Braceface Chronicles: Tooth freedom and Invisalign pros and cons

I must admit, this straight teeth smile looks
weird to me still!

Please don’t say no. Please don’t say no. Please don’t say no.

“How are you today, kiddo?” Kiddo??

“Good, unless you change your mind in the next few minutes.”

The dentist laughed as he wrenched off the little bits of metal–the tooth “jewelry”–that had been holding my pearlies in place for the last several months.

After some buzzing and scraping of cement, I nearly cried when the hand mirror showed me straight, white-ish I-no-longer-look-like-a-7th-grader teeth. It only took 40 Invisalign trays, 1 row of metal railroad tracks and 22 long months.

Looking back, I wouldn’t have done my treatment differently (save for wearing my trays more conscientiously), but I do have some thoughts for those weighing the Invisalign v. Metal Mouth braces decision.

Invisalign Pros/Cons
The best part of Invisalign? Apparently most people didn’t notice my braces. It wasn’t until I got the metal mouth variety that people frequently remarked upon my mouth accoutrement. Also, eating, flossing and brushing were easy.

The before times.

The lame parts of Invisalign? Teeth hygiene and keeping track of trays. Invisalign recommends wearing trays 22 hours a day and as I realized quite early on, that is just not compatible with my eating/drinking/snacking lifestyle. Consequently, my adventure in orthodontia extended nearly double what it was supposed to.

On that note, it wasn’t until trying traditional braces that I realized what a hassle mid-course corrections are with Invisalign. Making adjustments meant taking impressions and getting new trays from the company which took more than a month. Tweaks to metal mouth braces? Near instantaneous.

Traditional braces Pros/Cons

Someone, perhaps pictured in this photo and wearing a
pink polka dot princess hat, laughed at my braces every
time she saw them for the first couple days.

The best part of metal mouth life? Not thinking about it. Wearing trays took a considerable amount of effort in terms of planning meals, removing/cleaning trays, brushing constantly, remembering to put trays back in. Metal mouth braces require no such thought. You don’t forget to put them in. You don’t accidentally leave them in a restaurant napkin and throw them away (ahem). Also, having railroad tracks gives you some street cred with the poor souls who suffered from orthodontia during their teenage years. Mr. T, for one, did not concede that I had “real” braces until I tried the metal type.

The lame part of metal mouth life? LOOKING LIKE A FREAKING 12-YEAR-OLD. It wasn’t until I got my braces off that I realized how much I avoided smiling over the last several months, so much so that casually smiling to strangers felt weird at first. More than “itchy” teeth, shredded lips, sore gums and the inability to eat fruit whole, I hated feeling self-conscious about my smile. (Consequently, I have loads of empathy for folks who do the braceface thing during tumultuous teenage years.)

Post-braces, I’m thrilled with the results and have promised to faithfully wear my retainers so as to not end up in braces again at age 60.

braceface no more!

The Braceface Chronicles:
Help, I have tooth nubs now
Invisalign lifestyle issues
Conveniently spaced appointments rock
The joys of public teeth brushing and discovering the Colgate “Wisp”
The teeth shaving terror that wasn’t
Mid-course corrections and tooth nub removal
When impatience trumps vanity

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