Railway tracks, wires with gum plates are a thing of the past. With the introduction of products such as Invisiline and ClearStep you can straighten your teeth and close unsightly gaps without looking like a 15 year old. Yes it is true that you can hardly see that you are wearing anything over your teeth, it really is virtually invisible.
living on soup and feeling like your teeth are in a vice doesn’t make for a happy bunny”
Now, if you thought that clear braces were a quick and easy solution, and that a piece of hard plastic would move your teeth with minimal pain then you clearly haven’t thought through the process – the brace is moving your teeth into an alternative position, bearing in mind they have probably been quite comfortable where they were for the past however many years, so you would be a fool not to expect a little kick back.
I have to be honest and admit, I had not considered the fact the whole experience may be a tad uncomfortable, my vanity had clearly interjected and clouded the prospect of pain with the fact no one would be able to see I was wearing a brace.
How it works – You have to have a set of impressions taken (which isn’t the most pleasant experience in itself, it’s very similar experience to when you need to be fitted for a crown, a plastic mouthguard is placed in your mouth and lots of goo that resembles watered down play dough). Your impressions are then sent back to the company in order for them to assess what can realistically be achieved with the chosen product – expect to pay for this analysis (I paid approx £300). In my case I have a 1cm overbite which they describe it as “severe” which basically means it will take longer to rectify. ClearStep were fairly confident they could minimise my overbite to around 4mm over a period of 12-18 months which I felt was a good enough return on my investment. Once you have the assessment back and are happy with what can be achieved you can agree with your dentist to proceed. Once the braces are sent back to your dentist you return to pick them up and receive guidance on the next steps. Notice I say braces – “plural” as you actually receive a box of 8 (with ClearStep). It is worth bearing in mind this could be box 1 of however many you need to achieve the desired result (in my case 4). Each brace is a clear piece of hard plastic that resembles the shape of your teeth. Each brace is worn for a 2 week duration, over that period it starts to fit comfortably in your mouth and you can remove it with minimum effort, it is at this stage you can proceed on to the next stage (bear in mind a minimum of 10 days wear is recommended). The braces are delivered on colour coded moulds, you simply remove the clear brace from the mould and pop it in your mouth over your teeth. Now if I am really honest, “pop it” doesn’t quite describe the reality, let’s just say you have to negotiate it into its position. The first time you put your brace in, it will feel very uncomfortable, however this is temporary and you soon get used to the feeling of having a foreign object over your teeth.
So the technical bit is that each brace basically moves your teeth a fraction so it is ready for the next positioner. The positioners move your teeth slowly into the desired position over a period of time, similar to a track brace although a dentist tighten the wires periodically on a track brace in order to achieve the desired effect. I am unable to compare the feeling of ClearStep to having a track brace, however a friend of mine who did have tracks recently said it was exceptionally painful, so discomfort versus actual pain, I can live with. Another thing to consider is the fact you are supposed to take it out when you eat. I lost half a stone during my first week as I was too frightened to remove it to eat in case I pulled my teeth out with it. So either get use to soup and not brushing your teeth or be brave enough to take it out. You also have to wear the brace for the recommended 22 hours a day, sleeping in it is not a problem whatsoever and as the days go by you even start to forget you even have it on. Saying that, when I did take it out after the first week I felt an immense sense of relief.
In all fairness and joking aside its not quite as bad as it sounds, I am now used to removing it and my eating pattern has returned to normal. As with most things I embark on, I did try to cheat and eat with the brace in place, needless to say my quest to eat a chocolate raisin just resulted in convulsive choking at my desk and my once crystal clear brace just ended up resembling a chocolate mouth guard. Smiling at my next meeting with a mouthful of brown juice sitting behind my brace was apparently “not very attractive”.