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  • Rin Iimi and Joyce Wu

The Bumps and Bruises on the Road to Straight Teeth


The time has come. It honestly wasn’t that long ago when I remember my older sister going to the orthodontist and getting braces for herself. Now, however, I had to walk up those same stairs to get my orthodontic work done, and to be honest, I wasn’t very excited. Before my “official” appointment, though, my mom and I met with my orthodontist to see if I was a good candidate for Invisaligns, as I wasn’t very enthusiastic to have a “brace face” smile, metal in my mouth and wire poking me. My orthodontist unfortunately said that I had one rotated tooth, so he was going to have to use wire to straighten my teeth anyway, thus getting braces made more sense (ugh). Hearing what he had to say, there wasn’t much to argue about his logic, so I just went along with his plan with a “this sucks, but I’ll-deal-with-it” mindset.

The first 24 hours. Honestly, I can’t remember braces hurting or irritating my mouth for the first half of the day, but I do remember flashing one of my swim coaches a metal, toothy smile when he said something funny to me. If my memory serves me right, he doubled-back slightly, but not enough for me to feel bad that he was “sizing” up my now metal mouth (haha). Anyways, the first 12 hours weren’t bad at all, and because nothing was hurting, I didn’t feel the need to take any pain meds like Advil yet. A few hours later, however, one of my brackets came off.

A little anecdote here: months before I got any orthodontic work done, I promised that I wouldn’t let it change what I ate and that I would indulge myself with whatever I want. Although I’m guessing that my orthodontist wouldn’t encourage this mindset, it brings me a slight, savage pleasure knowing that I’m giving myself freedom to eat whatever. If my brackets or braces completely break, go me. Conversely, if they don’t break though, then still, go me. To expand off my anecdote, clearly I was a bit enthusiastic about my plan, and perhaps eating “hard” foods were the reason a bracket came loose within six hours of getting braces, thus requiring me to take a trip to my orthodontist.

Although I’m only about a month into “treatment,” I don’t think braces are as bad as they seem. Conversely, though, they are certainly not my go-to accessory, and I’m sure I’ll get quite excited when the time comes for me to get them off. Finally, if I were to give advice to someone who is getting braces or thinking of getting braces, make sure to get good colored bands! :)


A letter to my past self:

As someone who’s gone through a year and a half of Invisalign and is probably stuck with having to wear a retainer for the rest of my life, there are some pieces of advice I’d like to share with you. One: Invisalign, like the orthodontist probably told you, requires a great amount of responsibility and self-discipline. Now it’s time to reflect…Do you have the discipline to remind yourself to always wear your Invisalign? Are you responsible enough to remember where you keep it? Will you take it off when you eat and put it back on every time?

Two: Invisalign means that everywhere you go, you need to bring a case with you. Let’s reflect again…Are you the type of person to walk into a room to get something, come out with a bunch of other things and forget what you came in to get? Are you always looking for the sweatshirt you left in the library or the water bottle you left in that classroom?

Three: the orthodontist will tell you that you can eat anything with Invisalign, but let’s be real. If you eat anything too hard or sticky, that bracket will pop right off! That means you have to go back to the orthodontist, get it stuck back on and pay $38 for every bracket that comes off.

So now that we’ve reviewed this information let’s reassess. Invisalign is nicer to look at (there’s no metal blocks and wires in your mouth), but let’s take into consideration your personal character…Is it really a good idea?

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