This post is going to be quite long because I’m gonna be recalling all my memories with braces. Because everyone knows that having a big chunk of metal in your mouth is more than just getting them on and off, duh. I’m not going to be talking about the pain and soreness, but more about my treatment plan in detail. Again, you don’t have to read the whole article since it is quite in-depth.
I remember when I was at the dentist and she had told me that it was time. Time for me to make my smile more straight and confident, time for me to get braces. I actually was really excited because I really didn’t like my teeth. They were big and I had a big gap right in the middle of my teeth that I was really conscious of. So anything that I could do to make my smile all in line, I would do just that.
So my mom booked a few consultations with different doctors. I went to three doctors and all of them had different treatment plans. Two of them included getting a Herbst appliance while all of them were in the 5k-7k price range. I was mind blown, all my friends had treatment for $2,000 or less! After a few weeks of pondering, we chose the cheapest treatment plan (which was around 4,000 with insurance) and I don’t regret it one bit. My orthodontist had a great team and knew what he was doing even when I was doubting myself if all of this was gonna work.
So I got my braces in June 2014. Luckily I had no crowding in my teeth, so I didn’t have any of them extracted. They also took a mold for my Herbst appliance. In case you don’t know what it is, it’s basically a smaller version of a headgear that is used to correct a really big overbite/underbite. Usually rubber bands can fix the problem, but a Herbst appliance is used for extreme cases, which for me was having a big overbite. Here’s a picture if you have never seen one.
Basically whenever I smiled, I had two big bulges on the side of my face because of the two screws. I got the Herbst appliance in July, and man, was that a pain to handle. It really did take quite a time to adjust since it was really uncomfortable. I remember going to the office every few weeks because the glue would just wear off. After 2-3 times when that happened, they just glued the Herbst appliance with like really, REALLY strong glue.
After a few weeks, the doctor told me I needed to get a expander for my upper jaw. I got that and I saw that I was getting a bigger gap in the front of my teeth. Apparently, he needed to do that because my front teeth were slanted. So he needed to straighten the teeth together so that he could bring them together in a straight line. In the meantime, one day in October, my Herbst appliance snapped. I went to the orthodontist the next day and he told me had never had to deal with anything like this. That day, he had to remove the appliance so I could get a new one. Remember when I said that the glue was really, REALLY strong? Yeah, I cried so much that day because the pain was UNBEARABLE. It just hurts to think about it. It felt like my teeth were being pulled out and ugh, it just sucked. My gums were bleeding and my teeth were sore. So anytime I tell myself to be brave, I just compare it to the pain I went through getting that monstrosity off.
In November, I got a new Herbst appliance, and this one was really comfortable. The appliance just stuck to my teeth the first time he glued it using regular glue. Now that I think about it, I think the molds that I took in June for my first Herbst wasn’t that good, that’s why it was so uncomfortable. After a few long months, I got my Herbst appliance off in May 2015. It hurt a little bit, but not as much as the first one. My teeth were coming together in a straight line, my expander was off, I only had braces, and it looked like everything was going in the right direction.
I needed to get rubber bands! You would think that the Herbst appliance would fix my overbite, but noooooo, I had to get stupid rubber bands because somehow my teeth was moving in an underbite position. I had rubber bands for about 2-3 months.
But, finally! I finished the treatment with having just braces for the last 6-7 months. I got my braces off on May 24th, 2016. Not quite 2 full years, but my teeth moved really fast. I got a permanent retainer on the back of my front two teeth (because of the gap), and a removable Essix retainer. Most people have to wear their retainer 24/7 for a year before they can wear it only when the sleep. In my case, I only had to wear my retainer 24/7 for 3 DAYS. I was really lucky!
To conclude, my consultation with this doctor was basically just getting a Herbst appliance and braces. However, it turned out that it also meant having TWO Herbsts, braces, an expander, and rubber bands. My only tip is to follow your orthdontist’s instructions. I had a friend who got her braces off 6 months earlier because she wore her rubber bands when she needed to. I know some people get lazy or really just don’t want to be seen with rubber bands, but just do yourself a favor and WEAR THEM. Also, can you believe all of this happened in 2 years?! I can really say that all of this was worth it. I love my teeth now!