Pacquiao vs. Marquez. Tito Sotto vs. bloggers. Obama vs. Romney. For all of the great debates that have been controversial this year, no brave soul has dared to tackle traditional metal braces vs. Invisalign braces and feature it as a trending topic in the country.
I know most people are already familiar with traditional braces. What about Invisalign? It’s not yet a popular choice in the Philippines. Actually, it’s a fairly newer method of teeth straightening which I discovered only last year in Singapore through Xiaxue’s blog.
It was tempting to opt for Invisalign—those clear plastic aligners—because they appear almost invisible. Moreover, the shifts and transformation process of the teeth can be 5-10 times faster. What wearing traditional braces can accomplish in two year’s time can be done in like 10 months. I just could not spend that much of money (average of 6000SGD) just for teeth cosmetics!
Also, from what I heard, aside from the price, one major disadvantage of using Invisalign is that it has to be removed when eating and/or drinking. This is unless you want the thing stained. So if you’d be an obedient patient, you must abide by the golden rule: Don’t consume any food with them in.
I imagine putting them on and off in the public…and I think what an embarrassing act it will be, especially when dining out with friends. It’s also strongly advised not to drink hot water (even if color is clear), else you will put your teeth at extra risk.
Invisalign can work for those with minor dental issues and may not work for everyone. For these reasons, I chose to go with traditional braces. Same result will be achieved anyway…
Since I was in college, I have been wanting to put braces on my teeth. No, it’s not for aesthetic display as some people wear braces as accessories. They are for real—to straighten my misaligned teeth.
A lot of people don’t notice but I really have an imperfect set of teeth, sadly. The problem is not overcrowding, a serious overbite, or having wide spaces that make my teeth appear like they are enemies. It’s just that my first and second premolars on the right are like hiding at the back of my canine. They grew at an odd angle.
The flaw is so evident especially when I smile with all teeth flashing out. (Don’t you agree?) I get bothered by this every time I look at myself in the mirror and on pictures.
I also have crooked lower incisors that are shaped like a ‘V’ or a ‘butterfly,’ as dentists call it. This one is less prominent though, because I can hide it when I smile or when I talk.
I waited for years until I get the perfect timing. I thought I’d have massive headaches and toothache when I have dental braces on. I could not compromise on having an irksome feeling while I had to keep my fitness to concentrate on my studies as a student. Also, I would not have the time to visit the dentist’s clinic for regular monthly checkups back then. I was too busy.
A year and a month after college graduation, I had my two left (upper and lower) impacted teeth pulled out. They were not hurting, but my dentist advised to pull them out else my other teeth will be pushed and they will become an eyesore after some time.
And just last March, the remaining two right (upper and lower) last molars were also taken out as well. This was already in preparation of the application of braces on my teeth.
* Deep breaths *
That time, I just came back from Singapore. I still had not applied for jobs in Manila, so I spent the [vacation] time for healing after the surgery.
When the wounds were completely healed, I managed to secure a consultation in the orthodontic clinic. To avoid the wait list, Mom and my sister went with me to our dentist-of-all-times. He offered a good price so I could not refuse anymore.
I knew definitely that having orthodontic braces will be painful at the start. But I made the leap to fill my mouth with metal. The day was May 28, 2012.
Every last week of the month, I am scheduled to have the rubber wires adjusted for tightening. After every adjustment, I would take photos of my teeth only to see if there’s any improvement. I’m really in close anticipation that they will move as I wish them to.
Of Braces and Discomfort
The most difficult part is eating. I had become too conscious when I know I have bits of food stuck on my braces with each bite. It’s also rather impossible to chew on crackers, an apple and other hard and rubbery solid food. During the initial two weeks, I only ate soft food to avoid pressure on my teeth. I’m lucky to have my Mom who cooked me delicious soups, porridge, mashed potatoes and vegetables and bought me jelly, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
Second hardest is talking. The top part of the buccal tubes has small “antennae” that would often touch with the inside of my lips. When irritated, they hurt like crazy. I thought the feeling would remain that way and felt glad that it didn’t. I had experienced bleeding gums, oh yes. My dentist was just kind enough to spare me a small box of wax for free to put on the affected dental tubes.
The wax gave me much comfort. However, I wouldn’t want people in public to see me with wax on my teeth. They may think of it as some off-white dirt clinging on my fangs. It’s funny now when I realized that I wore wax during my job interviews.
To reduce the swelling, another good practice I followed was cold compress and swallowing of ice.
Smiles Change Lives
Braces create not only nicer smiles to cameras and crushes but also contribute greatly to oral health. Straight teeth are more than just for attraction; straight, aligned teeth can make it easier to chew food and can reduce my insecurity about my appearance a big step down the line.
I expect that these braces will be removed in the third quarter of 2013. *crossed fingers here* For now, they may not look the prettiest or the least conspicuous, but I hope that the result will be worth the effort and patience!