Brace yourself…

That’s right. I’m getting braces. D:

I had a scheduled orthodontist appointment last May, where a dentist looked around my teeth with a hand-held mirror and seemingly shouted out whatever came to mind: “A1, B2, C1 dinosaur, C12 antidisestablishmentarianism, D2, X23 coma…” and I sat in the dentist chair wondering what all this means and whether or not I should be terrified.

Lots of people are scared of dentists, but I never have been, perhaps because one of my aunts is a dentist. However the chill that ran down my spine when he said, “… J42 impacted…” after minutes of “G39, H40, I41…” didn’t bode well.

After commending me on my cleaning skills to soften the news, the dentist said my teeth were all fine and dandy apart from one that was ‘impacted’ and had only partially erupted when it should have been fully grown. If it’s left alone, it’ll make it really hard to clean that area when I grow up, so they strongly recommended I get braces. Meh.

I used to be concerned that braces would be the subject of mockery if I got any, but it’s not the case, at least not at my school. I can’t imagine myself with braces, but I imagine that once I get them, I won’t be able to imagine myself without them, so that’s not an issue either.

My main worry is the hassle it will cause. Luckily it won’t have much of an impact for me diet-wise (because of my allergies, I’m already restricted from chocolate, toffee etc.) but if I have to clean my teeth everyday after lunch, that will be an annoyance.

Still, I hear that it’s really worth it for the nice smile you get afterwards, so because of the ‘recommendation’ (it was more like an order) me and my parents decided to go with it.

Anyhow, I went for another appointment today to get my X-rays and other measurements taken, so they can make sure my braces will fit my mouth snugly. A few minutes after I’d sat down with my mum, a dentist came in and said that I was to be led to another building where my measurements would be taken… without my mum. I wasn’t sure why this was necessary, but I went along with it anyway.

So we walked around the corner to another building, into a room with lots of machinery. First the dentist took X-rays of my teeth. I had to put my chin on a piece of plastic  and bite into a groove in a piece of plastic; both of these pieces of plastic (I don’t know their names!) protruded at right angles from another piece of plastic. Tl;dr: lots of plastic. Then the dentist brought even more plastic apparatus to keep my head in place, and left the room, after telling me cheerily to keep my head still.

When I went to India two years ago and got a haircut (this is relevant, I promise) my dad did all the talking and left me with the hairdresser, who kept muttering at me in Malayalam and then, when I did nothing, forcibly keeping my head still or moving it. He had to mutter a lot, increasingly irritably as time went on.

I think the point I’m trying to make after that very long and convoluted anecdote is that I don’t like keeping my head still and that I’m not very good at it – even hairdressers get annoyed at me for my incompetence . But somehow I managed it – the X-ray machine hung from the ceiling and spun around my head and I stayed still. although there’s no saying the x-rays won’t show some very shaky teeth when they’re printed.

Then I had to go to another X-ray machine, but this time they put things in my ears. I looked like I was wearing  very heavy earphones that were attached to the ceiling. The dentist brought down a latch to put on my nose (to keep me in place again), took the X-ray, and then it was over.

After that the dentist took a number of pictures of my face with a very fancy camera. I felt more like a model in those annoying back to school ads that are starting to pop up than a person at the orthodontist’s.

She then proceeded to take pictures of my teeth while her assistant used stretchers to keep my lips out of the way (not as bad as it sounds, but still very strange). Perhaps understandably, this was much less glamorous. At one point, the dentist put a mirror in between my top and bottom rows of teeth so they could look at the inside of my mouth; they then told me I should only breathe through my nose to prevent the mirror steaming up. I had a mild panic wondering whether or not my nose-breathing was sufficient for me to survive for a few minutes. In hindsight, what if the mirror had gotten stuck? Would I have lived the rest of my life a nose-breather, trying not to steam up the mirror? With my perpetual state of blocked nose, I doubt I would last long. But I digress.

The appointment was perfectly normal apart from one unusual moment. Throughout, the dentist was very friendly and cheerful, trying to make some small talk. At one point, after I said that some of the procedures seemed a bit weird, she said something along the lines of, “Oh yes, we do weird here. We do a lot of weird. Never painful though.” Undoubtedly it was meant to be genial chitchat, but it came across a bit outlandish. XD After that, things continued as usual.

I had to bite into a sheet of wax so they could record my bite. I also had what felt like plasticine shoved onto my bottom and upper teeth, so they could make casts of them. It was bearable, although the container used to hold the plasticine were uncomfortable against my cheeks.

That was the end of it. I rinsed my mouth with some mouthwash and was led back to my mum.

Congratulations, you have just read a word-by-word account of an orthodontist trip! This was probably really mundane, but I’m sure you enjoyed it anyway. :P Sorry, that was a bit presumptuous.

What are your experiences with braces, orthodontists and dentists?

Joe. :3


19 thoughts on “Brace yourself…

  1. I loved reading this account – it’s like I’m getting braces all over again! I could relate to everything, because I’ve gone through all of this – I’ve been brace free for about a year now..or is it over a year? I dunno – but yeah! Lots of people get excited over colours, but for most of my time, I never had any.
    The cool thing about them, is the reaction you get when they come off. Especially those reactions after NINE MONTHS, when a friend will be all (I’ve experienced this) “OMG! You got your braces off, when?!” -_-
    Now I’m just stuck with a retainer I pop in each night. :)

    • Haha, if I was going to get any coloured braces, I would choose ‘clear’. ;) But I do like the idea about, I dunno, a colour scheme. Now you’ve got me interested! :P What would you say it was like having braces?

      When a friend of mine took off his braces, I was so shocked, he was almost unrecognisable for a moment. :P I think 9 months is a tad too long though. As for retainers, are they annoying? And how long are they needed after the braces have been removed?

      • HEHEHEH (I feel like some big sister, answering all of these questions – but seriously, ask away!)
        Right. Here’s just personal experience. So, it’s not applicable to you, but you might go through this to.
        Having braces wasn’t too bad, but at first, my mouth felt very heavy when I had them on. You get used to it very quickly though. Getting them tightened hurts a little, but then also, you get used to it.
        You must clean your braces properly. Looks better too. It’ll take a little bit to get in and out, but it’s worth it.
        If you have any siblings, don’t let them pelt you with cushions in the living room. Like, really hard. The first day my brother had braces, I broke one of his brackets. (I’m so evil, I know. I was super young!!) :)
        When they’re removed, with retainers, there are two common types. Clear one that’s in the form of a mouthguard, or the metal ones. I’ve had both. I prefer the metal because I kept snapping my other ones. But then, they’re both good. You’re orthodontist will advise you. But you don’t need to think about it now.
        I got a pamphlet, and although it’s not specific, initially, retention is to be considered as a lifelong commitment. But then, that can vary with people. It’s not bad at all, because all you do is pop it in at night, wake up, and take it out. But you must religiously wear retainers especially straight after braces come off otherwise you’re teeth will shift.

      • Thanks, a lot of useful information here! :D The fact you could have to put retainers in for the rest of your life is hard to get my head around though. Apart from that it just sounds like a case of getting used to things. :P

      • I know right! The pamphlet made me go “whaaa?” But it’s not big deal, really. And anyway, you might not need to.
        Yup! Exactly! :)
        Any others questions, do ask :)

  2. I had my braces off in May after having them for almost 2 and a half years (I was quoted 18 months, but a number of ortho errors – including glueing my teeth together and then questioning why they hadn’t moved in a year! – meant that it was almost a year longer). Moral of this story is, don’t trust them that it’ll be as short as they say.
    When I got them in, it was so painful I wanted to rip them out. I distinctly remember the tears that wouldn’t stop for 48 hours (note here that I am terrified of dentists, have a low pain threshold and have an overly sensitive mouth). After that it was ok – maybe sore for 2 weeks. Then it’s fine until you get them tightened – it hurts the first couple of times (painkillers and hot water bottles are great!) but after that it’s just procedure!
    One of the worst things was getting brackets repositioned (again because they were put on wrong). Taking them off hurt – a lot! Only my front teeth though.
    Mostly they’re just a hassle. I had turbo’s for 12 months. They sucked. Badly. And elastics for 2 years. They were fine but just tell your ortho you’re only prepared to wear them at night – they’ll give you stronger ones rather than you having to change them at school/college/whatever which is not fun.
    This all sounds awful, but they weren’t that bad 99% of the time. You don’t really notice they are there.
    I’ve now got plastic retainers which I wear every night. They took 2 days to get used to – initially they made me gag, but now it doesn’t even feel like they’re there.
    I’m now so well acquainted with all things dentist that I’m now having my teeth whitened – straight white teeth was always the goal, and I’m nearly there now! Good luck! :)

    • I would hope no such delays would happen with me, but I guess it could happen. At least you finally got them out. :P Hmm, the hassle doesn’t seem that appealing, but it’s good to know you got used to it. I once had a tooth removed without anaesthetics, so even though this would be undoubtedly more painful, I think I should be OK with the pain. Admittedly I’m still not very acquainted with everything – I had to look up turbos and elastics. :P Thanks very much for all the information! :D

  3. This post was so accurate.
    I had braces for two years, and I’m now wearing retainers (only at night though).
    There are two types of people in this world – those who can rock braces, and those who can’t. I fall in the latter category.
    Having braces itself wasn’t that big of a hassle, but all my photos came out terrible. That’s two years’ worth of photos I have to hide from everyone :(
    Hopefully, they’ll suit you!
    I had to have four teeth extracted because my mouth was ‘too small’ for all my teeth (how is that even possible?!)
    Initially, braces hurt. And every time you go to get them tightened, for a couple of days they’ll feel very uncomfortable.
    But I guess getting them is worth it in the end because I used to have mild-rabbit teeth which I feel much better not having now.

    • I’m glad it’s relatable! :D It’s a shame they didn’t suit you – I can’t imagine what I look like with braces, so I have no idea if I would rock them or not. :P

      Yeah, I also had a smaller jaw, but it’s grown a bit more recently. :3 It’s nice to know the change in appearance is worth the pain. :P

  4. I had a braces about two years ago, and I think I won the lottery because I could eat anything I wanted, had a great orthodontist who absolutely loved be because I was always on time for my appointments, AND I could choose the colour of my braces from a wide range of hues (including secondary colours).
    I chose…transparent. Real risk-taker here.
    But best of luck! :)

    • Wow, your experience seems to be a lot better than most! :D Now I can have hope after hearing many many horror stories of the agony that comes with braces.

      I would get transparent if I had the option so they would be less noticeable.

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