For this interview, we go across the pond to Europe where blogger Grinning Bookfairy has shared her experiences with In-Ovation C self-ligating braces.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks for asking me to share my experience! I’m 28 and living in Europe. I’m chatty, love, love, love to read and talk to people from all over the world. I started my blog at the beginning of my journey with braces because I wanted to have a diary of my experience and talk about it with others. Now that I am out of braces for over a year, it’s more about my personal life.
What made you decide to get braces as an adult? Did you wake up one day and say “I’m going to get braces” or was there something else?
I have wanted them forever. I got a retainer at about 9 and wore it for 4 years, but my teeth did not move. It was an old fashioned one made with wires that you can remove from your mouth. I asked my ortho at the time for braces, but she was about to retire and bracket type braces were pretty new in our country back then. I suspect she just didn’t know anything about them. She told me they were not for my teeth and that was the end of it.
I have been ashamed about the way my teeth looked for my whole life. I was very self- conscious about it – I thought everybody always stared at them and thought “man, that is ugly!”
I always wanted to do something about it. As I got older, I saw more and more adults with braces, but they were extremely expensive. My mom heard about a dental office just across the border that does it well and for affordable price – and I immediately went for it! The cost was 2500 € or $3,132.35 USD at today’s exchange rates.
I had In-Ovation C braces (http://www.gacinovation.com/) that I wore for 15 months total; I first got the upper ones, and after 6 months, the lowers too. I wore elastics, first one, than two, and it was exactly how my ortho said it would be. I had clear brackets that did not discolor at all.
You made an eating list before you got your braces – what are the top ten foods people should have on their list?
The list is different for when you just get them, and after the appointments when you get your wire changed, and the in-between times. For the first days, I would say soups, all types of cereal, yogurt, eggs, soft types of fruit like bananas, potatoes, and mashed potatoes – with veggies blended in, pasta, rice dishes. For the in-between time, anything but the forbidden food (popcorn, corn on the cob, sticky sweets, hard nuts); also, food that most likely gets stuck. In my experiences, that is salad -lettuce 🙂 Not that I would ever tell somebody not to eat salad, off course!!
Oh! There is stuff that is hard to “bite apart” because your teeth are weak, like prosciutto. And don’t make sandwiches with piles of stuff on top. Bread and cheese/bologna/ whatever you like; and no two slices of bread together, just one.
I really don’t think anybody should be afraid to go hungry while in braces. Yes, the first day or two, maybe three, you have to eat softer things, your mouth and teeth are sore – still, there is no need to be hungry!
Braces had a great side effect for me – I eat much slower now. While in braces, you chew slower because your teeth are feeling wobbly, and it stuck!
Tell us about your first week with braces. Seems like you were trying to show your mouth who was boss by not using wax or brushing after every meal!
No no no! I got wax right away from my neighbor (who had braces and therefore wax, because the pharmacy was already closed. I bought my own soon after), and wore it! I think you are talking about the time I started to wean myself of wax – I slowly stopped with it, I wanted to have a gentle transformation.
Not brushing after every meal – my gums are sensitive, the food didn’t get stuck in my braces much (I did usually rinse with water and that got it all away), so I didn’t do it at home (except morning and nights, naturally.) but I always did it when eating out. I recommend getting a toothpaste that doesn’t foam much for this occasions, it makes brushing your teeth in public toilets quicker and neater (I don’t know about you, but when I brush with normal toothpaste, it’s all over my chin and hands. That is a bother in public places! (A tip – have a small bag with toothbrush, non- foaming toothpaste, wax, and dental pick in your bag always. Always!)
I used electric brush once a day, and at first, the special toothbrush that is made just for braces, but I didn’t see the difference and switched to normal brushes later.
You had some complications with infections (though not teeth related). What were they and how did it affect your treatment?
I think my jaw/teeth/mouth sinuses got infected (I’m not a doctor, I don’t know for sure!). I only had my top braces on at the time, and it hurt all over, so I knew it wasn’t from the braces. I went to the dentist, and just that morning I noticed that it hurt more when I bent over to brush my teeth; I mentioned it to my dentist, who checked my teeth for anything else, but he didn’t find it. So he got me a prescription for antibiotics and the pain went away! It all happened in about one week – few days of pain, and few days for the meds to start working, and it didn’t affect my treatment at all. I don’t think I even mentioned it to my ortho, because it got handled.
What are some things you wish you knew before you started? Vocabulary that people should know?
I had a good and smooth experience, I can’t think of anything except that eat what you are allowed to, and when you’ll be in situation where you’ll talk more than usually wear wax even if you have been in braces for awhile, because they will hurt you.
Also, I would like to recommend metal mouth forum (archwired.com) , it’s for adults in braces; you can ask questions and get advice, or just share your feelings and experience.
But I did do some research prior to having them, and while in them; I felt like I needed to know how things work in order to understand it. But everybody does what they feel they need to, some are not interested at all, and won’t know anything. But I like what you are doing at your site, it’s good to have professional advice all in one page!
You’ve been experimenting with teeth whitening since you’ve had your braces taken off – how’s that coming along?
My teeth were always on the yellowish side ever since they grew out. So besides them being all crooked, they were always yellow. My dentist at the time said that just like we have different skin tan, we have different teeth color. I’ve only tried whitening strips, I don’t want to get them professorially whitened because I heard of people whose teeth sensitivity increased afterwards. The strips worked ok, but I am still not Hollywood white 🙂 But because they are straight and filed, I love them and I might buy a whitening (normal, drugstore) whitening toothpaste every now and then, but that is it.
How did you celebrate when your braces came off?
I had a Snickers bar! That was one thing that I had cravings for when I was in braces, and I didn’t dare eat because of the caramel! But I honestly think that now that I can finally smile and laugh from the heart, as we say here, is the best celebration – every day and all the time!
And I took so many pictures! I also took a lot while in braces, even though it feels weird because your lips bunch up on the brackets and you are not sure if you should curl it up or let it sit on the brackets…I mostly pulled it up to display my braces proudly.
Can you share some of your experiences with your retainer? Which one did you end up going with?
I got a “plastic” (I am sure there is a name for it – but it looks like an invisalign tray, and as I’ve just saw on your site, are called Essix retainers ) see-through one that I was supposed to wear all the time for 3 months, than nightly for 6 months, and now every few nights.
I honestly think wearing a retainer those first 3 months was a way bigger hassle than having braces, because you can’t have anything but water, and have to brush your teeth every time after having any kind of food or drink!
It also gave me a lisp. But it keeps my teeth in check and that is worth it! I also have a wire that will stay in forever, on the inside of my first four lower teeth to keep them in place. I don’t notice it other when flossing, because I can’t floss between those teeth, obviously.
You are definitely one happy person after braces – any final words of advice for someone just beginning this journey?
Thank you, yes, I was so happy during it, I wanted to wear them longer! I had a great experience. So here it is:
DO IT! And own it. As in, don’t try to hide them, wear them as in what they are, a way to a happier you. If you are wearing them, it means your teeth were probably in need of it, and you were unhappy about them. So, I wore it very, very proudly. See, you don’t have to hide your teeth anymore (!!) , you are doing something about it, so don’t try to make this mystery about it. If you don’t want to talk about it, say “I got them because I need it”. If you want to, explain, like I do, to everyone who wants to listen about it 🙂 I just know I looked at people with braces longingly, wishing it was me who had it. And lots and lots of people say they want it too, there is no shame in it!
Take before and in-between photos. You’ll really able to see the difference, sometimes in just a few hours. Also, if you are like me, you probably don’t have “before” pictures. Really, when they asked me for the pictures for this blog, I only found the picture I took for the purposes of keeping track of my braces; I had my lips over my teeth in all other pictures. I could not find one picture of me smiling with open mouth. That makes me think how often I could smile before, and I didn’t. That is sad, isn’t it?? But no need or it anymore!! It’s very nice to be able to go back and see the change!
They are not the most perfect teeth on the planet; but they are to me; I am able to talk to people now, feeling beautiful; it might sound crazy to some people, but for me, it’s a huge thing – and I think people that are unhappy with their teeth know what I am talking about!
I’m wishing everybody luck and no breaking brackets! 🙂