Hi folks, Just stopping by to let you know that my lingual braces have been removed.
In just under one year, with lingual braces across the top and a short stint with clear aligners on the bottom, my smile is straight and gap free. It feels great to be able to bite into a baguette without worrying and I have to admit that I do catch myself flashing a secret smile in the mirror from time to time. 😉
The clinic’s therapist, Helena took the wires and brackets away and replaced them with a thin, inconspicuous wire which will remain on the back of my teeth as a permanent retainer to keep everything in place. Dr Chatoo then had some removable retainers made (a great belt and braces approach!) which I am due to pick up in a few weeks.
So now’s the time for a before and after. I really am so happy with my result. I can’t recommend Asif and his team at LLOC highly enough.
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.
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!
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! 😉
Ricotta and spinach lasagne
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:
2 x punnett of ricotta
Spinach ( fresh or frozen)
Fresh Lasagne sheets
Salt and pepper
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.
I took the tube to Oxford Street for my first appointment on Wednesday and took it home again with my top braces fitted!
What happens during the appointment? My appointment lasted just under 2 hours. During this time, I had a chat with Asif before getting into the chair and having brackets fitted to the backs of my teeth. This was done by him with the aid of an orthodontic nurse. Afterwards, the orthodontic therapist, Fiona took loads of pictures of my teeth with a little wand device. This in turn led to a virtual 3D model popping up on a nearby screen. Apparently, this is part of the SureSmilesystem and helps their lab to create accurate, custom wires for future ‘tightening’ appointments. After this bit, the first wire was put on.
TOP TIP: Asif provided lip balm but it’s worth bringing your own along incase your ortho/dentist doesn’t have any. Your lips will get dry whilst they are fitting the brackets and wires.
A: No. I was genuinely surprised to find that the fitting of the brace wasn’t painful. Everyone feels different in the chair but I found that Asif Chatoo was super gentle and fast working. I also felt assured when he said that we could stop at any time. It was a little bit strange when I first lay back to have the brackets put on, as the chair is tilted quite a way back but it was not uncomfortable. One of the products used to spray on my teeth didn’t taste so lovely but aside from that, I felt relaxed and actually ended up zoning out! At the end of the appointment I was given a branded ortho-care pack to take away, a useful ‘how to look after’ tutorial as well as a warning of some upcoming dull aches and pains.
It’s now just under a week until lingual braces are fixed onto my top teeth and I’m both nervous and excited. To mark my vulnerable feelings, I thought I’d share my x-rays with you all. 😉
Look how far our teeth go down into our jaws! Seeing my own bones for the first time was a bit weird and I couldn’t believe how pushed forward my teeth looked in this second image. It’s safe to say that this pic alone has made the decision to have my teeth straightened 100% concrete.
At some stage last year, ‘lingual braces’ were brought to my attention. They work like train tracks but function from the back of your teeth. After some looking around, I was introduced to an orthodontist in the centre of town called Dr Asif Chatoo. I felt lucky when I found out that Asif is actually a highly regarded specialist in lingual braces. Soon enough I was going along for an initial consultation where I threw a lot of questions at him and got a lot of answers back! After diagnosis, Asif was also the first person to point out that my teeth are slightly too small for my mouth and that that was one of the main reasons for the gaps.
There is a society dedicated to the lingual system system- www.blos.co.uk It was here that I found out ‘lingual’ comes from the latin word Lingua; a term for ‘Tongue’. This makes sense as they are placed on the back of the teeth rather than the front and in this way, are nearly invisible.
UPDATE | Mould-taking day came around a few weeks ago. The therapist explained that because lingual braces are customised, they had to take impressions of all sides of my teeth. Having the putty moulds put in and taken out definitely wasn’t my finest moment but the team were genuinely lovely and didn’t even bat an eyelid when my tooth got stuck to my lip at the end.
To be honest, my teeth were never much of a big deal before. Ever since the arrival of my adult teeth, there’d always been a big gap at the front. The gaps and slightly forward facing front teeth were put down to my thumb sucking as a child and after feeling a bit self conscious in my early years I decided that the best course of action was just to learn to love them. I laughed about them a lot and took great pleasure in pulling goofy faces and doing party tricks by sticking things in between them. In the end, I kind of came to like the old muckers.
At 14, I was referred to the local orthodontist by my dentist. A consultation and other conversations passed by and my mum and dad explained that this was the best time to do something about my teeth. My best friend, who was also starting her own orthodontic treatment had already got underway. It was the perfect time. Looking back, they were probably right. (Sorry mum!)
Unfortunately, these appointments took place during my heavy metal, days spent in dark bedrooms listening to Pearl Jam (they’re still great), baggy jeans and general teenage rebellion phase. It didn’t take long until I went off the idea. I didn’t want teeth like everyone else. Besides, I had a boyfriend, didn’t want to be a metal mouth and what about those elastic bands?
On the day of mould taking, I was in full rebellion mode. I lay on the dentist chair staring up at a polystyrene head in the orthodontic surgery. It stared back at me with a weirdly over-sized set of metal glued to its mouth. It was then, to my parents and the orthodontist’s dismay that I sprang up out of the chair and announced that I didn’t want braces ANYMORE. I didn’t care about my gaps and never would.
That little tale happened over 14 years ago. So why did I decide to come back to braces? In short, I had a wisdom tooth removed last year and since then I started to notice that my teeth were moving and gaps have now appeared on either side of my two front teeth. The other reason is that a few years back, I started to take my musical hobby as a singer and songwriter a bit more seriously. I recorded an EP and started to gig. Every time a photo was taken, all I could see was… the teeth! Oh how my mum and dad were right. After some thought, I decided to settle that niggling anxiety once and for all and give braces another go.