A couple of years ago, I started my journey to straight teeth. For my entire life I have suffered with dental problems from overcrowding leaving my teeth crooked and discoloured. My first experience with teeth straightening was a fixed brace. It was amazing and I totally recommend fixed braces for improving a narrow bite but it does take a little longer.
Having my fixed braces removed, was literally jaw dropping! Seeing my teeth in perfect alignment for the first time in my life (at 33) brought tears to my eyes. I felt and looked like a totally new woman.
I was given plastic retainers which I misplaced and never found in the process of moving house, so my teeth have slowly started to shift back. It was really disheartening to see all of the progress slip away, and I was desperate to fix it, as fast as possible.
Here is a recent picture of me (please excuse how much of a mess I am, my Niece was staying with us and this was approximately 9pm the following day after 2 hours sleep and a full day of fun).
You can see that my teeth are by no means in a bad way, and still pretty much aligned after my previous braces, but see how my '3's' (third teeth from the front on both sides) are just reaching over my lower lip?
The front six teeth (known as 'The Social Six' are dominant, and not properly aligned as my incisors (second teeth on both sides) are heading in different directions (one forward and one back). Because the front six are so prominent, the rear/back teeth are almost completely disguised.
So many people have said that my teeth look fine, and on first glance they do. BUT when you've gone from having very crooked teeth as I did to then having very straight teeth, the last thing you want is to go back!
Here's a picture that I was very nervous about sharing. It was taken around 10 years ago, before I had seriously considered tooth straightening:
You can see that the incisor on the left is rotated to the point where it is sticking out of my mouth and the other one is rotating inwards and underneath the front tooth and is also not in line at the bottom. Let's not even discuss the discolouration!
And yes, I had a nose piercing back then.
Flashforward to 2018
So now, in 2018 after months of working out what to do, I have settled on the Smilelign clear aligner system with Karma Dental in Fulham. I looked at all sorts of methods to sort my teeth out once and for all, but if I can achieve my goals in 6 months, then that is good enough for me!
Smilelign straightens teeth in a series of custom fit plastic trays. Small adjustments are made on each change, and I have 5 trays. You are also given a kit including a handy tooth brush to use after you eat (more on this below), a case to keep your trays in should you wish to remove them, and a tray removal device which is needed as the trays fit very snugly to your teeth:
At the beginning of the journey, your dentist will take impressions which are then sent off to the Smilelign lab for analysis. They do a full digital scan of your impressions and the computer creates a personalised before and after. Which your dentist will share with you. Here is mine:
Pre-aligners are worn first, this is to ensure that your impressions we correct and you can try out the brace before committing. Once happy, your dentist confirms with Smilelign and you start your journey!
My first tray was fitted yesterday and a couple of small brackets were temporarily glued onto some of my teeth to assist the tray in applying the right amount of pressure to move and eventually align my teeth.
24 hours in and I was experiencing little discomfort. Naturally it was strange at first but I can talk and carry on my day normally wearing the braces, but do need to remove them to eat. So far there is little to no movement visible, but when I remove the trays there seems to be more room in my mouth, although this is probably because the trays are in 24/7 and once removed it just feels more 'roomy'
You will notice a little space under my teeth which looks like the trays are not fitting, but this is apparently because as my teeth start to align, they will need this space to move into.
2 weeks in and so far I have already noticed those protruding teeth move in a little and my teeth have completely moved into any space at the bottom of the trays. I am really excited about the end results now that I am seeing a change after only 2 weeks.
Pain and discomfort has so far been minimal after the initial 48 hours when I did have some tightness and pressure pain.
I will be wearing this first tray for 3 weeks, every day and will only remove them to brush and eat. I can also use them to whiten my teeth too.
I hope this first post was helpful! More to follow as I go through my journey to straighter teeth!
Are you having braces or considering it? Share your journey or questions in the comments below!