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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The joys of seeing a hygienist

Last week I decided to add a hygiene session into my usual tightening/ wire change appointment. I know that I sound pretty strange saying¬†that I enjoyed my time having my teeth cleaned and scaled- it was great! Sarah Urquhart is the in-house hygienist at my orthodontic practice and her services are more than just convenient. As well as¬†finding¬†some common ground in our ancestry from up t’North, she was really¬†friendly and the session was thorough and educational.

The best part of the appointment (which lasted around 45 minutes) was the Prophy Jet clean. Slightly¬†contrary to use¬†the words ‘gentle’ and ‘blast’ in the same sentence but this is exactly what the experience was. Sarah used the¬†small hand held device to meticulously blast around my teeth just after she had completed her hygiene routine. There was definitely a ‘licking own teeth’ moment as I walked¬†back to the tube station.

You can find out more about¬†Sarah’s¬†appointments here:¬†

Captain’s vlog

So here’s my first lingual brace¬†vlog addition! It’s been quite strange talking to a little hole in the laptop screen¬†but¬†I’ve tried to cover¬†a few eating tips, some¬†travel essentials and¬†how it feels to have the wire changed and tightened up for the first time.

Top lingual braces go on

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 SureSmile system and helps their lab to create accurate, custom wires for future ‘tightening’ appointments.¬†After this bit, the first¬†wire was put on.

Sprout_Lightbulb¬†¬†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.

Here are how my braces look.

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There was one burning question before this appointment, that only experience could answer… Would the fitting hurt?

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.

One week to go

Xray 1

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. ūüėČ

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.

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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.

imgres¬†There is a¬†society dedicated to the lingual system system-¬†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.