Smile with teeth
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The best way to smile is with teeth and with your eyes

When I met up with my relatives over the holidays, they were impressed at my neat set of pearlies after my orthodontic treatment (also known as teeth straightening, or braces). And for those who were parents of children younger than me, many of them asked: “Should my son or daughter visit an orthodontist now?”

And I replied, “They should only go when they truly want to.”

It is not comfortable

It isn’t the type of sharp pain like an injection that many people fear that we’re talking about here; but a type of soreness in the gums like a muscle ache. This will last for about a week after meeting with the orthodontist once every month, when he replaces the arch wire that is used to shift the teeth.

If your attitude is right, however, the ache implies that your teeth are moving to where they should be and the arch wire is working! So that really should be something to be joyful about, assuming straight teeth is what you truly want.

Note that for some people, whose teeth are misaligned because of crowding, some teeth may need to be extracted (and so they will experience the type of sharp pain from local anesthetic injections as well).

It is a long term commitment

Most treatment takes about 2 years, so you wouldn’t want to be coerced into it without much thought.

You can't eat nuts or chewy things (if you love them)

Well, not at all if you are really disciplined and don’t want to compromise the arch wire.

But if you are like me and love your gummy bears, you can’t eat them for a few days to a week after your monthly review because your gums would feel too sore to anyway.

Gummy bears
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The tribe has spoken: "You shall not have gummy bears!"

Keeping your teeth clean is a lot of work when you have braces

I spent about half an hour flossing everyday because you need to thread the floss through every single gap of your teeth, using a floss threader. Other than that, you’ll be introduced to use of the interdental brush, which clears food debris between your teeth and the wire.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Yeap, that's exactly what a floss threader looks like - you put the floss through a plastic, flexible needle 

This, however, presents a great opportunity to pick up and put into practice great oral hygiene habits.

On the completion of treatment, you need to be motivated to wear your retainers everyday

Otherwise, your teeth have a tendency to shift back to their original positions, so there is no point in doing the treatment in the first place at all.

A little bit of vanity (when little boys and girls get older) at this point for motivation would be pretty helpful.

Therefore, one should only go for orthodontic treatment when they themselves choose to and desire to. That will then keep them motivated to do whatever is right and reap the full benefits from the investment of a few thousands of dollars (from $2000-5000, depending on the types of doctors you choose and the degree of the straightening needed).