July 15, 2012 Leave a comment
Wow. It’s been such a long time since I even looked at this blog. So much has happened. I bought a condo, I moved into the city, and host of other things that are important to me but that I’m sure other people would probably find boring, so I won’t bother to mention them. One of the good things about my extended holiday from the blog was it gave me some time to gather some perspective on the whole 6 Month Smiles process. I’ve been living with my retainers for…ironically more than six months now. And now here are my final thoughts about the whole 6 Month Smiles process and whether or not it was worth it.
Brushing and flossing with my bonded retainers has been surprisingly easy. I use the thread floss for the teeth that aren’t bonded and the water flosser for my front teeth. With this combination, overall it takes only about five to ten minutes to brush, floss and use mouthwash, and my teeth are pretty darn clean at the end of it. I think my tongue’s gotten used to the retainers too. For the first few weeks, it would instinctually run over the retainers nonstop. It was as if my tongue thought the retainers were stuck food that just wouldn’t come out. Now, it only happens when I get really hungry. So for the most part, I’ve broken the habit.
Another noteworthy thing is I still have to cut up some fruits to eat them. This mainly applies to apples, nectarines and anything with hard skin. It wasn’t necessarily because it posed any threat to knocking out the retainers, though that did happen once. I had finished eating a bagel, and I noticed that part of my upper retainer had come loose. But they were able to put it back on. It turns out that the retainer wasn’t bonded well enough to the adhesive gluing it to the back of my teeth. A quick visit to the dentist fixed the problem, and I haven’t had a problem eating anything since. The main problem with eating fruits with tough skin whole is that pieces of the skin can get stuck between the spaces of your retainer very easily, and unless you have a set of soft picks (toothpicks are still too thick, in my opinion) handy, it can be murder trying to dig the pieces out. I have had some occasions where pieces of the adhesive fell out from eating fruit whole, but those pieces were never stuck to the retainer. They were more like excess adhesive that had attached directly to my teeth or between the spaces of the retainers, so they probably needed to come out anyway. Overall, it makes better sense to cut whole fruit into slices. They make an excellent to-go snack anyway.
One more funny thing I’ve found is that some of the adhesive that had attached the braces (not the retainers) to my teeth is permanently stuck there. It doesn’t matter how many times I brush or floss. Those pieces are stuck there. I’m not sure what to think about that. On one side, the adhesive hasn’t done anything to harm my teeth. On the other side of the argument, you could say that it’s weird having little flakes of glue permanently stuck to your teeth. But as long as the glue isn’t doing anything to harm my teeth, I say it’s no big deal. It’s not really that noticeable. Someone would have to be way up close to my mouth to see it, and the only person who will ever get that up close to my mouth will probably be my dentist.
The only other slightly disappointing thing is that my 6 Month Smiles experience was not for six months. When all was said and done, it was more like nine months, but that’s still a lot less time than it would have taken with traditional braces.
The best part of it all is that I have had people – total strangers – compliment my teeth. They won’t say it directly. It’s usually, “You have such a beautiful smile.” That’s enough to tell me that the braces really have made a difference.
So let’s take it all into account: the money I had to pay, getting the braces (about $1,500 total), eating with the braces (very delicately at first and then more liberally as it got closer to the end), the monthly dentist visits (about 1 per month, but as the process got closer to being finished about 2-3 per month), the oral care tools I had to get to keep my teeth clean (water flosser, threaders, soft picks, etc.; when all was said and done, that was about $90-$110 over the months, and would’ve been far, far less if I’d not bought the water flosser), getting the braces off, getting my retainers and finally living with the retainers for what will be the rest of my life. Was it all worth it? If I had the opportunity, would I do it all over again?
I’d say…yes. When you add up the expenses for buying and maintaining the braces, the time it took to get my teeth straight, the visits and slight changes to my diet during that period, I think it was well worth it to get my new smile.
So there you have it. I’ve written about pretty much everything I have in me to write about when dealing with 6 Month Smiles. I wrote about the good, the bad and the ugly that came with the braces (and a few things I shouldn’t have covered, but that’s in the past). My hope is that in time, people thinking about getting braces via 6 Month Smiles or any other braces program can read this blog and have some idea of what to expect.
Now it’s time for this blog to finally spread its wings and fly. Where it goes from here is up to the will of the Internet gods. I may check in every now and then in case some random comments come in. My braces journey is at an end.
All the best to everyone out there on their own trial by smile. This is kmreview singing off.