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The Promise of a Six Month Smile

Updated on March 23, 2012

A New Smile in Just Six Months

I had almost forgotten that my teeth were not as straight as I would like them to be. After forty years or so of looking at yourself in the mirror, you do tend to ignore those imperfections really. Thankfully, my teeth are not as bad as some American cartoonists suggest that British teeth always are, however, there is little doubt that there is room for improvement.

Like many other children, I dreaded visiting the dentist, mainly because I hated the injections and, at that time, the gas, which used to make you feel really groggy for some time afterwards. However, it was when I was 15 or so that I discovered a new fear when my dentist told me that I needed to have braces fitted. Naturally, I recoiled in horror of the thought of what basically looked like an instrument of torture, and I pledged, on leaving the dental practice, never to return.

That is exactly what happened, and why, now, my teeth are not as straight as I would like them to be. Despite this however, I am certainly pleased that I didn’t have to suffer the torment that those who did have braces had to.

So, I was intrigued the other day to see a sign in my West London dentist’s window … ‘get six month smiles in Ealing’ it read. I looked at the poster and noticed that the person depicted, appeared to be wearing what looked suspiciously like a mouth guard, albeit a transparent one. Reading the smaller print, I discovered that this was apparently, a brace. As it looked nothing like the braces from my school days, I went in to enquire further.

It was very re-assuring, to be told that, although traditional metal braces are still used, there is now an option which is the one on the poster. These are referred to as clear or invisible braces, sometimes also called by the popular brand name, Invisalign.

I was told that if I arranged a consultation, x-rays and impressions would be taken of my teeth in their current position, and then a computerised projection would be made of where my teeth should be. From these, braces would be made which would encourage my teeth into the correct position. The beauty of them, as well as the inevitable almost invisibility, is that you don’t just get the one brace, but four. No longer are there any return trips to the dentist to have the brace tightened. You simply wear the first one for a few weeks, during which time; it pushes your teeth into the first of four projected positions. Once this has been achieved, you simply remove the first brace and move to the second, and so on, until your teeth are in the correct position.

There are other advantages too, in that these clear braces are not worn whilst eating, which makes that task much easier, as well as potentially less embarrassing. It also means there is no risk of tooth decay due to food particles becoming trapped in the braces.

The only catch is that they are a little expensive, so I have pledged to walk, instead of catching buses, in order to save my bus fare. That money is going towards these new braces and hopefully it won’t be too long before I can walk into my dentist in Ealing and ask for a new smile in just six months.

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