While this isn’t the most exciting post title I could think of, I still thought there was a place here to share the nitty gritty of having fixed braces fitted, whether you’re an adult or teenager, I imagine the process is pretty similar. And judging by the questions I’ve had since I started straightening my teeth there’s quite a few of you out there thinking of doing the same thing, so here goes;
Book your assessment, get recommendations & ask what’s involved. This first appointment is crucial to your teeth straightening journey. All dentists aren’t the same, the first I visited made a decision in 10 minutes. My gut feeling wasn’t good so I went for a second opinion at the Exeter Dental Centre which was much more thorough.
X-rays and moulds were taken with a full explanation of the pros and cons. I had the utmost confidence that Alex,my dentist, knew what was best and honestly could have cried when I realised I was on the right track to getting my wonky teeth un-wonkied.
The discussion then centred around which procedure would be best for me; a removable retainer or a fixed brace. Initially I was looking at a retainer which I could take out to eat and clean my teeth. It seemed the quickest, cheapest and most convenient option. But this meant having to do some extra work filing down the 2 front teeth (or something along those lines) so Alex, recommended fixed braces. To be honest, I wasn’t too concerned on how they were straightened, I just wanted them fixed.
Sitting in the dentist chair, listening to the radio, it actually dawned on me that this might not be as pleasant experience as I imagined. With a device in place to hold back my lips (think Wallace from Wallace & Gromit) my teeth were cleaned and that was pretty much the most uncomfortable sensation. The rest was absolutely fine. You have one of those devices in your mouth which blows air & water and you feel a little prodding and pushing but that is about it. I think it was about 30 minutes, possibly less, in all. It may have been longer but I was super relaxed so my judgement might be out. The strangest feeling is when you feel the brace for the first time and trying to talk. I just didn’t know what to do with my lips!
First Few Days
I was warned that I would feel a little discomfort, to take paracetamol, cut up all my food into small pieces and to put wax, which was provided, on the brackets at the back and the wires which could dig into my cheeks. Mouth ulcers were a big possibility and chewy foods, such as pizza crust, sweets and crusty bread were off the menu. I dutifully rolled up small ball of wax and tried to cover the offending and uncomfortable parts but that’s really tricky!
And chewing food was uncomfortable for about a couple of weeks afterwards. With day 4 being one of the worst, each time i tried to eat the wires dug into my cheek causing pain so I stuck to smoothies, yoghurt, porridge and soups. gradually introducing solid food back in.
I’m not going to lie and say it was fine, it wasn’t. I was conscious of how I talked, whether there was food stuck in them (I carried mouthwash, toothpaste & a small interdental tooth-brush everywhere.) by the end of the first week I was fed up having to veto every food I was about to cook or eat and constantly obsessing with making sure the wax was in place. Even mid sentence, with friends, is find myself stopping to fish the wax back in place as the wires were digging in each time I spoke.
But at no point did I regret it.
3 weeks on
You’ll be glad to know that I’m doing fine. I’m no longer using the wax, don’t ask me why, I think the skin inside my cheeks have admitted defeat and built up a resistance. I’m eating normally again, minus curry – they dye the braces yellow, red wine – not a problem as white’s fine, and overly chewy foods. I’m still obsessing about cleaning my teeth, the thought of stray food particles or having badly stained teeth once the brackets are off is a constant niggle but that’s no biggy.
I’m holding conversations normally, every now and then I’ll remember as my lip gets caught as I’m deep in telling someone the latest toddler adventure. I go back in a couple of weeks to get them tightened and have been warned that there may be a little discomfort. But the strange thing is that I’m looking forward to it as I know that they’re doing what they should be doing.
And, and this is a big and, I’m smiling more! I’m no longer trying to hide my wonky crossover away, even beaming in photo shoots showing the world I’m proud of my braces. There’s a slight change already as my dad stopped me mid-conversation to tell me, totally gobsmacked at the difference.
So that’s my story so far if you’re thinking of getting your teeth straightened, do it. I’ve wanted to do it for so long now, and now I’m on the right path, it’s really quite exciting.
(Here’s the full journey, which is now complete!)