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.
No one likes to talk about it and it’s something that everyone wants to avoid.
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:
- 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!
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.
Photo by http://annelierosencrantz.com/