Sunday, January 15, 2012

Before and After Braces—Braces Off, Underbite Fixed and The Perfect Teeth

My braces are finally off! They've all come off, and I am completely done with the crooked metal-mouthed smile I once had.

Replaced with a spread of plastic goodness in the form of my Essix upper retainer...

Joy! But I'll deal. It has been almost 2 months wearing it full-time now, since I got my uppers off, and that means 1-2 more months of full-time wear, replaced by nighttime wearfor life!

So, it's a lazy Sunday morning, and as a lazy individual (read: busy), I've decided to finally bite the bullet and find some time in my hectic schedule (read: time meant for sleep) to update my (post-!) braces situation.

Artist's depiction:

I sincerely apologise for the delay in posting. I have been really busy and haven't really found a spare second for myself and my friends and my family, let alone my blog readers (you) out there. Thank you for being amazing! Alright, you can put away those sad sounding violins, and I'll get to the post.

Update, yay! My braces are finally off. I can't stop saying it, really. Almost 2 months later, may I add.

Sorry for the delay!

They came off on the 22 November, after 9 months and 22 days, and look how pretty my brace-less teeth look!

I didn't think that this post was too much of an update though, perhaps that's why I've been putting it off. For, you've already seen my uppers naked, mind you!

For me it was momentous as I had no more hardware in my mouth, but for you, well, I just got my bottom braces off. Seems like hardly a thing to share because everyone is more concerned about their uppersas far as the fastidious nature of braces is concerned on a direct visual level...

Nevertheless, braces came off, I became happy. That's the story of happy teeth.

I'm seeing my orthodontist in (I think) about 3 months from my debanding date, for a check up and to see how things are going. I'm also planning to see my dentist soon for a dental health check up, and perhaps doing something about extreme whitening, but I'm not sure I want to do that with my general dentist. Something more professional perhaps, but that's another story...

I don't have to wear an Essix retainer on my lowers, as I had a fixed, bonded lingual retainer applied when I got my lower braces off. The fact I don't have to wear another Essix retainer is quite great, but my orthodontist did say a month before I got them off that I'd be getting a lower Essix retainer. I'm not sure why he changed his mind or neglected to let me know why it wouldn't be the case. As I've mentioned, great orthodontist (read: sarcasm).


Keep the comments coming! I'm not too sure when, or if, I'll update anytime soon, but I'll always be here to respond to anything that comes through. I always get email notifications of all your comments, questions, queries, etc. so I'll be sure to respond whenever that happens. And please let it do! I love getting questions and comments, much obliged and happy to respond, all the while through smiling teeth!

Blatant plug and call for help: something that I ask all you lovely people to do to help me out would be to click on any of the banner the ads you see on my blog. They're not for me or my product or anything to do with me, but I do get a few cents for a click of each different ad, and even more for an email sign up or something like that, so you'd be helping me out a whole lot. Thanks in advance, wonderful people!

I've collected a rundown of my time in braces, as month-by-month breakdown of my journey from underbite to perfect teeth. Pretty much all photo captions except for the last are hyperlinked, so you can click on them to access the blog posts detailing my blog post for that period of time, which will also open in a new window. The following aren't absolutely all of my posts, just a select few which show the progress update breakdown of the movement of my teeth.

  After 9 Months, 22 Days

This seems like a goodbye, but it's more like a see you later. Here's to happy smiling! 


And, I'll leave you with a parting quote I found

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Retainers—Life After Braces Come Off

Braces are off. Everything is hunky-dory.

Hold the phone.


Very wrong.

Brief and intimately seducing was the smooth and straight feeling and look of a braces-free smile. My upper braces were taken off, I had them removed. The whole thing was dead to me.

Dead wrong.

It's as if you're partying, and then the alcohol runs out. And even Jesus can't turn your water (newly straight teeth) into wine (forever straight teeth). You weren't even born that way...

Really, it's just the beginning of the next stage to a straight smile. The most important stage. Retention.


You've come this far, to sabotage and lose everything you gained would be mad and idiotic. So I tell myself. And I know this is true... on so many levels. The reality of it is yucky.

To keep this update brief, I went into my orthodontist yesterday to pick up my Essix retainer. I'm to wear this full-time for 3-4 months.

Excuse my language, but simply, fuck the world.

It looks pretty cool. It looks like very straight teeth. My very straight teeth. And that's not anything to be snickered at.

Damn, I could really go a Snickers... but I digress.

They don't look that bad on. Which wasn't ever my concern. Sort of.

I knew they wouldn't look that bad. They're clear, after all.

The lisping though, I really do hate. Not more than braces though, so I'll get over it, and used to it, hopefully. And soon, hopefully, too.

I do speak with a slight lisp. It's nowhere near as bad as the plate expander I had to wear in my initial treatment phases, though, that I am grateful for. I know I'll get used to it within a few weeks, just have to practice. A long phone call with my best friend is in order tonight...

I'm also noticing now, just after a day or two of wear, that my lower braces are wearing the plastic away a little, as there are rough bits on the retainer when I run my tongue across it in some places. Slightly disappointed about this, as it will annoy me, looking forward.

I also flagged a slight issue with my orthodontist because my molar teeth had a bit of the, what I refer to as dental cement, still attached, and he happily scratched it away. It's full of fluoride, too, so it's good for your teeth regardless. Gee, thanks, yeah I want rough cement on my teeth for the minuscule flouride benefits? Cool, I'll keep that in mind next time I'm an idiot...

He also said that I was brushing well because the puffiness in the gums surrounding my molar teeth had reduced since I got the impressions made, and that it's left some space in the back of the retainer around my gums. Which didn't seem an issue, let me add.

Fucking hopeless though, I don't think I'll be able to chew gum. Haven't attempted yet. I don't think I'd enjoy it, so I'm in no rush to try.

Also, and this is a very big also, it is the biggest update in my braces lifetime span, so get ready: I have a final debanding date!

This news, and more news: it's coming up sooner than expected.

And, she's over the moon!

22 November

This will be my day.

I'm getting my lower bands off about a month earlier, as they were scheduled to come off on 20 December. Some precious human being cancelled their debanding appointment. Some divine being asked me to check my next appointment dates at reception. Myself decided to ask if there definitely weren't any earlier debanding appointments. Some wonderful receptionist found a space. And my sometimes lovely orthodontist obliged to it, and took my lower impressions for my bonded retainer that same day. Life is good sometimes.

I'm really happy about this. Really happy. I'm just plain happy that they're coming off and I'll be done with braces for good.

Thank you braces—biggest love-hate relationship to-datebut you suck.

Love you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

9 Months, 11 Days Later—Braces Are Off!

Obligatory before and afters.

More to come once "afters" really are afters.


This has happened. We are here. The moment I've been waiting for for so long. And it's happened.

Beautiful, straight teeth. No underbite.

Goal? Tick.

Am I happy? I am.

Am I as happy as I imagined? No, not as such. But that's ultimately because I am so over the whole braces thing.

And, to put salt into the wound, they're still half here. And a part of them will always stay with me, with those little monsters, those wires holding me in place.

So, actually, it has a lot to do with the bottom braces being a little bit too self-righteous and all fixed on my teeth, and such. November 28. Or December 20. I forget when I'm due (I should call up and check), but I have two appointments booked. Though, I'm not sure what the November one could be for, if not getting them off.

But, they're off (the top ones!), so I'm so happy. I would have been much happier if they were both gone.

That's honestly, most probably the reason I am not overjoyed. But I am joyed. And that's a lot to account for, and a lot to say.

I love my teeth. I haven't as of yet been obsessed and started looking at myself in the mirror on end or taking millions of photos. I'm tired, don't have the ego to, and am frankly happy. But, remember, would be happier if they were completely gone.

They look photo-shoppedly beautiful.

My teeth are white, since they don't have that ugly, stained elastic-look to them going crazy in my mouth. My upper mouth that is. Which, I have to remind myself is the most important.

My teeth have their natural differences. They look really good. Like they came out of their little rooties that way, like nature intended. Sure, they aren't perfect, and never would have been. I like them as they are. They are my teeth, aligned and straight, and that's all there is to them. Now, if only they could have been like this initially...

So, all my frets and worries are gone. And in are my gorgeous, sexy, white, pearly goodies, which really are something to smile about.

There wasn't too much to the procedure at all. I assume my orthodontist, sensing his age and wisdom, is quite experienced at it. It didn't take him that long at all—I would give it half an hour, at most.

And, yes, that red mark on my lip. He stabbed me.

But I didn't feel it, so it's all good. I only realised after looking in the mirror.

First, he had a bit of a look at my mouth to check if everything was alright. Yes, it was, indeed.

The thin, silver wire filament was placed behind my four front teeth as a form of retention, and it was adhered with dental cement. This didn't hurt at all, it was a little fiddly, and the laser zapped it a few times and it was put in place.

It is a bit bulky and rough. I was shocked when my tongue first felt it and thought, "What the fuck is this? This is just supposed to be a wire!" It's bulky because of the cement. My mother also mentioned that it'll probably get polished down a bit with food and drink. Good heavens, all the soft drink and black coffee I drink is rotting my stomach as we speak. It'll do a good job of the silly pumice cement, too. That, and I will of course get used to it. Much quicker than that blasted plate, let me tell you.

When I got back to work, I had to use the phone and my speech was a bit strange, and the first few things I said to my boss sounded a little bit lispy on the 's'es and 'f's, but I've since managed to clear that up quite well. When I got home, albeit hardly at all, the lisp was actually all but gone. All that remains is a little not-so-much non-hole, gap where the wire now sits. Damn you permanent retention.

I asked the orthodontist about how long I'm to wear it for. He replied, "However long I can con you into wearing it." Touché, sir, touché.

There was a lot of rinsing in between. Impressions were made at some point—for the retainers. He said that I would be getting the clear, Essix kind and the Hawley, plate and wire kind, so I can wear the Hawley at night (some people prefer this one, he said) and the clear one during the day, and "parties" and such. But not for eating. Which is a party for me...

After taking my impressions, he deemed that we'd hold off on the Hawley retainer for a bit because of something to do with my wisdom teeth coming in, or being half exposed and something about it not fitting well, so he decided against that for the moment. I'm to go in in a couple of days and pick up my Essix. Also, something about the Essix, due to the non-contact with the lower teeth, would be able to highlight any of my "teeth grinding" which I've been doing. I have never ground my teeth. Unless, he meant the wear on my front tooth due to my underbite position... We'll never know now, will we?

Next came snapping off the braces, which was a little bit odd as it felt like the tooth was coming off or being cracked. In no way painful, just strange. Come to think of it, luckily, nothing really hurt at all. It definitely hurt putting them on, so winning!

After they came off he used a yucky-sounding dentist's drill to polish off the remaining cement (not like I'm scared of them or anything, honest actually), because, as he taught, there was rough stuff on my teeth ("run your tongue over to see"). This was a bit disconcerting, only because I didn't want him to slip into my gums. And shatter them into a million bloody cuts and bruises. Or, just like other times, we all well know. I did not appreciate getting stabbed in the roof twice, thank you. Very much.

He also pulled off the molar bands which did prove a bit tricky, as they were firmly in place. He had to scrape the cement off of those teeth, which he mentioned flakes, and not to be worried that he's scraping off my teeth.

Rinse. Repeat.

I took a quick peek at this point and was shocked.


Regardless, I could go on for days. All you need to give me is a keyboard, no wait—just something with letters on it(or some vocal cords and the capacity to compose anything understandable. Alright, wait, I don't need a voice either really... but I really do digress)—and a public forum and, yep, that's me.

Teeth, good. Check. That's all that counts?

That was pretty much it. I think I've actually exhausted it?

Oh! And for all those problems I had? What problems?

Those gaps? Gone. Or very minimal.

Centreline? It's perfect. 

Bump on left incisor? I can't feel it because I can't run my tongue behind my teeth anymore because of the bonded, wire retainer. Whatever though, they're how my teeth are shaped.

Whistling when speaking? All but gone and non-existent. Will get better with practice. Not that I can complain now, to be honest.

Whatever problems I had before, they're gone. I can't even think to list any more. I love my teeth.

Whitening. Not like they weren't white before though...

Whitening will come later. White as white could be—pearl-snow-wedding dress-liquid paper white. What's the whitest thing you can think of? That, to infinity.

I can't actually think of white things. Oh! Random light bulb memory fact moment—white things are actually rare in nature, that's why. 

They're pretty white as they are though, don't you think?

I hope this journey isn't much, too much longer. Sure, it's worth it, but it's not always fun. And it really is a commitment. But a so-very-much worth it one.

The only thing that is a bit off is my top and bottom centrelines matching up, but I didn't really care about this in the first place. I cared more for my top centreline to be in the middle. Which it pretty much is. It's where it needs to be, and I'm happy about that. As for them lining up, not possible for everyone. Dealing.

I hope I am helping the people, the readers (thank you) out there with this. Yell if you are helped, or need help.

Here's to cheers, and cheesy smiles. I feel a lot more confident (to speak, smile, talk, laugh and in how I look) in my day one of half post-braces, even though I had quite minimal person-to-person contact, for today. Looking forward to the rest of the ride.

Smile, smile, smile!

Bye-bye underbite. Nice knowing you!