Sep 26, 2008

The journey so far...

Posted by DeVille |

Hello and welcome! My name's Angela, I'm 31 years old and I'm about to start my journey to fix my smile!

I've searched all over the web for information about adult braces, and have come across some great websites with stories from a lot of inspiring people, but none of them are adult New Zealanders. I've decided to keep a track of my own progress not only for my own benefit, but to give other kiwis an idea of how things work in NZ. I don't discount those other peoples stories though, so please check them out! If you're thinking about getting braces, these stories really are inspirational and may give you the push you need.

About me:

To give you some background, my teeth have been slightly wonky my whole life. My parents were referred to an orthodontist when I was in my early teens and they suggested I get braces, however at that point it would have been too much of a financial struggle for them, and while they would have found the money if I wanted them, they never really bothered me so I decided against them. I got through the next few years very happily, making sure I tilted my head just right in photos so that the wonky tooth wouldn't show, and this served me well for years.

Unfortunately for me, my wisdom teeth started coming through about 8 years ago and because I didn't get them out, my wonky tooth turned into wonky teeth and the next thing I knew, my smile turned into the tangled mess it is today. About 6 years ago a friend of mine got braces. While his teeth looked great when they came off, he was in so much agony from the rubbing and movement, I was absolutely put off.

I've suffered from a terrible fear of dentists since I was around 11, the result of a school dental nurse who gave me fillings and pulled teeth without anesthetic (!?!?!)
so while I've often thought of getting braces over the last 5 years, it really didn't take much to make me too terrified to even pick up the phone, and his experience was enough to do it!

Earlier this year I realised that if I didn't do something about my teeth now, I'd end up losing them down the line, as while I'm quite obsessive about dental hygiene (so that I don't need to go the dentist so much!) my upper and lower canines are now so turned in I find them really hard to brush properly. Also in the last couple of years my front teeth have started to cross, making it harder for me to hide the problem!

About 2 years ago, I was reading Fashion Q and saw an ad for a new product called Invisalign and became intrigued. In fact I went on about it so much that I inspired someone at work to go get them! Naturally however I became scared again, and for the third time in as many years, decided to put it off.

So the journey essentially started in February when I decided that I had to get over my phobia and do something about these darned teeth! First, I found a new dentist who specialises in anxious patients like myself and explained to her what my end goal was. The day after my dental check up, I had an appointment at an orthodontist to discuss the possibility of Invisalign. After meeting with the ortho, I started to get over my fears a little bit. He quoted me $8000 NZD for 2 years treatment, which would include a palate expander, then Invisalign, and finally up to 3 months braces to perfect the smile. This seemed all too good to be true, and I became extremely excited, so back to the dentist I went to get my current smile tidied up before I started treatment.

I had my amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite (go me!), and then *gulp* finally had my wisdom teeth out! Naturally I happened to have a pretty bad set of wisdoms, with two of them right on nerves and one touching my sinus - but I got through it (go me again!!). While I was talking to my oral surgeon, I happened to mention to him that I was having this done so that I could eventually get braces. I repeated the orthodontists proposed treatment plan, which he listened to with great interest. After I finished, the OS asked me whether the ortho had advised me that I would need surgery in order to have a palate expander. Unfortunately he had not. The OS also advised me that $8000NZD seemed ridiculously expensive and he suggested I speak to another ortho for a second opinion. He gave me a stack of business cards he had and sent me out the door.

Three weeks ago I finally had my first appointment at second the ortho where he gave me a general idea of what to expect. The very first thing he said to me was.. "Well, unfortunately I don't feel you're a candidate for Invisalign. While you fit the description of someone who could be treated with it, I've done it too many times now, I can just tell straight away that they would not work well enough and you would not be happy with the results". His straightforward comments really gave me a lot of trust in him, especially as the Invisalign is the most expensive option. Instead, I'm going to be fitted with a combination of ceramic and metal braces.

Last Tuesday I had my records done and tomorrow I go back again to get my treatment plan! There's just one catch (and I knew this would happen) - it's looking pretty likely that I'll need to have all four second bicuspids out... I've worked through a lot of my dentist issues, so I guess this will be a good test of how far I've come.

So that's my story so far! Tomorrow I'll check back in with the treatment plan I'm given.

Check out my current smile below:

Normal Smile:
Huge Grin:

Top Arch:

Bottom Arch: