Monday, December 15, 2008

More About Braces

Had been receiving alot of questions about braces recently. For those who wandered in accidentally when searching for the word "braces" or those who already know me (yes you ZL) and wants to do braces..or just wana know on. I will write all I know up till now. I mean..this is my 4th month wearing braces only. So..I'll write whatever I know until now.

My orthodontist, or my dentist as I like to call her, is Dr. Gwen Ho of Ubi Dental Clinic. She's the 2nd dentist (or partner as Erin calls her) of another dentist. The other dentist is a male (whom I never seen before and is Erin's dentist). Erin did her braces a few years back at Ubi Dental Clinic and after seeing the results, I went to the same clinic (although different dentist) to do my braces. They do not accept walk ins. So please call them for appointment. I had to wait 1 month (called them in June but appt was in July).

Please make sure that you're confirm doing braces at this clinic (or whatever clinic you choose). Because they have to take x-rays and moulds and such. On my first appointment, they took a survey on the reasons why I want to do braces. Had to complete some forms. And then next, the dentist will look at my teeth and decide mentally how much work needs to be done. It's better to have removed all your wisdom teeth though. I had mine all removed (cause they were causing so much pain) but then I was sway cause I had extra embedded teeth in my gums. Many people asked me why I've to pay $2500 for the operation (it's GA and it's 3 teeth, therefore more exp) to remove the embedded teeth since they're not visible. What you guys don't know is that braces makes your teeth move along the roots. Meaning your whole teeth is moving, including the parts inside the gums. That's why any embedded teeth has to be remove else your normal adult teeth can't budge. Anyway, the assistant at the clinic told me that definitely you have to take an x-ray of the jaw. If any clinic claims that they do braces but never take x-ray of jaw means they're fake. They took my 2 x-rays of my jaw (damn fun to be pinned to the machine and having the x-ray rotating around your face), 2 small x-ray of my teeth only, made a mould out of my teeth (it's like plasticine..except gooey-er) and took some pictures (side view, front view and a happy smile =]) of my face. I don't know if this is the practice of other clinics, but Dr Ho told me she wana take picture of my front view and side view cause after my braces comes off, she'll show me the before and after picture of my jaw line and face shape. It'll change. As for the happy face, she just wana take a picture of me smiling before braces and after braces. =) X-rays won't be ready till a week later. I paid about $169 for all.


Dr Ho reviewed my teeth with me. She showed me the mould of my teeth (majiam like those fake teeth back in Pri sch where the sch dentist uses to teach you how to brush your teeth) and from there, she can decide what to do to your teeth when you're not there. Seriously, I never thought my teeth were that crooked until I see the mould. I was like...DIAOZ!! HURRY DO IT! And those pictures she took she will show you roughly what will happen AFTER the braces. What kind of changes you should expect and such. And then she'll recommend you the 3 types of brackets she has at the clinic. Mainly the metal ones (normal and special) and ceramic type. Everyone is charged differently. Erin chose the special one and paid $3K only whereas the special one (which will reduce the period by 6 months) was quoted $3650 for my case. I chose the ceramic ones cause I don't want it to be too obvious (I had too many weddings this year!!) and I had to pay $3600. This is to be paid in installments no worries. She'll review everything, clear your doubts for anything and then set 2 appointments with you for cleaning your teeth and putting the braces. Nothing needs to be paid.

This is how a bracket (the metal square) should roughly look like from side view. No worries. Dr Ho has a big one which she'll show you. =P In short, it's like a clip. A clip that will be tied to a "pole". The "pole" being the wire lah.

The brackets will be stuck onto your teeth and the wire is just a gauge. The rubber bands will be tied OVER the wire. Meaning the layers are as follow: teeth, adhesive, bracket, wire, rubber band. The brackets will move along the wire, so more or less the wires are like guides. Wires won't move, only the brackets will. The brackets will force your teeth to move..and believe me, although it looks as if it's's painful.

Third appointment is mainly cleaning and doing filling for any rotten teeth. Because you've to wear the braces for a long period of time, it's best to clean and do filling BEFORE you put it on. Like I mentioned, everyone is different. Initially she told me I had to put braces for 3 years. But then during the 2nd appt, she told me that mine will only be 26 months. This is just a rough gauge, it still depends on how fast or slow your teeth shifts. The 2nd and 3rd appt might be together for some because I had to go for operation. So it depends actually. Paid whatever they charge to do scaling and filling. $100+ if I'm not wrong. Whoever says beauty comes cheap?


Putting on braces lor!! First and foremost, she would clean the surface of each teeth with some substance, and then she would mark the centre of each tooth with a pencil. This will allow her to know where to position the brackets.

And then she would put the adhesive (it's like some kind of glue that hardens under UV light) and then the brackets. After all brackets are done, she will cut a piece of wire and place the wire onto the brackets. And because it's the first time the teeth are starting to move, she winds wires around the bracket instead of using rubber bands. Dr Ho was very nice to me as she puts the top teeth only. Bottom are spared till 2 months later. Erin says that's better cause hers put both together and she couldn't eat at all. Remember, your teeth are moving and it feels as if they're dropping off anytime. You won't have the strength to eat. So eat whatever hard food (like steak, roast duck, apples and such) BEFORE this appt. A piece of advice. Eat the painkillers a couple of hours after the appointment or before you sleep at night. LoL. Your teeth will hurt like hell. It feels sore and achy. IT'S PAINFUL. But after the painkillers, you'll feel much better. I ate for 2 - 3 days before my teeth stopped aching. Paid $600 for the braces and $20+ for the toothbrush and such. Note that you can throw away all your old toothbrushes cause you need a special toothbrush to brush your teeth now. And there's a special way to brush your teeth: left and right. LoL. I have 2 toothbrushes in my to clean left and right and another to clean behind the wires. LoL. You'll get to enjoy it.

This is roughly it. And because there's problem with my bite, and Dr Ho has to correct it, she has to put two metal rings around the last two bottom teeth. IT HURTS. I cried for 2 weeks because the metal rings were cutting onto my tongue and I couldn't speak, eat, spit, or drink water. And the sides of my tongue got cut and was bleeding. Everytime I try to drink water, the tongue gets cut. It HURTS LIKE HELL!! Lost 2KG lor!! What else leh? Ehh, subsequent visit (once every month for normal metal/ceramic brackets and once every 2 mths for special metal brackets) I've to pay $160. I'm still left with $2620 to pay for. -_-"

After every visit, I would swallow the painkillers they gave me at night. Like let's say my visit is on Sat, by night time I would swallow some painkillers. Actually one pill only. Because the aching usually comes the next day and it'll be so sore you won't feel like eating. It was so bad during the first month that I had headache. Some were said to have fever. Yes it's that bad. So don't try to be smart. EAT THE PAINKILLERS. People asked me if it's worth it. Well, after going through the operation and all the pain after each visit, I would always walk to the mirror, smile and tell myself it's worth it. More of my pictures can be found here. I actually take pictures every now and then and upload into my ipod. So when friends see me, I can actually show them how crooked my teeth were and how straight they are now. It's worth it de. Furthermore your face shape will change. Mine already did. My ex colleagues mentioned that my face is much sharper now, even though I'm still quite plump. LoL.

Anymore questions? I'll try to answer it to the best knowledge I can. =) Enjoy the smile!!


Alle said...

Hi, I came across ur blog when I was searching about braces. I'm trying to find out whether the doctor going to replace brackets on each appointment. :)
On my braces for 3 days now. Yes U r right about the feeling, my teeth feel like they are going to drop. I can't even bite off instant noodles.

Jerry said...

No they only replace the rubber bands and tighten the wire. your brackets stay on until the end. that is if you don't break them off