Thursday, 13 August 2015

My Braces Experience : Making the decision and getting them fitted.

Today's post is a little overdue... actually 6 weeks overdue to be precise. Oops. About 6 weeks ago I got my braces fitted and I wanted to do a little ongoing series about my experience. However, today I will be getting my braces tightened for the first time and I am only just now writing about getting them fitted... oops. Better late than never, right? 

So yes, today I wanted to talk about my entire process of getting braces from deciding to have them to getting them fitted. I know when I was making this decision I was reading a ton of posts and watching a ton of videos on other people's experiences, so I thought I would post my own. 

Deciding to ask 
As you can probably see from the image (rather interesting looking image may I add) above, my teeth were never super bad. I never had a dramatic overbite, or even dramatically wonky teeth. In fact, my teeth were in pretty good shape up until a few years ago when that tooth on the left (right in the image) decided to go on the move backwards. Now the majority of people never even noticed this tooth until I pointed it out, however, I ALWAYS noticed it and it drove me insane. In photographs, I always hated how it looked and thought it ruined my smile (which in retrospect it didn't but whatever I wasn't happy). Anyway, just in case anybody reading didn't know this, you can get braces on the NHS for free if you're under 18 and they believe you need them. So with this in mind, not long after turning 17 we had a dentist appointment. It was only a check-up, however when the dentist asked me how my teeth were getting on I decided to bring it up. I told her how it was causing me discomfort (which it was by this point) and how I didn't like how it looked (which I really didn't) and she referred me to the Orthodontist at the hospital about a 30 minute drive away. This was where all of my friends who got braces on the NHS had gone and where I figured I would go too. After waiting months, I finally had an appointment. 

Going to the Hospital Orthodontist
When we got to Orthodontics we had to wait in the waiting room for quite a while as they were running behind. This was a little inconvenient but I didn't mind too much as I understand that sometimes things take longer than expected. Also, the waiting room was overcrowded due to this delay, again I didn't mind too much. Although it did get quite comical when a seat came free and everybody was too polite to sit in it. Being younger than some of the others standing in the room, I thought I would let someone else have the seat. Although it appeared that everybody had the same idea and we all were standing around this empty seat. It made me chuckle. Anyway, we finally had our appointment where the man told me that my teeth were not too bad, but if I wanted to then I could get braces. I obviously did want them as this tooth was uncomfortable and annoying to me. However, the men then told me that once my braces were off, I may have to wear a metal wire behind my teeth for the rest of my life to stop the tooth going back. Now this put me off. In my mind this meant I would have some huge uncomfortable piece of metal stuck in my mouth forever. "It's up to you" He said, but I had no idea what to do. I couldn't make my decision right there and then so I went away to think about it.

Making my decision 
Not long after my Hospital Orthodontist trip, I had an appointment with my dentist hygienist to get my teeth cleaned. During this appointment, we (being my Mum and me) brought up the topic of braces and my recent trip. We explained what had happened and why I was so apprehensive. The hygienist then went on to say that this wire was actually only very small and lots of people have to get it these days. He said it became unnoticeable and that have braces can actually help to reduce future teeth issues. So I was sold. All of my prior worries had been wiped out and I was sure that I wanted braces. Then we told my dentist that we wanted to go ahead with the braces. However, my head then started to fill with new worries. Would I look horrible with braces? Am I not a bit too old to get braces? They all seem like petty kind of worries but I didn't want to be feeling self-conscious for the next couple of years. Invisalign may have been better, but that wouldn't have been on the NHS so it was out of the question. However, with the days between myself and my eighteenth birthday slowing getting shorter, if I wanted braces then I'd have to decide soon. So I did, and after a little more research I decided to go for it.

Preparing the braces
Luckily for me, having taken longer to decide meant that I was actually able to be one of the fewer people able to get my braces done with my actually dental surgery. This meant that we didn't have to travel so far (great for my mum) and I was in the comfort of my dental surgery (great for me). So around the time of my exams (I believe but it may have been another date) we started preparing the braces. This included having the braces mould completed and having bands between my teeth. Having the braces mould completed wasn't an ovally enjoyable but it was bearable ... for me at least. My mum, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. While I sat there feeling nervous and not enjoying it but still managing to just breathe through the unpleasant experience, my mum was on the edge of her seat. As soon as it was done and I sat up, looking over to my mum, my mum was frantically asking if I was okay as if I had just undergone some life threatening surgery. Anybody would have thought my mum was the one having braces. It was very comical! Then, I later had 6 (I think) elastic bands fitted between my teeth. I had 4 on my bottom row and 2 on top. These elastic bands were there to make gaps between my teeth in order to allow room for the brace brackets. The bands felt weird for a bit but never caused me any pain.

Getting them fitted
Now I am not 100% sure, but I think it was a couple of weeks later that I returned to get the actual braces fitted. Firstly, I had the bands removed. This just felt weird. Especially afterwards when I had these huge gaps. I felt like a little girl again with my teeth just fallen out! Then I had the actual braces attached. Now I honestly am not entirely sure what she did during this process as I was trying my very best not to think about it. I am an expert overthinker and worried I would get myself all worked up if I thought about it so I tried not to think too much about it. But the process was painless and only took about 45 minutes at the very very most. It was a little uncomfortable and stressful to me but it was bearable. It was once the process was complete that it felt the weirdest to me. During the process I had this big thing on my mouth that made me look like Wallace and Gromit. Apparently I looked hilarious. Anyway this device thing stopped my gum/lips from touching my teeth so it didn't feel all too different. However once this device was taken off, it felt so wrong. Not painful, just wrong. Like all I wanted to do was take the brace off. I felt as if I looked like a duck, but I really didn't look too bad to be honest. At the time I thought I looked awful and I wanted to cry but it wasn't too bad. Some people have issues talking once the brace is fitted, however I luckily escaped this issue so that was good for me.

The first week
A couple of hours after getting the braces fitted, they started to hurt. Nothing too dramatic but for me, it was just this constant dull ache and it drove me up the wall and back again insane. I couldn't eat properly for at least 4/5 days and it took at least a week for the pain to go away. From hearing a number of other people's stories, the pain doesn't usually last that long but in my case it did. After the first week had gone by it started to get easier. I got used to the feeling and how they looked. The pain left (most of the time) and I got better at eating.
Although eating can still sometimes be difficult as my front teeth don't touch like they used to (so I have to eat differently than before), it a million times better than that first week.

Now, 6 weeks in, my braces only occasionally cause me pain and I have adapted to how they feel. I also don't care about how they look anymore as I figure that they will be worth it. Tomorrow is my first time getting them tightened and there will (hopefully) be a post next week as to how that went. But, that is all for now. This post was way longer than I expected it to be but was something I desperately wanted to share. Feel free to share your experiences or tips in the comments. 

Thanks for reading,

Holly X 


  1. That's great that you got them! They hurt a lot, but they're definitely worth it. I hated my teeth when I had my braces, but they made my smile so much better! Great post!

    1. That's what I figured. No pain no gain eh? Haha :)


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