When I was 23 my mouth was a mess. The front of my mouth extended forward into a pointy over-bite that used to make me prone to spitting while talking. My lower front teeth resembled bowling pins collapsing in on each other and making my overbite seem an even bigger protrusion.
To make matters worse food would always get stuck in my mouth when I was eating and cleaning it fully would take hours to floss (which is why I didn’t floss).
For these reasons I would try not to smile when I was close to people. I would even hide my mouth when I would laugh. I didn’t want the joke to become about me.
These were just a few ways my mess of a mouth would get in the way of my life, but it was getting worse.
My First Dental Visit
I thought my brushing was doing the job fine until I had my first dental appointment halfway through Grade 8 (which in hindsight was much too late to be seeing a dentist for the first time), this changed everything.
According to the dentist, I had numerous cavities in the areas of my mouth where my teeth were overlapping. My gums were swollen and would often bleed.
In a nutshell, my dentist told me that my mouth structure was making it harder to clean my teeth and because of this I was on the verge of having at least seven separate cavities and developing gum disease by the year’s end and more concerning problems on the way. The cavities in addition to decolouring my teeth, would bring increasing sensitivity and discomfort, as if my mouth wasn’t causing this enough already. I ignored my dentist and I just thought the problem was with him and not my teeth. Everyone I knew had crooked teeth and I knew who had straight teeth also had cavities. I decided to ignore the dentist I thought I could take care of the problems myself by brushing and flossing more frequently.
It wasn’t till I hit 23 that I realized the problems I was having were getting much worse and my dentist was right from the beginning. I continued to get cavities, my gums were still bleeding, and to make it worse, all the additional brushing I was doing only led to receding gums. Turns out I was brushing too hard and doing it all wrong (Yes, apparently there’s a proper way to brush you teeth).
The situation was deteriorating, but there could be a long-lasting solution. BRACES! I wasn’t enthusiastic about orthodontic treatment (especially since it wasn’t as “cool” as today, plus I was in my 20’s, “most people get braces as a kid” or so I thought). It was the most cost-effective way to combat all my developing symptom and prevent more from forming; like grinding my teeth. Thankfully I was able to make small monthly payments to correct this dental issue. Most dentists offer installment plans and I’m glad I capitalized on that!
Having lived with a crooked mess in my mouth for so long, it is both shocking and joyous when your retainer is no longer needed, and your new teeth are better than you ever thought possible. It transformed my face in the best way possible. I would have been satisfied with a simple reduction in my overbite, but everything changed since I started braces.
Here are the top 5 biggest changes I experienced (and still experiencing) since completing my orthodontic treatment:
Braces Gave Me a New Smile
Definitely the most noticeable is my new smile! Remember how I used to press my lips together when I would feel like laughing? Now that’s just a joke. I constantly (and still) get compliments on my beautiful smile. The long term benefits completely outweigh the 2 years I spent wearing braces.
Braces Made Me Confident
I always felt like my teeth were always in control of my life. I would spend hours at school or work thinking about how horrible I looked and how careful I must be making sure no food bits were stuck in my teeth after lunch.
My crooked teeth felt like something that was holding me back that I couldn’t deal with. At least when I was bad at sports or classes I could actually do something about it, with my teeth I felt like I would never lose that burden.
Now, I can’t believe how much time I wasted on that, however my mirror and camera have started taking up that time.
Braces Helped Me With Cavities
Remember those seven cavities that were starting to form? Well those were the only 7 I ever had. Once my teeth started to move (which I didn’t think was going to happen) my oral health started improving drastically within the first few months. I couldn’t believe it.
Over night, food stopped getting stuck between my teeth and it became much easier to brush my teeth.
It turns out when your teeth are properly spaced apart and straight, it’s a whole lot easier to clean them. Since I was continuously brushing my teeth as they moved apart, I was able to remove plaque build-up in the once covered parts on my teeth.
Those cavities never did develop and since I’ve had braces, I still haven’t had a cavity (and hopefully never will).
Braces Helped Me With Long-term Dental Issues
Both my orthodontist and dentist said that because I realigned my teeth, I am at much less risk of tooth decay. Since food bacteria and plaque can no longer hide from my tooth brush or floss, I have prevented much of the teeth wear and tear that accompanies eating with crooked teeth.
Braces Promotes Healthier Gums
Within the first months of my treatment, I have been able to fully floss all my teeth properly. This is something I couldn’t do before, not that I wanted to do it, but the orthodontist explained that the food particles that were frequently getting trapped in my mouth had been making my gums swell and become tender. My gums would bleed every time I brushed. I thought it was because my teeth were crooked, but that was only part of it.
Food particles were getting lodged in between my gums and teeth, this was leading to bacteria and plaque infecting my gums. If it continued, I would have been experiencing a lot more tenderness and even and possible oral infection like gingivitis or periodontal disease. The risk of gum disease is pretty close to zero since now I can easily clean my mouth properly and I visit the dentist regularly.
Why Orthodontics? – Braces or Invisalign
I didn’t think my teeth could ever have looked the way they do today. I was in denial, I can’t believe I waited so long to fix my crooked teeth. The lack of confidence to smile, laugh and even eat around others should have been enough to prove to myself to make a change.
When I found out that I was on the verge of developing numerous oral issues, short and long term, because of my crooked teeth, it hit me like a brick. Why was I letting my teeth get in the way of my life, not only socially, but physically as well.
From the start of my orthodontic treatment, to its end and the present day, I decided that I am not going to let anything get in my way from living my best life. The long term benefits of braces completely outweigh the 2 years I spent wearing them.
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