Brace yourself for braces
Adapted from Source
Once upon a time, smiling was something I detested. We all know that a smile brightens up someone else’s day, but I was too self-conscious about my topsy-turvy gnashers for that. I also avoided photographers like the plague for the same reason.
To help remedy my crooked teeth, I figured the only way was to place bits of metal into my mouth. Call me vain, but the alternative of living the rest of my life in hiding was never an option. My quest for teeth straightness was hardly smooth-sailing, and various surprises sprung up on me. So I’m here to give you the heads up on things that your dentist wouldn’t tell you, so you know what to expect before getting your teeth all chained up with braces.
1. Hold your breath when the orthodontist is taking a mold of your teeth.
A tray of this gag-inducing gel will be pressed into your teeth, and it solidifies into an exact replica of your teeth. Okay, all you need to know is INHALE THROUGH YOUR MOUTH, not your nose. Do that, and you’re safe from choking on a plasticine-and-balloon-like stench that has made some puke in their orthodontist’s face.
2. You’ll be made to wear blue little chips called spacers between your to-be-extracted-teeth.
Yes, you will have to lose a few teeth in the process. But first, spacers will be placed between designated teeth to removing said tooth slightly easier.
Not gonna lie, these really hurt. But you're on the way to teeth greatness, so the two weeks of pain is worth it! Here’s a tip: start with liquid foods like congee, then cut your food into tiny pieces to make chewing less of a chore. You’ll most likely be nibbling food with your front teeth to prevent the spacers from falling out.
3. Tooth extraction is a gory mess of non-stop bleeding and salivating.
If you're someone who gets woozy even at the sight of cartoon blood on Happy Tree Friends, teeth extraction will be a nightmare. To make things worse, you’ll be drooling and bleeding uncontrollably as your facial features are all numbed from the anaesthesia. So bite REAL hard on your gauze to shorten your suffering, and even if your mouth is flooded with the taste of iron, don’t ever spit out the blood - that’ll only aggravate the bleeding!
While wearing braces
4. At first, choosing the colours of your braces seems fun…
For the first few months, you’ll be super hyped up at becoming your own personal stylist - at least in the dental department. On National Day, you’re the most patriotic Singaporean ever, with your red and white braces. And when Christmas comes round, your red and green dental accessories perfectly set the tone for the entire month.
5. But after a while, you realise there’s actually a limit to the number of colour combos.
“So many colours, how to choose?” You’ll only hear that from a novice braceface. After half a year, you’ll be an expert on matching hues. To avoid tacky combinations that are a monthlong eyesore, here’s a tool I used to help me make the month’s most important decision.
6. NEVER choose white or clear braces.
You think clear or white braces will make the metal monstrosity in your mouth less obvious, but the invisibility is short-lived. A mouthful of curry and they’re stained orange. A bite of red dragon fruit and they’re stained permanently pink.
You see where I’m going with this.
7. After tightening your braces at your monthly appointment, eating is almost impossible.
The nagging aches on your teeth limits you to a diet of soft and mushy foods suitable for the elderly - until the pain wears off. No chocolates, no cookies - lest anything gives way, earning you death stares and a dressing-down from the orthodontist. And always bite with your molars to make eating less agonising.
8. Stray wires and brackets contribute to the blisters on your gums or cheeks or tongue. Damn those little metallic devils!
Pray hard that your orthodontist does a clean job of cutting your arch wires, or they’ll be stabbing your inner cheeks all the time. So head back to the clinic to fix things if that’s bothering you. Warning: if you fall asleep on your face, you’ll pay for it in the morning. Just keep in mind that pain is all part and parcel of the metalmouth life.
9. Your mental image of toothbrushes will change.
Unlike the straight-teethed folk, we have to clean up every nook and cranny of our mouths with a mini brush, helping us extricate stray veggies from those metal wires. This tiny buddy will be your portable BFF, if you can’t carry around a regular brush. But most of your toothbrush relationships won’t last long. Your bristles will “open flower” by the end of the month and you’re always buying new ones.
10. Your tongue acts as a toothpick over time.
A few months of being a metalmouth transforms you into an expert at removing debris from your teeth - with your tongue. Practise toothpicking with your tongue, because this is an extremely useful skill that’ll aid your braces journey.
11. Yawning with your mouth wide open causes the rubber bands in your mouth to snap.
There may come a day your orthodontist tells you to wear rubber bands to hasten the straightening process. You rejoice at first, thinking that you’re off braces really soon! But you’ll soon figure out that changing the rubber bands after every meal, and having the bands snap in your mouth ain’t worth celebrating.
Well, at least you can strum the strings of your “in-mouth guitar” when you’re bored.
12. When you forget to remove the rubberbands before eating, then accidentally swallow them.
A friend of mine did this, and developed a phobia of wearing rubber bands. She only wore them whenever she visited the orthodontist. He never found out. Everything turned out fine, but follow her at your own risk.
13. Your pearly whites somehow glisten when you first take off your braces.
Your teeth feels so naked suddenly. Ironically, you’ll start to miss the security of wire-bound teeth, and the times you felt so swag and ghetto, like you had Rihanna's teeth grills. On the other hand, your teeth now feels so smooth, you could run your tongue over them all day.
14. The freedom’s shortlived, ‘cause you still gotta wear retainers.
You get to take your retainers off during meal times - and finally your gastronomic adventures aren’t hampered by metal wires. But don’t get too carried away with feasting and misplace your retainers. Put them back in their plastic box or keep them safe in your bag, so you won’t find yourself rummaging through restaurant remnants, hoping you didn’t just throw a few hundred bucks down the drain.
15. You need to get used to speaking properly with retainers.
Source When you’re speaking while wearing retainers.
Thank goodness I got the clear plastic retainers which resemble Invisaligns. Unlike traditional metal retainers which stick to the roof of the mouth, the clear ones don’t make me speak like I have an egg in my mouth. Make sure you get those.
Once in the braces system, there’s no getting out
As with any beauty enhancing procedure, wearing braces has its painful moments. But unlike what they say on the net, comparing the experience to giving birth, it ain’t that bad. And this is coming from someone who winces in agony with just a little cut on her knee - if I can pull through, so can you.
Once you’ve survived the arduous process, I gotta emphasise on the importance of wearing retainers. Because if you don’t wear them regularly, your teeth will slowly but surely revert to its original state. And this is one journey you won’t want to repeat again.