I recently got my braces off. It was honestly a bittersweet moment for me, and I’m here to share all the little details of my experience, knock down some myths about braces and compare all the positives and negatives of braces and Invisalign that you are often not told about.
I’m Australian, so prices/facts/availability may differ for every country/practice/individual depending on your teeth’s needs.
I originally wanted Invisalign. My teeth were pretty crooked, and I wasn’t happy with them at all. I’d heard about Invisalign, and I loved the idea that I could straighten my teeth clearly and with less pain since I have a very low pain tolerance. It seemed like the obvious choice to me, because I only knew the positives of Invisalign, and the negatives of braces.
(Information was provided to me by an orthodontic assistant when I was considering my options + extra research)
- Straighten your teeth with brackets (glued onto teeth), wires and sometimes elastics with checkups usually ever 6 weeks
- Cheaper (usually around $2000 less, were about $6000 for me)
- Hurt (I mean your teeth are trying to move..?)
- Get food stuck everywhere
- Don’t look too great
- Give you ulcers (from brackets rubbing against the inside of your mouth)
- Move your teeth quicker (was estimated for 1.5-2 years for my treatment)
- Broken brackets can be replaced
- Flexible for almost all kinds of orthodontic treatment
- Can get ceramic brackets instead of full metal (a couple hundred more but are harder to see)
- Not great for those playing lots of sports regularly, unless you buy an orthodontic mouthguard
- Straighten your teeth with clear aligners, changing them out every 2 weeks with checkups every 8 weeks
- More expensive (were about $8500 for my predicted treatment)
- Hurt (your teeth will have to move, so they’re going to hurt either way whether you get Invisalign or braces)
- You take them out to eat and brush your teeth
- Look great, as they’re clear
- Will give you ulcers (from hooks on certain parts of aligners so elastics can be hooked on rubbing against the inside of your mouth)
- Are a lot slower at moving your teeth and take longer to initially start your treatment (was estimated 3 years for my treatment)
- Limiting for many other treatments (for me, I would’ve had to wear this other thing for 6 months before I got Invisalign to fix a problem I had)
- Require a lot more maintenance: have to ensure all food is cleaned out of teeth so it doesn’t rot in your teeth –> daily flossing, regular brushing (after meals too), cleaning aligners and taking very meticulous care of your teeth
- Require a lot more responsibility: the aligners have to be put on immediately after eating and brushing your teeth, as your teeth can move and not fit your aligners. If this happens, it will compromise your entire treatment as all the aligners for your treatment are pre-designed, created and shipped from the USA.
After hearing all this, I was set on getting metal braces, but then my orthodontic assistant offered an upgrade to the ceramic braces for free, since I initially really wanted Invisalign.
Luckily, I didn’t have to get any teeth pulled out, so I was super happy about that. When I got my braces on, it took about an hour. I brought my iPod with me to listen to music, but honestly, I couldn’t really hear it half the time. They did a bunch of various procedures which I assumed was to clean my teeth before the brackets were actually applied. I remember they used this one liquid which was really sour and it sprayed to the back of my throat. I was trying my hardest not to choke and ruin whatever they were doing in my mouth by my violent coughing, but considering I had no idea what it did you may or may not have it. They also use these plates and bits of dry cotton to keep your lips out of the way so they get stretched everywhere. It wasn’t incredibly uncomfortable besides my lips and that odd sour spray thing. (I’d highly recommending drinking a lot of water before your procedure starts because if you don’t, halfway through you’ll wish you had.)
Just expect to come out with super dry lips that feel like they’ve been murdered, a parched tongue, what feels like a massive obtrusion in your mouth and a dull pain in your teeth which amplifies when the slightest of pressure is applied.
Also, expect to be eating mashed potato, jelly, and smoothies for the next four or more days because this is where it’s going to hurt the most. You feel like you can’t move your lips, there are wires and metal poking everywhere, ulcers here and there and this constant ache from your teeth moving. It gets better, I promise.
You’ll have checkups with your orthodontist about once every 6 weeks where you’ll likely get your braces tightened. Getting them tightened is like…that dull ache from getting them on, but it only lasts a couple of hours. (Also, every time my orthodontist would take the wires out of my brackets and put new ones in really made me cringe.)
Ulcers you get from really annoying brackets rubbing against the inside of your mouth. Sometimes, they get so bad that the bracket will find a flap of skin in your mouth and constantly hook around it. To save you the trouble, as your orthodontist for some dental wax, and ask for more every time you visit. They are literal life savers, and you’ll likely be like me and have one on your desk, bedside table, locker at school, three of your purses and your shelf. You also may or may not lose them easily and go through them like lollies.
Not going to lie, braces are kind of a nuisance. Every time you eat (bread and apples especially) you have to either cut it into bite sized pieces, can’t bite with your front teeth and you’re constantly making this face of “pushing food out of your brackets with your tongue”. It’s not attractive in the slightest, but the triumphant feeling you have when you get all of the food out makes up for it. I would definitely recommend staying away from whole apples, raw whole carrots, popcorn, corn, broccoli, and poppyseeds. Those are always a pain to get out without having to pick them out yourself with your nails.
Despite braces’ shortcomings, I’m so glad I got them over Invisalign. Not only did I save money, but I didn’t have to worry about a thing when eating, brushing my teeth or going about my life. I have retainers now, and it is SO easy to forget to put them in. With braces, they’re just always there so there’s no need to remember anything, and no upkeep for your braces to keep them clean or anything!
After the pain of tightening, ulcers, food stuck everywhere and just random aches and pains, the time comes to FINALLY GET THEM OFF.
Note to oneself: NOBODY TELLS YOU THAT GETTING CERAMIC BRACKETS OF FEELS LIKE YOUR TEETH ARE BEING RIPPED OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. The metal brackets being removed – I didn’t feel a thing. Ceramic brackets, however, make this horrible, screeching, scraping, clicking sound and it feels like your teeth are being scraped off and being murdered from the opposing pressure of getting them off. Pretty sure I shed a tear from squeezing my eyes shut so tight from the pain.
After that, IT FEELS GREAT. No metal, no anything catching on anything, no food stuck everywhere, your teeth feel super smooth, and you’ll be running your tongue over your teeth everytime you eat for the next week (it’s kinda habitual). Your teeth also look really white for the first two days or so, and you kind of look and feel really weird, but at the same time great.
To be honest, I would rather have braces for a year than retainers 24/7 for a year. I have the plastic ones that are moulded to your teeth because apparently I grind my teeth. (Your other choice is a metal wire that goes across your teeth to keep them in place). Now that I’m wearing them, mine are (for some reason) quite a thick plastic – a lot thicker than I thought they would be. Every time I take them out, there’s saliva everywhere which is NOT a pretty sight. Also, all that trapped saliva smells real bad after a couple of hours which for some reason I didn’t expect at all, which means you have to clean them quite often with soap to get rid of that smell. Also, my retainer covers my bonded lingual wire that I have on the inside of my teeth (extra reassurance that act like a backup retainer) and I end up with a lisp because of it which I hate ):
Honestly, I think that Invisalign is only great for someone who maybe performs a lot (a teen actor/actress) or those who are older who wish to get their teeth straightened (as they generally can afford it more than your average teen. Yes, Invisalign gives you more confidence, but after your treatment’s over you’ll gain more confidence and (almost) forget you ever had braces. Also, generally most teens get braces somewhere between year 7-9, and I’m telling you that high school is when people’s opinions of you don’t matter anyway. If Invisalign is an option for you, you can afford it, your parents are okay with it and you’re ready to deal with the upkeep, go for it! If you’re slightly lazier/forgetful like me and prefer to save money, I’d say go with braces (I mean, it’s been about than a month since I got my braces off and I’m already forgetting to wear my retainers a whole lot more than I should be which is never).
I hope that this post was detailed enough, and my experience helped you get a better insight about what braces was like for me personally, and if you’re thinking of your choices to straighten your teeth, this post helped you too!
I’m sorry I haven’t been posting often as I’ve been quite busy (with a couple obsessions taking up what free time I have, but I’ll save that for another post another day), but I will be back into the swing of things soon enough! Next up will be quite a few recipes, so I hope you’re ready for that! Until next time, I hope you’re having a lovely day! (:
– Jess x