I will then have another mould taken to create my nighttime retainer and once that arrives a week or so later then my treatment will be complete and my teeth will be secure with a permanent wire and removable retainer. So now it’s just a waiting game for the final few weeks and I’m so excited to see the results of my finished smile. It feels like it’s been a long time coming but it’s totally worth it!
UPDATE: 17/08/15 Fitting My New Wire
My dentist called me in the last week to check my teeth and confirmed that my treatment was complete. He then took a mould of my mouth to have my new wire cast and today I had it fitted. First off I took my aligner out and the back of my teeth were lightly drilled to rough up the surface, with several tools and pastes used to stick and set glue on the back of my teeth. My wire was a part of a case that clipped onto my lower teeth and a UV light set it in place. The case was then snapped off and my wire sat perfectly in place as before. Fingers cross this time my teeth won’t move!
Now that my teeth are in the correct position we could discuss the shape of my teeth, as I feel that my top teeth are more square and tidy than my bottom ones which finish at different angles. I’ve already had the corner of one of my top teeth rebuilt with filler after it chipped years ago from when my teeth were wonky. But the problem with using filler to build a tooth is that it can chip off again if I bite too hard, and as my teeth are strong and healthy there’s no need to use a fake tooth to correct the shape. So the other option I have is to have my teeth filed down, which involves using a drill to grind the top of the teeth so that they’re flat. This way the teeth remain my own and strong enough to bite and chew as usual, only it’s important not to remove too much of the tooth or it could effect the way I eat and make my bottom teeth too short compared to the top.
Having my teeth drilled level wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, as I thought it would feel a bit like biting down on a fork but I didn’t have any shooting pain or discomfort at all. It was just a slight pressing feeling and the sound of the drill spinning as a water tube sucked in my mouth and after a few seconds it was done. If my two middle bottom teeth were filed too low it would make the tall side teeth look out of proportion, so just the point in the middle was removed and already it makes such a difference. My teeth look far more natural for being filed rather an rebuilt and I don’t have to worry about breaking or fading if I’d have gone for a fake option.
Once I confirmed I was happy with the final shape and alignment of my teeth another moulding was taken with my wire in place and my teeth filed down so that a night time retainer could be cast. I have to go back in a week or so when it’s been made so that I can collect it, so I’m awaiting a phone call to let me know when it’s in. Then I only have to wear my retainer at night to prevent my teeth from shifting. Hoorah! The finish line is in sight.
I’d love to hear what you think of my new teeth and if it’s helped you to make up your mind on what treatment to have. Whilst our teeth will never look 100% perfect we can greatly improve their appearance by having them straightened and well looked after. You only have once set of adult teeth so take care of them and always brush thoroughly.
UPDATE: 24/08/15 My Nighttime Aligner Is ready!
My dentist gave me my nighttime aligner today and I simply had to pop it onto my teeth to make sure it fit. I only have a bottom aligner as these are the teeth that moved and my top have remained perfectly in place. When I clipped my aligner in it felt ever so slightly snug on my front middle teeth and my dentist advised I should wear it like my regular aligner for as much time as possible to begin with to ensure my teeth are held in place. Once the aligner isn’t as tight on my teeth then I can wear it just at night when I sleep. Or if I’d like to I can wear it 24/7 as it doesn’t just have to be at night, it’s just maintaining the position of my teeth when it’s convenient for me. Hoorah!
UPDATE: 15/09/15 My Top Wire Has SnappedYesterday I noticed an aching feeling in my top tooth, the same trouble maker that was linked with a chain for so many months to pull it into place when it refused to move. Looking in the mirror I could see nothing wrong with it but it felt tender all day like I’d bashed it, but nothing remarkable had happened. I hadn’t eaten anything hard or bitten down at a funny angle, as my vegan diet is mostly brown rice and lentils as opposed to opening bottle tops with my teeth or chewing through and tearing dried meat. But by the time I brushed my teeth when I got home I was able to properly inspect my tender tooth and realised with the help of my camera phone that the wire on the back of my tooth had completely snapped off.
I have no idea exactly when it happened or what I was doing at the time, as my day was pretty normal and I ate as I normally would, it’s not like I’d tried to floss or pick at my wire, so it see it snapped clean off was very surprising. I called my dentist and thankfully he got me in very quickly to take a look at it. I was expecting to have to have the wire removed, remoulded and a new one fitted like before, perhaps with an upper aligner for night time use like my bottom teeth, but my dentist advised that it could be corrected by using filler to mould the two teeth in place from behind so that’s what I had.
He roughed up the back surface of my tooth with a grinding tool before applying the filler putty and setting it with a UV light which took around five minutes from start to finish. I still have no idea how my wire broke but I have a feeling that as it’s the tooth that I had so much problem with before that it may be trying to move out of alignment now and this might not be the end of it. I’m crossing my fingers that the filler will hold it in place and this isn’t the case, but it seems my teeth are anything but straight-forward! Eek!