Tuesday, 14 August 2018

My Experience With Fitted Adult Cfast Braces


For as long as I can remember I've had a pretty poor relationship with my teeth. You know how we all have that one thing about our appearance or about our bodies that we absolutely hate and get really hung up on, even when we know that literally no one else sees it in the same way that we do? Well, for me that's always been my teeth. If you've followed me on social media for a long time, you may have noticed that for the first time ever, over the past few months I've been actually, genuinely REAL smiling in photos and for me that is huge. And it's all down to one thing - adult braces. Now, there's quite a lot to say about them and I know that a lot of people are interested in them so I thought I'd do a little blog post about my experience and my results.

I can only apologise for the lack of good photos of my teeth before and during my brace journey. I wish I had proper before and after photos to show you guys but I was so self-conscious of my teeth that I couldn't bring myself to do it. I've done my best to compile some photos to give you an idea of what they were like and I'll hopefully be able to explain the process of it all to you - any questions please do feel free to get in touch with me!

THE HISTORY

So from when I was an itty bitty Salt and Chic I've had problems with my teeth. As my dentist once said "you have a very tiny mouth and very large teeth." Yup, I am cursed with the wide teeth gene.  My dentist started work on my teeth from when I was very, very young and I had eight baby teeth removed so I could get my first brace. Yes, you read that right. EIGHT BABY TEETH REMOVED FROM MY MOUTH. It's a good job I was a tough as shit child wasn't it as this was at the age of 9 or 10. I then had a removable brace for my top teeth for around 8 months which was bloody horrible. I couldn't speak properly for whole time I had it, wasn't allowed to take it out to eat and instead I had to brush chewed up food pieces from it after every meal (sorry for the graphic detail) and it was on a palette that make it look like I had dentures (bear in mind this was way back in the early 2000s and I'm sure orthodontistry has come a long way since then). I then was referred to an orthodontist when I was 12 who removed four of my adult teeth (yep, MORE teeth wrenched out) and fitted me with a fixed brace on my top and bottom teeth.

At this age, I didn't care about braces. Sure, I was self-conscious but my teeth were a right state, with a huge gap between my front teeth, huge overcrowding on both top and bottom rows and obviously massive gaps in my gums where various teeth had been removed. I got to choose bright pink bands to go around the metal squares (obviously, as a 13 year old chav) and was extremely excited to be getting them sorted out after years of already having major dentist work done. However, they were painful and there were days that I couldn't chew properly because they ached so much and to add to this, they absolutely shredded the inside of my mouth. I had sores and cuts and ulcers everywhere for months and although the dentists had given me some special gel to put over the corners of my braces, this did little to stop this happening.

I was told I'd need the braces on for two years but my orthodontist decided to take them off after just 10 months, something I was ecstatic with at the time as I couldn't wait to get the metal out of my mouth. However, in hindsight, my teeth definitely weren't ready for this and I think this is one of the reasons I've needed adult braces - they were straighter but definitely not completely straight. I was given a retainer and told to wear it full time for a year. Over time, the retainer became misshapen (I think my top one even cracked) and after about 6 months, daft 14 year old Amy stopped wearing them completely, not thinking that in ten years time I'd be cursing myself for being so naive and thinking that they'd be okay.






PRE-BRACE AND THE PROCESS

When I reached my twenties, my teeth were well and truly fucked to use to the professional medical term. This photo of me with the lovely Beetlejuice is the only photo I can find where I'm actually smiling pre-brace and really, the extent of how bad my teeth were can't really be seen. However, if you look closely, you'll see that my front two teeth are very uneven, with one being pushed very far forward and one going backwards. The one that was being pushed forward had the tooth next to it jammed underneath it and the other was vice versa so it was all a bit crowded in my mouth the say the least. My gums were being damaged by the movement, I'd often crack the tooth moving forward off bottles, it was very very prominent in all photos from a slight side angle and when you saw my bite mark in things like apples, the difference between the two teeth was huge.

I'd seen lot's of people having Invisalign and thought maybe it could help me too so I booked an appointment with my Bupa dentist in Bishop Auckland and spoke to my wonderful orthodontist Alex. He had a look at my teeth and basically straight away knew Invisalign wasn't an option as the removable retainer style braces are for slight movement and slight overcrowding whereas mine was quite severe. Instead, he suggest CFast braces.

CFast braces are the fixed braces and I'll admit I wasn't too keen on the idea of getting something attached to my teeth again but I'm so bloody glad I decided to go with them. So, CFast braces are not like the traditional teen braces you think of straight away. Yes, you do get brackets attached to the front of each tooth and yes, you do get a metal wire through them but this time, they're clear and tooth coloured and are virtually unnoticeable. You can't really see my 24 year old self pulling off the bright pink elastic bands I used to get when I was 14 can you? Anyway, I was shocked at just how unnoticeable they were (Sorry this ridiculous snapchat photo is the only photo I have of me with them on!) and people definitely didn't notice them immediately. Of course, they're more noticeable than the clear retainers that you get with Invisalign but people would kind of just do a little bit of a double take and say "have you got braces?!" They were very easy to get used to and I found them very easy to cope with through the whole process.

When I asked for your questions on Instagram, most people asked about the price. So, I paid £1800 for the just the top set of teeth doing. I have a wonky bottom tooth but that didn't bother me enough to justify paying any more than that. For both sets, I believe it was around £2200 which is around the same price as what it would cost to get Invisalign. Really it depends on how severe the tooth crowding is as to which braces you decide to go for and whether you're prepared to have braces actually attached to your teeth, something which I know not everyone is keen on. However, they really aren't as bad as they sound and a few months of looking like a teenager is worth it for having straight teeth you're happy with!

After getting my braces fitted, which took around an hour, I would go back to the dentist every 3 weeks to get a new wire fitted and the braces tightened. I'll be honest, the few days after getting the new wire on is not pleasant and it aches like a lil bitch. The last one was definitely the worst one and my entire jaw ached for a good couple of days but once my mouth adjusted it was no biggie. For the first two or three weeks, I did need to use the little bits of wax to stop it cutting my mouth but I have a feeling this has a lot to do with my big teeth and small mouth combo, which no one really wants do they? Anyway, three months later....





POST BRACE

Three months after getting my brace fitted, it was time to take it off. I didn't see much movement at all in them until the last wire change and I'll admit I was starting to panic. Obviously my daft little mind was saying to me "it's not going to work and you're going to have awful teeth foreverrrr *evil laugh*" but then one morning, a few days after the last wire change, I looked in the mirror and was absolutely ecstatic. The only way I can describe it is when Shrek and Donkey turn into studs after drinking the Happily Ever After Potion in Shrek 2. I suddenly could see that I actually had NICE TEETH. The next couple of weeks flew over and I went back to get my brace removed on Valentine's Day 2018. I got a fixed retainer fitted, which is a small and completely unnoticeable wire attached to the back of my teeth to minimise movement and a removable retainer. 

I wore the removable retainer full time for three months and now only wear it at night and I can say that it is absolutely worth every penny and every bit of faff on. As you can see, I now smile in photos (like REALLY smile!), I'm happy with my teeth completely and have absolutely zero confidence issues with them. My advice? Wear your bloody retainer! If I'd have worn mine the first time round I probably wouldn't have needed adult braces at all. 

So in summary, I got my braces at Bupa Dental Care Bishop Auckland for anyone reading who may be local to the area and they offer Cfast and Invisalign and paid £1800 for braces on my top teeth. If anyone has any questions at all please feel free to drop me an email at amyelizliddell@gmail.com or message me on Instagram @saltandchic - I'll do my best to help!

Amy x
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