Braces: are they really worthwhile?
If you haven’t read my post on why I decided to wear orthodontic braces, please click here. This is to make sure that everyone is on the same page on the case pertaining to my set of pearly whites. 🙂
This month is my 15th month of wearing metal braces with the undying hope to straighten my teeth, improve my smile and build up self-esteem. Last night, my dentist had just put on “e-chains” or power chains that link each metal bracket to the next to close the gaps in between my teeth and give me a better and perfect bite. He also replaced the wire to a thicker one measuring 0.022” slot size.
I will have to endure another four months wearing power chains before proceeding to wearing retainers. My sister who’s also undergoing orthodontics treatment said that the degree or level of pain that is felt wearing e-chains is almost the same as the one in the first few weeks of wearing dental braces. Mine is different because right now, I can say that the pain is just like “business as usual.” I can still eat and talk normally.
Many people on YouTube share videos of their transformation pictures of teeth month after month or week after week. I, too, tried to take a photo of my teeth in different angles every time the bands are adjusted. But this stopped at the third month because I thought they looked the same starting that month. Here are my before and after pics. Tell me in the comments if you notice any differences. 😀
- I visit the dentist once a month without fail. The braces are tightened a little more in every trip. The gradual tightening is what moves the teeth toward the final result of straight teeth.
- I use orthodontics toothbrush with extra soft bristles. I brush my teeth four times a day: before and after breakfast, after lunch and after dinner. I don’t use floss because it’s hard for the thread to get into the spaces. Rather, I use the tool that comes with the toothbrush to let out debris that may lead to plague, cavities, tartars and other damages.
- I use Rocky Mountain Synergy bracket design imported from the US. According to my orthodontist, this design is the most versatile and most active bracket. It brings more treatment control options than conventional edgewise brackets, reduces friction dramatically and also reduces total treatment duration.
- I don’t eat hard, crunchy, sticky and chewy food. It’s not difficult to let go of these stuff because I don’t eat meat anyway and I eat chips, donuts and the like sparingly even before.
- I have not experienced nosebleeds like some people who wear braces report to have experienced. Sometimes though, when the pressure really builds up the the day or two after a tightening, headache is the thing I have to bear. Sleeping on it works best but when I’m at work, it’s relieved with a mild painkiller.
Extended Sacrifice After Braces
My dentist advised me to wear retainers for at least two years after the braces come off, otherwise teeth will return to being crooked. I thought two years is a pretty long time but then again it may just be worth the investment as well. Retainers help to keep teeth from moving about too much and adhere to their position, and they prevent teeth, cheek and nerve sensitivities from occurring.
There are two given types of retainers: clear or invisible retainers and wire retainers. Each has its pros and cons. For instance, clear retainers can hardly be seen and they can hold the teeth very well. But the bite may slightly be affected since there would be that plastic material that’s wrapped around the surface of the teeth. On the other hand, wire retainers allow the teeth to naturally “settle” in place but they are bulkier and don’t look as pleasing.
I choose the clear retainers as they appear like the Invisalign braces that I had initially wanted. These retainers can be removed while eating so that food and gunk won’t get stuck and there are no metal wires that can cause irritation.
Movement of teeth by orthodontic treatment is a slow and critical process that requires good compliance with the dentist’s directions. Oral hygiene must be taken good care of while one is wearing braces else, failure to keep the teeth and gums clean may lead to severe decay around the appliances. This may also significantly delay the completion of orthodontic treatment. At the end of treatment, the prescribed retainers must be faithfully worn, or teeth will tend to move back to their original locations.
The question on whether or not wearing braces is worthwhile may be a bit early for me to answer now. But I guess the final picture above is one proof that a set of dental braces can do wonders. Wearing metal adult dental braces is tantamount to a couple of years of discomfort and unsightly rail-track braces. However, these are only a small price to pay compared to a smile of perfect teeth and the sort of confidence in appearance. 🙂 I can’t wait to show my teeth off next time—braces-free! 😀