Lingual braces V Aligners

Hello ūüôā In my last post, I promised a video which would detail how I was getting along with the new aligners.¬†Luckily for you, I decided against using my rough¬†film-making skills¬†and have¬†proceeded with¬†a bit of writing instead.

Aligners?¬†¬†Clear aligners look a bit like a clear, thin mouthguard. You get a smaller size as you go along and they are a system which is gaining popularity in the world of adult tooth straightening. I was given a set of three aligners which¬†were designed to pull back my lower teeth so that my top teeth wouldn’t clash with them and treatment could be finished.

I thought it’d be a good idea to give an account of my short experience and compare it with my lingual braces which have been fixed onto the back of my top teeth for just over 10 months now. Here’s my verdict…

The Good

I am¬†really glad that I have been using these aligners because they have helped me move closer to having the teeth/smile¬†that I desire. Secondly, if worn for the amount of time that Dr Chatoo suggests (twenty¬†hours a day), the aligners seem to work quite quickly. I am lucky that my¬†lower teeth weren’t as bad as my top set. They had just a few mild,¬†wonky issues and because of this, I¬†saw movement after just three-four days of wearing the first aligner.

The bad

I wasn’t sure whether to entitle this section ‘ the bad’ or just ‘I’m bad’ because to be honest, the negative bit¬†of having my aligners is really down to me being a bit naughty. You’d think that being able to take my aligner out when I wished would have been a perk but in my experience, it became a bit of a curse. Knowing that I could just pop that bit of plastic out of my mouth when it got irritating or when I felt like it, was overwhelmingly tempting and¬†I¬†found that I started to¬†do it a lot. It got so bad that one morning, I spotted¬†my aligners on the floor, on the other side of the room-carelessly flung out of my mouth in middle of the night.

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Why I like lingual

Maybe it’s just that certain systems suit different people or maybe it’s lack of willpower on my part but I did find the aligners quite¬†hard¬†to get used to.

Discovering that I had a reckless attitude towards aligners is another reason why I am pleased that I chose to have lingual treatment on my upper teeth. Yes, the braces took some getting used to but because they were fixed to the back of my teeth, I had little choice but to get used to them and after just one to two months in, I even started to forget that they were there.

Before I got braces, I remember worrying a lot about what I would eat but later found that this was only an issue for the first few days. During this time, I ate as much soft food as I could. It was also quite easy to be creative with food choices. ( See an earlier post for some ideas!) By the second week, with just a little more care, I was eating whatever I wanted.

Both systems have played their part in creating my ‘new smile’. In some ways, having my teeth straightened has been a journey, I no longer hide behind a hand when I laugh or cringe at the size of my gap in pictures.¬†In others way, it’s been an¬†easy ride. Being able to see the gap in my teeth closing has been really exciting and I can’t believe that it won’t be long until the braces come off. What I’ve learnt so far is that with a good orthodontist and the right treatment, the positive side of lingual braces far out ways the negative.

 

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Bad breath and braces | 5 ways to avoid it

No one likes to¬†talk about it and it’s something that everyone wants to avoid.

Bad breath

The truth is that wearing braces can increase your chances of having bad breath.  The reason for this is that there are more places for food particles to get trapped. In my experience, having braces fitted to the back of my teeth, with my tongue in constant contact can quickly make my mouth seem quite dry. Dehydration and left over, trapped food can cause problems with smelly breath. To help totally avoid the dreaded stink while you are having orthodontic treatment, follow my 5 tips:

  1. Stay on top of your dental health-¬†A good dental health¬†routine¬†is important even if you aren’t wearing braces¬†but for the time that you are, sticking to it is absolutely essential. When your braces were first fitted, your orthodontist probably ran through some ways that you should be using your tooth brush. I have found that you have to be much more thorough and really get in between all of the gaps and brackets. Floss is way¬†more difficult to use when you have braces. To be honest,¬†I don’t always do it but on the whole, orthodontists and dentists recommend using it so just try and work with it! ¬†With lingual braces, you should spend quite a lot of time cleaning the BACK of your teeth. Don’t forget that teeth have 5 sides, so paying attention to all of these as well as your tongue and gums ( be gentle) is essential.

2. Carry a travel kit- Carrying a travel sized toothbrush, paste, mini mouth wash, if you are a new brace wearer- ortho wax and floss is a really good idea. With a travel kit in your bag, you never have to worry about getting caught short after a meal or worrying about lingering bad breath when you’re out.

3. Drink lots of water- Have you ever had dry mouth¬†or¬†know that pang of worry¬†when your mouth starts to taste weird and you’re in mid-conversation? I can tell you that this feeling is increased by 100%¬†when you have braces! Aside from the obvious reasons, drinking lots of water will help wash away in unwanted food particles and stay¬†hydrated, thus helping to avoid bad breath.¬†In 2010, a report from The EU¬†Food Safety Authority suggested that the minimum levels of water we should all be drinking is¬†2 litres for men and 1.6 litres for women. It’s good for your skin, your brain and your mouth so just grab yourself a bottle and try to carry water around with you when you can.

4. Avoid sticky, moderate sugary and don’t eat smelly foods when you’re about to head out-¬†This is a no brainer for anyone, even without braces. Eat delicious onions, garlic and strong cheese to your hearts content… but remember that they can linger on the breath so not always best¬†eaten before a meeting or night out. The stuff to moderate is sugar. Frequent contact with sugary drinks and food can and will cause tooth decay which is bad in itself and poor dental health can contribute to bad breath. Although I have been found guilty of continuing to chew chewing gum with my braces on :/ , sticky stuff will get stuck in your braces. It is hard to clean away and the best practice is just to avoid it altogether.

5. See the hygienist-¬†Luckily, my orthodontist offers a hygiene service and if yours does too, make sure you book in at least once a year during your treatment. If this service isn’t on offer, just make an appointment at your dental practice with your normal hygienist. Regular examinations and cleaning are an essential way of helping you stay dentally healthy and smelly breath- freeee!

Food that got me through my first week with lingual braces

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Before I got my braces, lots of people said that the early stages were a difficult time for eating and a great time to lose weight. The idea of giving up my normal pile of food at meal times made me feel angry!

I therefore made it a¬†mission to find some¬†meal ideas that I could enjoy without damaging the¬†brace or applying too much pressure on my¬†teeth. A lot of it is about substitution and avoiding really hard and crunchy food. Here’s an example of what worked for me¬†during the first few days.

Breakfast

David Blaikie Flickr CCL
David Blaikie Flickr CCL

Cook some porridge or use muesli as a base. Add some fresh blueberries and raspberries or whatever fruit you have in the house. Layer on plain yogurt and drizzle some honey. I found this to be a good substitute for crunchy cluster-type cereal. Exchanging the clusters for porridge or muesli makes for a smoother ride all round!

Lunch

Nicoise Salad

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Any type of salad is gonna be good although it can get caught in the back of the brace. If you have a tooth brush handy, this isn’t a problem. Gobble to your heart’s content!

It’s easy: Fresh salad, hard boiled eggs, tuna (tinned) , raddish, green beans (boiled for a few minutes), new potatoes ( pre boiled) , tomatoes and anchovies if you’re feeling salty! ūüėČ

 Dinner

Ricotta and spinach lasagne

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Without laying on the mush, this was kindly made for me by my boyfriend on my first night¬†with braces. It’s a great version¬†of the Italian classic and it’s soft texture makes for a no-skimping, hearty meal¬†without the tooth ache.

You will need:

  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Stock
  • Fresh basil
  • 2 x punnett of ricotta
  • Spinach ( fresh or frozen)
  • Parmezan
  • Mozerella
  • Fresh Lasagne sheets
  • Salt and pepper

Method

The tomato sauce

1) Finely chop one onion, a stick of celery and a carrot. Sweat these in a sauce pan with virgin olive oil for a few minutes. Add one crushed clove of garlic, cook for a few minutes before adding a tin of chopped tomatoes.

2) Make up a cup/half a pint of stock and pour that into the sauce pan and then season with salt and pepper to taste as well as a handful of fresh basil.

Tip: If you find that the sauce is a little bitter, add a tiny bit of sugar. If it’s slightly sweet, a tiny bit of vinegar.

3) Let this simmer on a low heat and leave to cook for 15- 20 mins or until it has reached a nice consistency.

The Ricotta Mixture

1) Mix 2 punnetts of ricotta into a bowl with grated parmesan cheese and a small amount of fresh ( if you can) or frozen spinach.

2) Add 3 tea spoons of grated nutmeg and black pepper.

Putting it together

1) Part boil your fresh lasagne sheets and lay a few in the bottom of a good sized baking dish

2) Start making alternate layers of your tomatoes based sauce, ricotta mixture, pieces of ripped mozerella cheese, grated parmezan and your lasagne sheets. The last layer should be a sheet of lasagne and feel free to add some of your parmesan to the top of this to crisp in the oven.

3) Once your lasagne has been layered, pop the baking dish in the oven for half an hour on 180 ‘ or until lightly golden.