My braces are off!

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. ūüėČ

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.

Thank you!<3

 

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After:

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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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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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Invisibility

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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- 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.

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Tooth Rebellion

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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/