My Braces Experience!
Not many of you may have noticed, but I have recently had braces on my upper teeth, and damn what a beautiful result!
I had braces as a child, and it was not a pleasant experience. My NHS orthodontist ignored the letter from my dentist stating that I needed them on top and bottom teeth, and decided to only put them on the top. This has meant that my bite has never fit together properly, and always leaves a 1cm gap between my front top and bottom teeth when I bite down. As you can imagine this is infuriating, and will cost a ridiculous amount to fix. He also told me that I only had to wear my retainer every 3 days at night, which was wrong, and resulted in my teeth moving back within 4 months of having them removed. Yet when I went back to the orthodontists, they told me he had left the practice and they had no way of contacting him. Funny that.
This left me with wonky teeth, and from then on, I never really smiled much, at least not a genuine open mouthed smile. However this all changed when I had the braces put back on at my local dentists, Maidstone Dental and Implant Centre.
My orthodontist, Mo, was a lovely, friendly man, and immediately put me at ease about having the braces put back on, and assured me that the results I wanted were easily achievable, and that he could give me the smile I had always wanted. As this was done privately, not on the NHS, I only had the top teeth done. This was for 3 reasons:
1. The cost. I wanted them straightened so that they would look perfect in my wedding photos, however we still had a few things to buy for the wedding. To have both top and bottom done, which would have fixed my bite problem, would have cost just shy of £4,000. If it wasn't for the wedding preparations, I would have had them both done, but I went for just the top teeth, and paid £2,000. It was worth every penny as they look amazing!
2. I have had to deal with the gap between my upper and lower teeth for years, and have got used to it. I have adjusted the way I eat to accommodate it, and no longer see it as a hindrance. I would need to have the top and bottom done at the same time to fix my bite, so that's no longer possible, and I'm okay with that.
3. I have a very full bottom lip, and because of this my bottom teeth are rarely ever visible when I smile, so I didn't want to spend the extra money when it was needed elsewhere. However in the future I will seriously consider having the bottom teeth straightened too.
After the impressions were taken, and the brackets sent to the practice, Mo put them on the back of my teeth so they weren't visible when I spoke. This was a massive plus for me as I am already a very self-conscious and anxious person, but when I looked in the mirror and smiled, no braces were visible at all, I was thrilled!
Having them on the back of my teeth was a whole new experience compared to having them on the front when I was younger; with them being on the back, I would often catch my tongue on the brackets, and on the ends of the wire. It also gave me a bit of a lisp, as my tongue had less room to move when I spoke, but I adapted to this, and it went away after about 3 weeks.
I went back every 3 weeks to have them checked, and see how the teeth were moving along, and I was so shocked at how quickly they moved.
This was how they looked after just 6 weeks. My biggest insecurity was the two teeth next to my front teeth, as they moved very far back, and when I was photographed, a shadow would be cast over them and made it look like they were missing. But after 6 weeks, look how far forward they had come!
And the biggest plus of all? They were self-tightening. No more painful tightening every time I went (if any of you have ever had braces, you know that feeling all too well). I never felt any pain as the teeth moved, and apart from not being able to eat hard or crunchy foods, it wasn't an inconvenience.
After 3 and a half months, they were taken off and the final result was amazing! Another impression was made, and the next day I had my retainer; a clear retainer I am to wear for 6 months straight, then only at night from then on. This retainer is a million times better than the one I had years ago, which was a thick plastic base, with a metal bar which sat on the front of my teeth. I hated it, as it gave me a terrible lisp, and was always visible when I opened my mouth.
This one however is a very thin clear plastic, and yet it's still strong, and when I put it in you can't tell I'm wearing it. And most importantly, it doesn't affect my speech!
Mo also gave me some whitening gel, and made me a custom set of top and bottom whitening trays. Teeth whitening was something I always wanted to try, but was nervous about, as I had visions in my head of ending up like Ross in Friends; where he leaves it on too long and they glow in the dark! Mo assured me this would be gentle, and leave the teeth looking a natural shade.
The trays are a soft, flexible material, with a slight frosted colour to it, and they are very easy to put in and take out. They have little notches on each tooth, where you put a tiny dot of the gel, then pop the tray in and leave it for an hour
I smoke occasionally, nowhere near as much as I used to, and this left the base of my teeth with a slightly yellow hue. After only a few uses, the gel has taken this away and made them all the same shade. I have finished the first pack of the gel, and it has made my teeth beautifully white; but naturally white, not fake looking!
I will be buying a few more packs to keep on hand to use in the lead up to my wedding, photo shoots, and conventions!
Overall, I am thrilled with how they look, and cannot thank Mo and the team enough for all their work! If you live in Maidstone, or the surrounding areas and are thinking about braces or teeth whitening, I recommend popping in to Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre. The team are incredibly friendly, and they are very efficient in every aspect of their work. You guys have changed my life, you've given me my smile back, and I couldn't be happier!
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