May 122008

For those of you who I just grossed out with these picture, sorry!! Bet you never thought you’d see my teeth so up close huh? Anyway, its been 3 long years and I finally took my braces off last Friday. I don’t know if any of you actually looked at the pictures above, but i notice a big difference in the look of my teeth, especially in the front where they were all crooked. Gonna describe my long journey a little bit, then give my final thoughts.

So, about three years ago, I finally decided to get braces. It was something that I did want to get for a while because my teeth were all crooked. However, my insurance didn’t cover it, and ponying up 4k was kinda hard. After working for a few years, I had enough money and decided to do it. I don’t know how observant any of you are, but if you look at the before and after pictures, you’ll notice that I have 4 more teeth in the before pictures. Yup, I had to extract 4 teeth before starting, and then over the course of 3 years, the resulting gaps were closed. I also had to see a periodontist because my gums are pretty bad, and the ortho wanted to make sure I got the ok from him. The perio gave me the go ahead and actually told me that after extracting the 4 teeth, my gums my actually be better off because part of the reason I was having my gum issues was because of crowding of my teeth.

Anyway, after extracting them, I went back to the orthodontist and he had to cement every single bracket to my tooth. It wasn’t really a long process, but it makes your gums really dry because they leave that saliva sucker in your mouth the whole time. After all the brackets were in, man, it felt weird. I actually had to have this apparatus that goes over the roof of my mouth as well, which made it even weirder. I always got food stuck up there, which sucked.

Now, maintenance, according to my dentist, is the key when you have braces on. The tough part about it is that its so much harder to maintain with braces because everything is harder. Brushing is pretty much the same. However, flossing is a bitch. Well, it was a bitch. I got used to it after a while, but it still takes longer than normal. You have to use a threader and then stick it between each one of your teeth to properly floss. It was such a pain. I can’t believe that I stuck to it every single day. Also, I’m not supposed to drink soda (which isn’t a big deal because even before I put my braces on I’ve probably had 2 sodas in previous 5 years), bite into apples unless their sliced up, not chew gum (which sucks), and not eat popcorn (which I can do without). I’ve been good and followed all of that.  At the beginning I used to get cuts on the inside of my lips after waking up, but eventually that went away.

After the initial visit, the rest of the visits were pretty routine. Every month, I’d go back for a re-tie, that is a tightening. If they do not change the wire, then the visit is no big deal. However, if they do change the wire, then the next couple days are a bitch. It just hurts, and hurts even more when you bite down with your teeth. I was pretty much just eating yogurt, soup, porridge, etc. I can tell you that after a year, I was thinking, damn, this is taking forever…I wish these would come off already. Regret is a strong word, but I was not a happy person.

After year 2, I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, as the gaps between my teeth had finally closed up and my teeth were definitely straighter. Brushing and flossing just seemed routine now, and I didn’t think anything was a big deal anymore. Most braces are usually on for about 2 years. So, it kind of sucked that I had them for 3. I’ve been told that part of the reason was that my gums were in pretty bad shape and I had bone loss in my teeth, so it was not wise to move my teeth too fast. Hence the 3 years….

And finally last Friday came along. Removing all of the brackets and stuff is not exactly a comfortable process. For the most part, they pretty much just yank them off and then scrape off all of the resulting cement. After everything was off, my teeth felt weird!! I know I should say that they felt normal, but I just got used to having brackets against the backs of my lips for so long.

BUT, its not over exactly yet. I still have to wear a retainer for the next 6 months. The retainer feels kind of funny, but I’m sure I will get used to it too. I’ve been talking with a funny lisp according to all my friends and co-workers. I think having a retainer is almost worse because you have that illusion that your braces are off, but you still have similar restrictions. I can floss a lot easier post braces, but now I have to freaking brush/clean my retainer. Also, I have to carry my stupid retainer case everywhere I go because when I eat I have to take them out and put them in there. That kind of sucks because its not like the container is small, and I have to stick it in my pocket. I can actually see how people do not put their retainers in. Unlike braces, you can take retainers out. Its one of those things where you are thinking, what’s one day going to do, so leave them out. Pretty much those one days add up, and then you just stop wearing them and your teeth become crooked again. Oh well, 6 months of this and then I only have to wear my retainers at night. I think I can stick it out. I just have to keep them clean as I heard that plaque builds up on them and such. I was reading a couple things online and came across SonicBrite which I will give a try. I think that I will use maybe once/week and then on other days use Efferdent or something.

So, what are my overall thoughts? Now that its all over (sort of) I think that overall it wasn’t really all that bad. A few extra minutes flossing every night and a couple days of pain every month. Would I do it again? Well, after I took my braces off I went to my dentist friend for a cleaning. He told me that my orthodontist didn’t do the greatest job in the world. I personally don’t notice any difference, and I wonder if its just something he notices because he is a dentist. My brothers and sister think my teeth look much better as well. But, regardless, because of what he said, I’d do it again, but probably using a different ortho. Again, I’m not unsatisfied with the result and would not complain, but his opinion is the professional one so is probably the more accurate and objective opinion.

Would I recommend it to any of you?  I think that you should if your teeth are very crooked and its something that bothers you.  I’m happy with how my teeth are, despite what my friend said.  It is a lot of work and a long commitment, so it has to be something that you want and are willing to work for.

Let me know if any of you have questions and I’ll be more then happy to answer them!

  22 Responses to “Braces-long journey is over…kinda”

  1. Your BEFORE teeth were beautiful! Why would you mess with a good thing guv’ner?

  2. Grats. Now you can smile with pride.

    i couldn’t read anything past the pictures!
    i never wanted that intimate of a relationship with your teeth. LOL
    but congrats!!!

  4. Haha, I knew I’d gross some people out. I wanted to put those pics up regardless though!! Sorry!

  5. Dang boi look at all that staining and your teeth is yellow! luckky you know a great Dentist, call 714-771-0058 where beautiful smiles begins

  6. hurrah!!! but yeah, we really did not need to be that up close and personal with your pearly whites. i have been thinking about braces, too, but no money and i’m not sure it’s worth all the pain! umm, my crooked teeth give me character?

  7. Your after braces teeth look AMAZING. Excellent job done, even if you’ve got some tarter build up there, because of difficult access to the teeth to clean.

    I think it was worth it. painful indeed and unpleasant, but the results are amazing. I have Invisalign now (those plastic buggers) after 7 months of Damon metal braces. I am able to “test” 2 systems and both are good at bad at the same time. The changes in our bite and looks are amazing though, so I think it’s all worth it …

    Best of luck in the future and congratulations 😉

  8. Hi…your Before pics look very similar to my teeth now and I have been looking into getting braces. My ortho also suggests I have 4 teeth removed. I am curious since you have been through this, was it very painful, and how long did it take for the gaps to close? Do you think the same results would not have been possible without having the extractions? Thanks, and congrats on your new smile.

  9. Hi CuriousGrl,

    Thanks for writing a comment. I’ll answer as best as I can.

    The actual removing of the 4 teeth was not painful. My dentist numbed me up before extracting them, so I didn’t really feel anything. It’s more scary than painful since you actually see your dentist pulling your teeth out. After they were pulled, he gave me some painkillers. It didn’t really hurt, but when your teeth are out, it feels kind of funny, and sometimes food got stuck in there.

    As for how long they took to close, it took a good 18 months for me before the spaces were for the most part gone. When they are first taken out, your smile looks kind of funny because you are missing 4 teeth, but after about 12 months, the gaps closed enough so that it didn’t look so bad smiling anymore.

    Do I think the same results would have been possible without removing? Well, according to my ortho, the reason I had to remove them was because there was not enough space in my mouth, and so I had to remove the 4 teeth. I’d imagine that if yours is telling you to do the same, that its for the same reason.

    Whatever you decide to do, best of luck to you and let me know how it goes! Feel free to ask any more questions at all, about any part of the process, and I’ll be more than happy to respond.

  10. For those of you reading this – DO NOT EVER GET YOUR TEETH (PREMOLARS – BICUSPIDS) PULLED OUT FOR THE SAKE OF BRACES – this ruined my life – it dented in my face , and at the age of 18 – my bone structure around my face began to sink inwards like an older person. It messes with your jaw relationship – and then I got tmj as a result. Then again I had to spend another 3 years opening the gaps back up – moving my front teeth out forwards – and putting implants in the spaces. This is a bad practice similar to placing Chinese feet inside a special shoe just to make the foot look pretty. In fact in your example your teeth before looked prettier and better.

    Dont risk this ever on your health – it will ruin your life and make your face looked like it was dished in – caved in – smashed with a sledgehammer and pushed in. A lot of orthodontists are wisening up that this is bad and that non-extraction orthodontics are a better way to go. This practice actually has been BANNED in Japan and UK is following suit soon.

    There are videos on youtube clearly showing why this is bad if you dont believe me.


  11. Its too late for me, but so far I’ve not experienced the bad things that you have. Sorry you have gone through all that hell.

  12. Hi Guys,

    Firstly, congrats on your new straight teeth – they are looking great.

    Secondly, I would like to reiterate TMJ suffers point, extractions should be the last option as there can be severe consequences as he/she is unfortunately experiencing – the long term effect on your bone structure can be quite severe.

    There are a lot of modern orthodontic treatments now that mean you do not need to have teeth extracted to straighten your teeth. I would highly recommend damon braces as they will straighten your teeth for your perfect arch and will not extract any teeth.

  13. Thanks for the comment. I did extract 4 teeth, so here’s hoping that nothing happens. Looking back I probably would of chosen someone different, but can’t do anything about it now.

  14. YOUR TEETH ARE SOO STRAIGHT NOW! But you need to clean you teeth bad!Congrats

  15. Haha, thanks. I’ll make sure my dentist does a good job on the next cleaning.

  16. Real informative and superb structure of content material , now that’s user friendly (:.

  17. wow were your beack teeth rotten or something? They were worse than the front onees:p
    Did you ever floss? -.- I honestly wouldn’t want to show those. Jus sayin’

  18. I think your teeth are wonderful! It doesn’t matter if they are yellow or anything. All that can be an easy fix with a visit to the dentist. The important part is that you took the step in correcting your smile. I have my braces on now and I also had 4 teeth extracted as well. I’m more than thrilled with the results so far. I have about 10 months left, although they have been closing the extractions for about 7 months now. I see some difference. The cleanings and the fixing of the back teeth like I said, can be a fix with the dentist. So kudos to you for trying to get them fixed! As long as YOU are HAPPY with the results, that’s what matters. Not what everyone on the internet cares. Who are they to judge you for being brave enough to even post the pictures and seek help!

  19. @Lauren-Thanks for the comment!! Good luck to you. In about 10 months I hope that you are just as thrilled!!

  20. Sadly another example of someone who looked better before. The back teeth fit together more naturally than before. Also, the lower jaw when open looks stunted from the extractions. I feel so bad for people that have gone through extraction ortho. I have spent thousands to undo TMJ and tongue space issues causing sleep apnea as a result. Best of luck in the future.

  21. @ccarrieb-Thanks for the reply. My dentist actually shared the same thoughts as you. I myself don’t feel as strongly against the results as he does. Looking back I probably should not have taken teeth out, but you can’t put them back in so no point dwelling. Lots of luck to you too.

  22. I Hated My Braces, mye experience, I Used to Have Braces and used to feel yukk.
    A disgusting thing is that themetal in my mouth over-stimulated the salivary glands. I found out rather quickly that unless I kept my mouth as tightly closed as I could the saliva literally flew out.

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