A personal account of getting braces
This is a former patient’s views on their experience of treatment with Herts Orthodontics
I’d always had crooked teeth. It was a fact of life. It didn’t get in the way.
I was used to having the two top front ones crossed, but then…
…I think they got worse over time… then I started to whistle during normal speech.
I had on many occasions wished for lovely straight teeth, cringed at my photos, thought about braces… then shrugged at the thought of it. I just wasn’t brave enough, and besides people in their late 30s don’t really do such things.
It was my dentist who commented on my teeth which made me question just how crooked they were, so with some hesitation I booked an orthodontic appointment.
During the consultation I was relieved to discover that about a third of the orthodontic patients were adults. That gave me confidence, as did the friendly and informative nature of the staff. Then I went off to think about it – for months – which was a bad idea. If there’s one piece of advice I’d give it’s ‘just get on with it’. I waited nine months between the first consultation and the start of treatment. I’d wasted what was effectively half of the treatment time.
I had a number of concerns:
- what would my friends think?
- what would my work colleagues think?
- what about intimate things!
I’ll come back to these.
I had photos taken – views from the front, side and inside. This was primarily to compare the before with the end result but during treatment they played a much more significant role. I can assure you that after orthodontic treatment people will look at the photos and say ‘Blimey, I hadn’t noticed that they were that bad’.
The absolute worst bit was having two perfectly good teeth removed. Psychologically it was a big step, and it meant no going back.
The initial three months of treatment were quite intensive with regular visits to insert and remove rubber spacers, attaching the bands (and getting used to the wire around the palate), applying the plates and having the wires changed over time to thinner diameters. Each step marked progress and as I saw things move into place the elation was remarkable.
I did have some down times though. The elastic bands made my gums sore and itchy and later some of the metal bits would scratch the inside of my cheek. My tongue became sore as I explored the wires at night whilst asleep. Also there was some loss of enjoyment of eating. These were infrequent though. More regular problems were limited to getting bits of food wrapped around the wires (mango was the worst). A diary note after 2½ months stated “Do I regret it? No. Am I getting used to it? No”. I think that feeling continues until the end but comparing the ‘now’ with the pre-treatment moulds and the photos kept everything in perspective.
I had ceramic plates on both top and bottom teeth – purely for vanity. For me this was good but it meant not having any red wine or curry. Most people commented that they could hardly see the plates, but after a while I wasn’t bothered anyway. Within three months, although not properly aligned, my teeth were pointing in the right direction. I couldn’t believe it.
I had to adapt the diet quite a bit though. I couldn’t bite into things as before. It’s strange – the pressure causes some discomfort and you have to accept you can’t do anything about it. Breakfast muesli bars were replaced by porridge; crunchy vegetables were substituted for softer ones; salad had to be chopped small. It was also imperative to have about half a dozen toothbrushes and paste handy (in your bag, the office drawer, your best mate’s house) – that urge to brush and clear away lurking lunches is quite overwhelming.
After the first three months things got much easier. Appointments came around fast and before I knew it I was in the chair having the braces removed. This was 15 months ago. I have a permanent wire attached to the inside of my teeth on top and bottom sets which cause no problems whatsoever. I wear a retainer twice a week which is also no bother.
Was it worth it? Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY
Every single day I smile in the mirror. My teeth are fabulous. Getting braces was the right thing.
Would I recommend Herts Orthodontics? ABSOLUTELY – they were professional and supportive throughout.
Now I look very critically at everyone else’s teeth. I’m tempted to go up to some people and say ‘have you thought about having them straightened… I can recommend…’
Back to the questions.
- My friends were fully supportive and admired every step
- My work colleagues gave me heaps of encouragement
- Intimate things – not quite the same!
I’d be delighted to encourage anyone to go ahead with orthodontic treatment and to discuss particular issues. Herts Orthodontics have my number.
Good luck – but you are in good hands.