I have been wanting to have my teeth straightened for sometime now as had never really been that happy with how they looked. Despite wearing train track braces as a teenager which did a great job of straightening my teeth, over time and once my wisdom teeth came through, they slowly started to push back out of shape again and I became conscious that they were no longer the lovely straight teeth (I’d only too briefly it seemed) once had. They were definitely in need of some attention so I spoke to my dentist who recommended Smilelign clear braces to help give me the smile I’d been craving for years. I was delighted therefore that Smilelign wanted to collaborate with me, as I document my journey over the next 12-14 months, while having my treatment.
What to Expect in the First Six Weeks
My treatment began with a visit to my dentist who took moulds of my teeth for my braces, the first of which was a temporary ‘trial’ brace ready within two weeks of my first appointment. At my second appointment I returned to view some fascinating 3D models on screen showing how my teeth currently looked and how they would look once the treatment had finished. I was told to expect the treatment on my upper teeth to take around 12 months and 14 months for my bottom teeth. I would need a series of braces which would be changed every 3-4 weeks. I then took my trial brace home to wear for the day and overnight to see how it felt and to make sure I was happy with it.
On confirmation that I was happy with how the brace felt, I then returned a further two weeks later, to have my first formal brace fitted. During this appointment, I had what I can only describe as dots of cement (I’m sure it’s not actually cement but for argument sake let’s call it that) added to a number of my upper and lower front teeth to help create friction between the teeth and the brace to help the teeth move – you can see in the picture of my teeth above how it looks.
When the braces were initially fitted I did feel a bit like Jaws (the James Bond baddie not the fish) and found myself talking to the dentist like he’d removed my tongue at the same time (much to his amusement). Luckily this and the strange Elvis lip curl I found myself doing, lasted no longer than the rest of the afternoon.
I had been warned that my braces would feel tight for the first few days but would loosen up after that and in the meantime, I was to use the little blue hook to remove the braces, while they were tight. This was a very accurate description of events to come, however, I had not quite anticipated the vice like grip these clear braces had on my teeth.
On being called by my partner for dinner (and boy was I hungry) I ran to the bathroom to remove my braces. This was easier said than done. I placed the hook to the back of the brace and pulled and pulled and nothing happened – and it hurt too! I started to panic – perhaps the cement had not only glued to my teeth but to my braces too?!
My partner even phoned his dentist friend in Wales, as was alarmed by the mounting fear on my face that I may actually be doomed to go without dinner that evening (cue potential Hulk moment from me). He assured him that they would come out with some degree of force and would loosen up in a few days but to expect me to be ‘a little bit grumpy’ for the next 48 hours. Great. So I persevered and after several rather painful attempts at removing, they eventually after a 15 minute battle, popped out, much to my relief.
Eating my now soggy noodle stir fry wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience in the first instance. Despite my hunger, I was not used to the feeling of the ‘cement’ on my teeth and it sort of felt like I was eating a bowl of noodles that had been dropped on the pavement outside, scraped back into the bowl and re-served (with extra grit for seasoning).
The dentist friend was right. I did feel ‘a bit grumpy’. The good news is that the pain only occurred on removal of the braces in the first few days and in-between there was little discomfort with only some mouth dryness to contend with. Once the first few days were out the way, as if by magic, the braces became much easier to remove and caused no pain either. Hurray! I even got used to eating my meals with the ‘cement’ on my teeth and by the end of the first week, I felt really quite comfortable.
I have been wearing the braces for three weeks now and have my next fitting tomorrow which I am excited about although unsure as to whether I’ll have to go through the same gruelling 48 hours again with the new brace – will update on that in the next Smilelign post…
Although the first few days feel a bit brutal, I was still able to sleep with the braces no problem and have adjusted really well to ‘brace’ life. I drink both hot and cold drinks wearing my brace (although I’m not a coffee drinker so not sure how that would go down – and mainly stick to water and herbal tea) and after meals I either mouth wash or clean my teeth again before replacing the brace. The exciting news is I decided to try my trial brace again last week and even though it had only been two weeks since I’d started wearing this brace, I could no longer make the trial brace fit! So already it seems my teeth are on the move, although I have been advised it will probably take around 4-5 months before I see any really noticeable changes.
So as things go, so far so good and Smilelign has the definite thumbs up from me! Unless I point it out, it seems people don’t generally notice I’m even wearing a brace. I will be charting my progress over the next year with a both a series of posts and a video diary so if you are interested in this topic then please remember to subscribe for future updates. In the meantime, you may want to check out my first Vlog below for more of an insight into life with a Smilelign brace!