Wow, I can’t believe it’s been one year since I had my lingual braces taken off and one year I’ve been enjoying my new smile! I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with replying to your comments but I hope you are all getting along well with your journeys. Some of you must have your braces off too by now… what’s it like to be brace free!?
As for me, I haven’t looked back since having my braces removed. I have to admit that I do feel quite surprised about the difference being able to smile freely has made to my self-confidence. Before my treatment I was aware that I hid my smile, but I only now realise how much I really held myself back. It sounds like an overstatement, but it’s actually really liberating to smile and laugh in social situations without a second thought.
5 things I’ve learned about life without braces
There are different kinds of smiles: of course I smiled before I had braces, but because I was self-conscious about my teeth, it was always a guarded sort of smile. A small smile. A turned-way smile. A smile turned into a giggle so I could put my hand over my mouth. Now my teeth look good my smile is a real smile: free, open and spontaneous. When something’s really funny I laugh like a crazy woman with my mouth open and I mess around pulling cheesy faces in photos. Smiling is a laugh!
I love lipstick: before I had my braces I would never wear lipstick… why would I frame my worst feature? Now I realise the fun I was missing and I even have a bright red one in my collection!
Retainers are fine: when I started my lingual braces treatment I was aware I’d be fitted with retainers when I finished, but it seemed such a long way off I didn’t think much about it. At the appointment when my ortho removed my braces he fixed a very thin wire behind my front six teeth top and bottom. It’s almost completely covered with white dental cement so isn’t at all sharp or uncomfortable and barely visible. After that he also took moulds and two weeks later gave me my removable retainers which look very similar to clear Invisalign aligners. I wore them every night for 2 months and now wear them 1-2 nights a week. It’s actually quite comforting to wear them and know my teeth are still in their intended shape. The idea is that the fixed retainers keep my front teeth in place and the removable one maintains the back teeth.
Confidence comes from within, but it’s outside people see it: it never meant much to me before, but when you smile, the whole world really does smile with you! I smile at neighbours I pass in the street, people in shops, clients I meet at work and everyone feels happier and more comfortable because of it. When I smile I look more confident, however I might feel inside, and that makes people feel more confident and comfortable with me.
Food tastes better when you’ve had braces: Ok, so it probably doesn’t taste better, but I certainly appreciate it a whole lot more! Unless you’ve been banned from eating certain foods, you can’t imagine just how pleasurable a hunk of crusty French bread or a handful of peanuts can be!
Your brain can’t remember pain: I don’t know if there’s any scientific basis to this, but it’s hard for me to remember now how bad the pain of my braces once was, let alone imagine it. Without this blog as evidence, I’m not sure I would really be able to recall the torture of those early weeks at all. If you’re in the first stage of your treatment, remind yourself that it’s a temporary sacrifice for the joy of smiling for the rest of your life. Everyone’s different, but for me the instant my braces came off all the sacrifice was immediately worth it. My only regret is that I didn’t / couldn’t do it sooner.
So what’s next for Inside I’m Smiling?
I started this blog because I knew, from my own experience researching lingual braces, how difficult it was to find personal accounts from people who had actually been through it themselves. I wanted to document the changes in my smile as my treatment progressed and share the trials and joys of my journey in the hope that I could fill that knowledge gap to make it easier for others to decide if lingual braces were for them. What I have been amazed by is how many of you have taken the time to comment on my posts and share your hopes, fears and experiences too. Now that my treatment is finished, the question I’ve been asking is “what happens to Inside I’m Smiling now”?
My biggest hope is that those of you who have discovered Inside I’m Smiling keep using the comments as a place to share and support one another. As I take a step back, I really hope that readers who have their own experiences will help those who are still considering their options. My diary is closed, but please do carry on using this blog as a place to help each other and keep the knowledge flowing.
I’ve also arranged for my orthodontist, Asif Chatoo from The London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic, to keep an eye on your comments and help out with expert advice where he can. Soon I’ll be adding a page with an interview with Asif to answer some of the most common questions patients ask him so do feel free to make use of his experience! He will have his own author profile so you can see which answers are provided by Asif and his team.
Finally, I want to say is a huge ‘thank you’ to all of you who have visited Inside I’m Smiling and especially those who have added their comments. During my time with lingual braces your support meant so much to me, and it’s made me really happy that my little blog has perhaps helped a few people take the first steps on their journey to a more smiley life!
Good luck, chin up and keep smiling!