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. 😀

Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Wrap Up

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! 😀

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Digital marketing strategist. Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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74 Responses

  1. papaleng

    your lower set of teeth are much better align than before. Two years to have retainers, ang tagal nyon. Long suffering talaga. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes. But 2 years is quite short na rin if we consider that I have the rest of my life to live with aligned teeth. And I don’t want to risk having braces put back on, just because I didn’t wear retainers as directed. ^_^

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I’m glad that I have my mom who prepares and cooks soft food for me during my first few weeks of wearing braces. Good thing I didn’t grow tired of eating yogurts, pudding, mashed vegetables and soups and other food that require minimal chewing. 🙂

      Reply
      • Rochkirstin Santos

        Nope. It was only on the day after the e-chains were put on when I had to be on soft diet. After that, I ate like nothing’s happened. 🙂 And yes, I can never be more grateful for what my mother has been doing to make us feel comfortable and make life convenient.

  2. Franc Ramon

    I wore retainers for a year maybe just to remove the gap in my front teeth and it was difficult eating. I was lucky that my teeth didn’t require braces but in your case, you do look great with or without braces.

    Reply
  3. ana karen

    for a long time i wanted to wear braces to align my teeth! but i wonder why i didn’t do it. It’s the maintenance i guess. thinking it will give me too much discomfort after every meal 🙂 then when i came to Dubai, almost 1 in every 5 Filipinos has braces or had worn braces, all ages covered hihihihi just a funny observation. But congratulations to you! you’ve conquered more than a year and if lucky, have a few months left with metal on your teeth 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Almost 1 in every 5 Filipinos? Whoa that’s a lot. So which one is it: dental fees are so cheap that everyone goes for orthodontic treatment as if going to the salon for a haircut or Dubai folks just happen to realize that everyone deserves a healthy smile? 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Apir. 😀 Most people want a great smile, and adults know that it can make a great difference not only in their personal but also their professional lives. Many say the payoff is worth the temporary inconvenience and expense of braces.

      Reply
      • Genzel

        Agree. I also noticed that my face shape is changing. I’m liking it as I lose some facial fats and my cheekbones are now highlighted a bit 😀

      • Rochkirstin Santos

        Great! Haha. My orthodontist recalled that his first patient had worn braces for like five years. Before not one guy tried to court her but when the treatment is done and when her teeth became aligned, five guys wooed him at the same time! That was because her confidence in smiling increased and so her face appeared friendlier. 😀

  4. sir rob

    I may not be able to relate with the ordeal you have had but I can see it personally with my wife. The everyday life difficulties is I think unbearable for me.

    Reply
      • sir rob

        Yeah, it doesn’t but I’ve seen my wife complaining of it and is already an annoying thing for her. Yet on the other hand, I understand her dilemma as it is needed to correct her uneven biting . For her, it is more on medical advice than just merely fixing the gaps and spaces.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha yeah I know some people wear braces only to look cool. I just don’t get it. What more can be said about having braces. Apart from being a pain of wearing them, they are also costly. :O

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The best time for your child to put on dental braces depends on the discrepancy or problem that should be corrected. For example, if he has a crossbite, it should be corrected at once. Most of the time braces are not indicated until the patient is between 9.5 and 12 years of age. That’s when a lot of growth takes place. I hope your son won’t get worried about what he’ll look like wearing braces. hehe 🙂

      Reply
  5. Algene

    Gusto ko ng braces before pero hindi pumayag ang daddy ko kaya until now, di ako nakatry ng braces. And my dentist also suggests na okay pa daw ang ngipin ko 🙂

    Reply
  6. Gil Camporazo

    Before I have no idea why some people I meet have braces on their teeth. I was thinking that they happened to meet an accident and had affected their mouth and also their teeth. Now I learn here the reasons why people are wearing braces in their teeth.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      People may have different reasons. It’s odd that there are many here in the Philippines who think that wearing braces or having teeth with metals means affluence. Tsk tsk.

      Reply
  7. sef tiburcio

    braces are best for people who have teeth deformities but most of the time, some people are putting up braces because its a trend. that doesnt make sense though.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I am most distracted with people who have crooked teeth especially those people whose job involves talking (e.g. teaching, singing, preaching, counseling, etc.). I think that correcting any teeth deformities is a good and smart investment for them. Those who have slightly crooked teeth can wear retainers.

      Reply
  8. jane

    great explanation here! i was just talking about this with my sister coz somehow she got this funny looking teeth and asked if she wanted it to be straighten. But she said she doesnt want it. She’s happy already with hers

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Depending on the condition of your teeth and what you are looking for, there are a number of different options that can help improve their appearance. But it’s good that your sister already found satisfaction with her teeth. 😀

      Reply
  9. Love Joy

    I wear my braces for 4 years and did boost my confidence after, cause I can smile without fearing what people think about that huge gap on my front teeth 🙂 Yours improved as well both upper and lower have better alignment than before. As for the pain? I didn’t feel extreme pain during my treatment too. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, it’s not extreme pain but for the info of those of are planning to get braces on, the first few days would really hurt and feel weird. Later on you will get used to them. For the pain… There is a kind of wax that you can put on to stop your braces from scraping the inside of your cheek, you can ask your dentist to give you some. We all survived that and look now our teeth improved. 😀

      Reply
  10. Lily

    The improvement is already visible based on the pic. I want to have braces too because my upper teeth are slightly misaligned.

    I have a friend who wore braces before for like…7years I think. Her teeth look great now. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      7 years is a long time! Whoa. But I believe that it’ll be worth the “nightmare,” as both my mom and bf’s braces lasted over 7 years too. 😛 On a positive note, they didn’t have to wear them forever.

      Reply
  11. Michael Macalos

    yes dear!! I have classmates used to wear braces and now they smile confidently and look a lot better now! haha kasi nakita ko yung before and after photos nila, ganda ng inimprove especially on the face structure part. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yes, sometimes crooked teeth are usually due to jaws that are too small and this is hereditary. Orthodontics can improve facial structure (or make it worse) depending on the type of treatment one receives. Kaya it’s important din to have a good relationship with the dentist kung ayaw mas pumangit haha.

      Reply
  12. Airra Pingol

    wow. u will really see the results. lalo na sa lower teeth, i also wanna try this but parang di kakayanin sa line of work ko. and i love to eat a lot. hehe 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hehe what’s your line of work? I also love to eat but not a lot and not hard food. You will have to change your diet then and probably lose some weight when you put braces on. Not sure if that will be a good thing.

      Reply
  13. lalalapatricia

    I can’t remember what’s my teeth before I had my braces but I think we have the same teeth below and good thing we have good teeth now noh? The magic of braces!

    Reply
  14. Pauchee Casimiro

    I also have braces and I had it since 2008. I’m a stubborn patient, I eat hard and crunchy foods plus I miss dentist appointments. Haha! Such a bratt you think? Maybe because I’m not in a hurry to get rid of it since I didn’t experience the unbearable pain of having braces. I felt a minimal amount of pain during the 1st three days but I could still eat. When I first tried power chains I felt a tightening effect but it was not painful. My dentist, who happens to be my aunt, says that maybe I have high tolerance to pain. 🙂

    xoxo

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Whoa. I have a friend who likes to eat hard and crunchy food as well. Every month in every dentist checkup, he would have to pay additional fee for gluing back those that were accidentally removed.

      Reply
  15. Algene

    I used to wisht hat I had braces pero since my dad kept on saying na my teeth are good pa, di na ako nagka-interest. Pati din kasi ang dentist :p

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Nowadays, it’s getting cheaper though I’m not sure of the services and quality of the work. You can find clinic which offer PHp 12000-PHp 15000 but these are not in prime places.

      Reply
  16. caroleen ileto

    braces are worth it! especially when the teeth really need it:) a good smile is always worth it, but if it is too expensive for a person, maybe it should be postponed. 🙂

    Reply
  17. sherlane

    I do not have braces but I can relate to you because my niece has one and I can see the changes it did to her teeth. It is now more aligned and this improve my niece confidence to smile more.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Great to hear that. 🙂 I still have three months left to endure the discomfort brought about by these braces. After that, I’d just wear retainers which I think are better because they are removable.

      Reply

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