Feb 4, 2015

Getting my teeth done, and being done with it: A Journey with Braces, as told by CP

Finally, I am done with my braces. It feels like a huge, tremendously long project has been completed. I have summarized the whole journey for anyone who might be contemplating putting on braces.

It started during the final few months of NS, and almost everyone gets time off by plucking their wisdom teeth. I wanted to pluck first then put on braces. 

 I had 4, and I decided on the National Dental Centre because I did not want to get them done in-camp. (outside maybe better mah!)

I was asked to let my teeth be photographed to be used for their students' training. Imagine a lecture hall full of bright young minds staring at my carnivore-looking teeth. 

I agreed to be the model. It was nothing glamorous. I just lay on the dentist chair, wearing the grotesque mouth opener, spreading wide (my mouth). 

For the wisdom teeth removal, I chose local anaesthetic because I wanted to be awake to see what was going on. It was performed by a male dentist and I was wrapped in several layers of blankets because I was cold. 

I remember hearing the drill and the cracking sound as a stubborn tooth had to be broken in pieces to remove. The dentist was leaning onto me so heavily while trying to crack my teeth, I wondered if my jaws were going to be enlarged. 

After my ordeal, I was presented with my wisdom teeth, all 4 of them. I had been really worried about swallowing them during the operation so I was really happy to see them. 

I now had 4 gaping holes in my mouth and they really curbed my appetite. This is where my braces journey with NDC really began. 

My dentist was a very pleasant lady, and her room had children's artwork pasted on the ceiling so patients can look at them while lying on the chair. I assume they were from her patients. The room was bright and airy.

I got my teeth photographed and sized up, and had another tooth removed. No biggie, because I took out 4 at one go before. 

Wires were put in, my speech became slightly altered, and I was drooling like a dog.

You should get the idea, so I'll spare you the gums.
Every appointment I was asked to choose the colour of rubber bands. There were boxes stacked up, with all sorts of colour and names. Me? It was grey, every time. I cannot imagine putting on green, because it might be mistaken for a mouthful of trapped spinach. 

I learned to put on another set of rubber bands myself. They were attached top to bottom, 1 of each side. I remember my finger slipping, and the band was shot down my throat. 

I also learned to keep my big mouth shut, really, because opening my mouth too wide would snap the bands. 

Finally the wires were removed, after slightly more than 2 years. That was hell, because braces were cemented to the surface of the teeth, so now imagine removing them. 

Internal braces were put in my upper and lower rows of teeth. It was a wire bonded to the inside of my teeth at both ends.

Right after, I did a round of scaling and polishing. It was painful because my teeth were still sensitive. The dentist was a young and attractive lady and I could only shed one manly tear.

Now free of my braces, my teeth looked like a cleanly-wiped slate. I just had to sleep with my retainers forever.

I postponed a checkup as I went to the UK. I did not visit any dentists there, but I had become a NHS-registered blood donor! 

Just within my first month in the UK, I bit on an apple and broke one end of the lower internal braces. It was now skewed and my first reaction was to snap the other end off. 

I was lucky because it broke off cleanly.

I lived on happily until I came home. My dentist said my teeth looked fine. I could either put in a new set of braces, put in a replacement internal braces, or leave it as it is. That was a no-brainer for me.

Today is my final appointment with my dentist. I was shown the original pictures of my teeth, and boy, did that look horrible! 

I have 2 dental appointments this morning, with an hour of time in between, and I was starving.

I visited the cafeteria at the Health Promotion Board building, just beside the NDC building, and it is where I wrote this article. The cafe serves local fare, sandwiches and fruit. The food have kcal values labelled beside the price. 

It is open-air but today's weather is very nice. I have stopped work two days ago, and will start at my new job next Monday. I feel semi-retired today, with my life at a slower pace. The last time I ever felt this way was more than a year ago.

The wonton noodles are not soggy or oily. The charsiew was healthier than the usual as it was not the glazed and charred version. The iced kopi had too much condensed milk though. For $4.90, this was pretty reasonable.


  1. Congratulations on finally reaching the end of the line here! I hope that the braces have done its job of rectifying your teeth, after all that it has made you go through. It is tough to endure, yet not impossible to get used to, but at least that's a weight off your shoulder. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Daryl Harrington @ Dental Store

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience of wearing braces. It was exciting to read the article looking at the anxiety with which you have written it. Even I had braces treatment done 2 years back and I could connect to this anxiety of yours. We should thank professionals like dentists who do wonders like this. Read some more exciting reviews

  3. Congratulations to you for reaching the end of your braces journey, and getting the result that’s worth going through this journey for! But of course, it doesn’t really end there as you still need to have follow-up consultations to maintain that beautiful set of teeth you aimed for. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Nicky Waller @ My Grand Dental

  4. Getting braces is such a big part of someone's life, but once it is over it almost completely forgotten about. Unless or until one has young ones that need them themselves in turn and then it all comes flooding back. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this and share your experience with us on this familiar topic.

    Bennie Chandler @ Pine Creek Dental

  5. I am going in for a tooth extraction this week and terrified because it is a back molar and I can not imagine how mach pain will be involved. I never had a tooth removed before and was hoping some of your readers could chime in about recent experiences that they had. I can not sleep at night I am so nervous.

    Milton Wilson @ A+ Family Dentistry

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