Incognito lingual braces: Days 1 & 2

This year, I decided, would be the year of doing things I’ve always wanted to do.

I’ve always wanted to close the gap. Yes, the gap in my teeth.

For no particular reason, I hate it. I just can’t stand it. I know that plenty of people look awesome with gaps, like my beloved Grannie, but I’ve got it into my head that I’m not one of them. And once an idea is in my head, good luck getting it out again.

So I decided to get Incognito lingual braces.

This is my face before. Note: I didn’t specifically take posey pictures just so you could all look at my gappy teeth, I was updating my LinkedIn picture as it was horribly out of date and this here’s one of the offcuts.

What are Lingual braces?

Well, I’m no expert, but basically they are train tracks that go on the back of your teeth. Because I’m just closing the gap at the front of my teeth, I only required the ‘lite’ version of the brace which goes around the back of the front 8 teeth in my mouth. Incognito is just a brand of lingual brace, and mine were made in Germany.

Why Lingual braces?

I opted for lingual braces because I already get mistaken for a teenager frequently, and whilst in normal life that’s not such a big deal, for work it’s more of an issue. I work in business consulting, which means I’m often meeting new people, and I need to gain their trust and respect as quickly as possible in order to do my job effectively. This is not going to happen if they think I’m the work experience girl. (Note: my extensive smattering of grey hairs has not helped with this one bit. The one thing they’d have been useful for!). And I figured nothing says teenager quite like train tracks.

So I thought braces on the backs of my teeth would be a good solution to this problem.

Where? How much?

At the end of the treatment, providing all has gone well, I’ll give you details of where I got it done, pricing, the works. For now that feels like jinxing it so I’m going to keep the details close to my chest. I will say that because I only need the lite version, I found the price to be fairly reasonable. It’s still significant, but it was less than I was expecting to be honest.

My braces should be on for the next 9 months, so I will let you know how I’m going periodically and give you a final summary at the end.

My experience: the fitting

I arrive at the orthodontist’s office. She is ready to go and we are both cheerful. Let’s do this!

First, my teeth are cleaned. It’s like a full on car wash for my teeth. It’s a little cold and noisy but nothing too bad. I think if you had sensitive teeth this might be a bit sore.

Then my teeth are sandblasted. Yes, actual sand. This is weird but not unpleasant. I’m glad for the protective goggles.

After this, my mouth is clamped open with cheek retractors and my tongue is held back by some kind of weird contraption. I can’t describe it, but it didn’t hurt. I’m sure I looked a treat, though, and swallowing was difficult.

Straight away the dental nurse comes at me with something that looks a lot like a syringe and needle. I recoil, but she assures me it’s just a cleaning gel. It is. Panic over. More teeth cleaning, then my teeth are dried. They’ve got to be super dry for the glue to bond so there’s a lot of suction going on and I’m pretty sure I spot a tiny squeegee like object.

Next, the plastic mould of my teeth containing the actual brace brackets with glue on is wedged onto my teeth. It’s a tight fit.

The glue is activated using a bright blue light. I think it’s UV because the dentist is shielded using some orange perspex. I decide to close my eyes. This bit is quite relaxing.

Things take a turn for the uncomfortable when the plastic mould has to be prised off. There’s some worrying cracking noises that I hope aren’t my teeth, but nobody seems worried so I assume there’s no problem. The mould doesn’t want to come off so the pushing and pulling gets a bit intense, but it’s fine in the end.

Then repeat the drying, moulding, lighting and prising for the upper teeth.

Finally, the wires are fitted. This isn’t uncomfortable either although there’s a bit of pushing and pulling, and because they’re tight (to rearrange my teeth!) it makes my teeth ache a little bit.

After that, we’re done. My weird retractors are taken off, I have a final rinse, and get used to what feels like 10 tons of metal inside my mouth. I try speaking and it’s hilarious.

The whole shebang took less than an hour, and I’m perfectly fine to walk home again afterwards.

A few hours later

The prophylactic ibuprofen and paracetamol I took are wearing off so my teeth are beginning to ache, and the appointment was over my lunch hour so I didn’t eat. I’ve lost my appetite because my mouth just feels so weird. Plus, I can’t actually close my teeth together because the brackets are in the way. So I’m not sure how I’m going to chew food for the next 9 months. For someone who likes food, this is a bit of a scary thought.

I have a work phone call which I lisp my way painfully through. I sound absolutely ridiculous and have to come clean to my colleague who is very understanding about it.

After coming off the phone I realise that speaking has taken its toll on my tongue, which has been cut to shreds from the new brackets in my mouth. I’m assured my tongue will toughen up in time, but until then I’ve been given something called gishy goo (what a name) to put on the troublesome brackets. It’s the weirdest stuff but I try my best to paste it on all the trouble spots.

So I find some mush to have for my lunch, and try not to freak out. Of course I find horror stories of people who have had to have their lingual braces taken off after a week because they just can’t eat, speak or function. I’m not feeling good about this, so I eat a bowl of ice cream and have a little mope.

We have some people coming round for supper, so I confess to them about my new teeth as well. We all have a good laugh about my trouble speaking, but I’m genuinely quite worried. I have to go to two pitches for work next week, and if I can’t speak properly I’m not sure what they’re going to think of me. The reason I got lingual braces in the first place was so it wouldn’t affect my work, but if I can’t speak then that’s even worse than looking like a teenager

Still, I managed to eat my Thai curry pretty well and my chocolate cake/pudding slightly less so. I think I’ll just need to eat a lot of liquid foods for the next few days at least.

At bedtime I work my way through the extensive kit of toothbrushes, special floss, pipe cleaner type things, inter-dental brushes, etc that I was given and try and work out what to do with each. I get about halfway through the bag and give up. It’s been a long day and I’m exhausted.

24 hours later

The orthodontist and I were worried about how I’d sleep, because I clench my teeth quite seriously in my sleep. She was worried I’d snap the brackets right off, because the brackets prevent me from fully closing my bite; I was worried I’d snap my teeth right off.

Thankfully, neither happened and I actually had a pretty good night’s sleep. I did have some painkillers before I went to sleep and coated the brackets liberally with the goo which I think helped. Maybe the braces will finally break my habit of clenching?

This morning I’m feeling a little better about the situation. I’m still quite lispy but I had another phone call which didn’t go so badly, and nobody seemed to notice anything amiss.

I’m hoping that with a lot of practice over the weekend, I’ll get a handle on my speaking and won’t totally mess up the pitches next week. If you see me this weekend, expect me to be muttering “she sells sea shells on the sea shore” under my breath, over and over and over. Whilst making weird shapes with my mouth. And then laughing at myself. Totally normal, no?

So, in summary, I’m feeling a bit more positive today. Cautiously.

Have you ever had braces? What was your experience?

-Rachel

Linking up with Kristin and Joey for the last ever Stuff and Things. Thanks for hosting such a great link up, I’ve enjoyed participating when I can. Sorry to link up such a weird post for the last one but… This really is what’s going on with me right now and I’m finding it hard to think about anything else!

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25 Comments

  1. Kerri Taylor
    14th April 2016 / 13:10

    interesting journey – but glad you can do this for you now! as i’ve gotten older, my teeth have shifted ever so slightly and i’m so self conscious about it. i think i should look into what my options are! glad the first days are over!

    xoxo cheshire kat

    • 14th April 2016 / 16:13

      Interesting is certainly the word for it, we shall see how I go… Teeth are a pain aren’t they? I hope yours aren’t too bad and that if you decide you want to have something done, that there’s the right option for you.

  2. 14th April 2016 / 16:00

    this is interesting to me because my dentist wanted to put me in a similar thing… but I grind so much that I feel like it would be useless. I’ll just grind these babies back into miserable placement.

    • 14th April 2016 / 16:14

      High five fellow grinder! I definitely went to sleep with trepidation and I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to manage for the next 9 months without being able to close my teeth together. I’ve decided this definitely isn’t to be undertaken lightly so grinding them back into place sounds like a valid option!

  3. 14th April 2016 / 16:06

    I’ve never had braces. But I am of the if it makes you crazy, change it school. MFD just shelled out a buttload of money for dental work, but now that it’s done he feels more confident.

    • 14th April 2016 / 16:16

      Good, I’m glad I’m not the only one! I kept thinking I’d grow out of it but I realised I’m just about to turn 30 and the jig is up. I am grown. I’m glad MFD feels better with his new teeth, sounds totally worth it. I am counting down the rest of these 9 months already!

  4. 14th April 2016 / 17:06

    You actually do look good with your gap, but I know once you have it in your head that you don’t there is no convincing. There are so many options now! I had a gap, once upon a time. It was not cute in my opinion. I wore clear braces (silver on the bottom) for 2 years while I was in college. I hope this method works out well for you.

    • 15th April 2016 / 10:52

      That’s sweet of you to say but you know what it’s like with your own face! I’m glad you had a good brace experience, and I wish I’d got mine over with when I was at university too. But people kept telling me I’d grow out of it! No such luck…

  5. Jen
    14th April 2016 / 18:39

    I will actually be getting braces after the baby is born and I can’t wait! 🙂 I’m glad you are doing something for you that you have always wanted to do however you are beautiful no matter what.

    • 15th April 2016 / 10:53

      Oh really! I’m glad I’m not the only brace wearer out of their teens around here! I hope your braces go well. Thanks for your lovely words 🙂

  6. 14th April 2016 / 18:43

    Never had braces before, so I don’t have much advice to give. Hopefully by next week you’ll be a pro at the braces thing! I’m a bit surprised you didn’t take the rest of the day off when you got them; most people complain about braces hurting immediately after the fact.

    As for the removal of the plastic piece with all of that cracking? I think that would have freaked me out! I definitely would have had second thoughts, as in “What have I done?” 🙂 At least the worst is over now? All you have to do is wait…

    • 15th April 2016 / 10:54

      Yes I really, really hope so! I was working from home so I was able to ease into things gently. And walk around moaning when necessary. So it really wasn’t too bad. I’m still working from home actually which is a blessing! The cracking part freaked me out but it seems it was normal… Things are improving slowly but surely so I’m hoping I get the hang of this asap!

  7. 14th April 2016 / 19:24

    I’m seriously having flashbacks from junior high when I got my braces put on! I remember how they hurt so much afterwards, and how my tongue got beat up too. The good news is that you get used to having the braces and the pain goes away!

    • 15th April 2016 / 10:55

      Haha! Oh how I wish I’d had them at school. I couldn’t have got much gawkier as a teen so braces wouldn’t have detracted from the experience. Did you have lingual braces or normal train tracks? If train tracks, I didn’t realise your tongue got involved with those too. Yikes. Thanks for the encouraging words though! Things are beginning to look up already.

      • 15th April 2016 / 11:17

        I had the normal braces as a kid, but once I got them off I got a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth which I think is very similar to the braces you have now

        • 16th April 2016 / 12:22

          Oh I think I’m down for one of those at the end, too. I didn’t realise that was going to hurt as well! Man!

  8. 14th April 2016 / 20:40

    I haven’t had to wear braces, and I hadn’t heard of lingual braces. I hope you’re very pleased with the final result although you look good now

    • 15th April 2016 / 10:56

      Thanks, that’s very kind. I’m just focusing on braces-off day, 9 months from now! That’s not too long to wait, right?!

  9. 14th April 2016 / 21:04

    good for you girl! i don’t have a gap, but my bottom teeth are crooked and awful, and i’ve always wanted braces to fix them but i feel like i’m ‘too old’ which is ridiculous. i have to get some other work done soon and there is a possibility i will have to get some sort of braces like these first.. i mean maybe. i’m kind of excited and terrified. tooth pain is no joke. i hope your tongue is okay 🙁

    • 15th April 2016 / 10:58

      I had the exact same ‘too old’ thing, hence why I went for the inside ones. Good luck for your dental work, I hope it’s not as expensive and/or painful as I now know these things can be! I always forget how bad toothache is until I have it. Misery. I think my tongue is a bit better today. Maybe?

  10. 15th April 2016 / 09:24

    I had braces when I was 13, then again when I was 18 as those pesky bottom teeth did not want to stay straight! It always feels so weird at first then a bit painful each time you get them tightened or adjusted but they are totally worth it. I always wanted to the lingual braces but unfortunately I had to get the full train tracks!

    Jasmin Charlotte

  11. 15th April 2016 / 19:44

    I’ve had braces twice! I used to have a huge gap in my front teeth and they were all messed up. Good for you for taking control of the situation! Hope it goes well!

  12. Kelly Michelle
    15th April 2016 / 20:37

    Am totally loving your attitude…it’s a year to get stuff done! My sister got braces at 27; my mum received a letter telling her that my sister would have to take time off school occasionally…when mum called the receptionist to say that lisa was 27 they were so shocked and she looked younger still with her braces on. My sister is so much more confident now after having her teeth fixed up. xxx

  13. sydneyshopgirl
    15th April 2016 / 21:43

    Oh, braces! I feel your pain. I had them plus a jaw widening plate before them. It had to be turned with a special key every day. So I can relate to the difficulties you face in the early days with trying to be understood when you speak.

    It will be all worth it and hurrah for just getting things done!

    SSG xxx

  14. 16th April 2016 / 11:03

    Hope the braces get easier! You will get used to them, then they tighten them again and it’s uncomfortable for a day or two, but then ges better.

    I had braces when I was younger, although I had to have them removed earlier than recommended. That was a difficult appointment, first one just me without my mum and the dentist muttering the whole time angrily about how they were coming off too soon, ha!
    Will say that with all the pain and inconvenience and jokes (my braces were the visible ones) it never put me off dentists or getting work done on my teeth. It was a botched wisdom tooth removal that’s given me a phobia of the dentist now, haha! Braces aren’t too bad.

    Away From The Blue Blog

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