It was almost over 3 years ago when I first had my braces. I’m kind of ashamed to share this but I think it’s worth reading. It’s a long post so please bear with me.
Back then, the year 2016, when I was just finishing my 1st year in college, probably summertime, I was offered a secretarial job at a dentist’s clinic. Since I didn’t take summer classes at that time, I accepted the offer and worked there for the whole summer. It was fun, tiring and sometimes just boring. The office was not at its peak at that time so customers are not that plenty leading the dentist to decide to substitute my salary into installing braces on my teeth instead.
Being the stupid me, I was mesmerized by the offer and accepted it. Having braces was the ultimate goal of my life at that time. I was really underpaid but that’s fine since I got braces. That was my thinking before. I regularly get my rubbers changed every month and as payment, I get to work there during my free time and weekends.
Eventually, I really got bored with the job. Who wouldn’t when you don’t have the real salary? So I focused on my studies and forgot to take shifts into the clinic since I was really occupied and bombarded by school works at that time. I didn’t even have my rubbers changed every month. A minimum of 3 months was the span of time before I got it changed. Yes I know it’s so gross. But time passed by and I really wanna take my braces off since I feel like my teeth are unhealthy anymore. After a long time without taking shifts into the clinic, last year I guess, I visited the clinic and requested the dentist to change my rubbers since it’s almost 6 months since the last time it was changed. The dentist refused and I know the reason why. Maybe because I’m not working there anymore so I don’t have the right to have my rubbers changed for free.
So what she did, she let an on the job training dentist touched my braces and instead of changing its rubbers, she placed some metal coil around my braces. It was my worst dentist experience ever! I don’t wanna share this but her hand was just so heavy. I don’t know if she’s mad or it’s just her hands. I got some bumps, sores, and cuts under my lips and the side of my cheeks. It was really a painful experience! After that sesh, I went home and cried thinking that the dentist and the intern might be mad at me because I requested for something I don’t deserve. But isn’t it rude to treat me just like that just because I paid nothing on it? I would rather listen to her saying that she can’t change my rubbers anymore and I need to pay for it since I’m not working there anymore rather than treating me like a pig like I don’t feel anything painful!
It is not my intention to state such negative comments from that dentist but she really has an attitude problem. I worked there every summer and weekends for 2 years and I really saw her worst attitude. She’s all about money and not giving patients enough quality and satisfaction they need. I’m one of them. Worst is I paid nothing so I received no quality and satisfaction unto my braces. Correct me if I’m wrong about this thing but I just think that even though I paid nothing, still I’m working as an all-around secretary, down from the papers, to the dental chairs, washing, and cleaning of equipment, paper works that must be the work of an accountant and bookkeeper, everything you could imagine, I had it all when I worked there, I should at least experience quality since having braces was my salary.
This dentist also has good sides but it happens rarely. I don’t want to hold any grudges to her because she helped in aligning my teeth but really, not the totally aligned that you can imagine. I didn’t finish my braces. I had my unchanged rubbers with me for over 1 year because I was traumatized and didn’t have the gut and plan to go back there and I just waited for a miracle to have it removed. My braces were rushed. I still had teeth where it’s not totally aligned. If you are wondering, the rubbers and wires that is placed above the brackets have types. There are certain wires wherein it will be changed once the goal has been reached and rubbers with plain O and the chain which is for polishing the alignment.
I’m not good with the terms but just to give you an idea of the concept of braces, I grabbed some pics from Google to show you what it looks like.
These brackets are numbered and measured on each of your teeth once it is placed. This needs a medical glue that is kind of sour to let the brackets stick on your teeth. These are the ones that detach to the teeth easily and the reason why some people with braces cannot eat too hard foods because this is the most “sensitive” and prone element. So the pricey the medical glue, the more durable. The longer the glue with your brackets is exposed into LED light while drying in your teeth, the more sturdy. See those yellow and green dots? Only dentists could understand it and it serves as an indication into which part of the teeth that bracket goes into. Some brackets have hooks like a tiny antenna, like the photo below wherein another type of rubber is placed when it has the goal of pulling in the teeth or pulling out the jaw.
2. “O” Rubbers
Also called as elastics, rubber band or rubber, this comes in different colors and styles. It could be bold colors, transparent-ish colors, matte and glossy colors. Some rubbers have shapes and designs like flowers, mickey mouse, etc. but it is rarely used by those people who had braces on. Do not underestimate the power of these tiny rubbers because it could stretch more than the size of the brackets. For me, this is the fun part when you had your rubbers changed, you get to choose different colors and customize it the way you want. Well, I got lucky to choose colors everytime I had my rubbers changed before but still unfortunate because I couldn’t request my rubbers to be interchanged with other colors like this photo below.
I want to experiment with other colors but I’m just too embarrassed to request such since I don’t have the right, remember? Btw, this is the band used by all people that have braces. This is the one responsible for aligning the teeth. This will be the band you’ll be using for years depending on how long is the treatment.
3. Molar Bands
This is by far for me the most painful part of having braces. This is a metal band that is inserted in between your molars: upper right, lower right, upper left, lower left. This is where the wire is secured and the adjusting happens. Once the wire has moved, the tail of the wire comes out either on the right or left side of the band. This is when a person with braces will complain that his/her wire is now poking into their cheeks. This is the perfect time to visit the dentist and have your rubbers and wires cut or changed. This is really painful once the wire had extended its length and really just makes a dome or bump in your cheeks. This happened to me a lot of times especially on my last few visits wherein I don’t get my rubbers or wires changed anymore and the wires are just poking everywhere on my cheeks. I had to wear some dental wax to wrap the sharp ends of the wires and as time passed by, it didn’t poke me anymore.
Before I had my bands, I was advised to wear rubber separators for 2 weeks. These are essential to every person with tight, no-space teeth and the most painful thing ever. Its purpose is to provide space for the metal band.
I couldn’t say anything else about this one but I could just say it’s the most painful. The band will be needing a medical cement to let it stick in your molars for years so same with the medical glue scenario for the brackets, the higher the price of the product, the greater the quality it provides. If the cement isn’t as sturdy and durable, it could fall off and that’s so painful. Luckily, that didn’t happen to me so I’m thankful for that.
4. Power Chain
This is what a power chain looks like. It’s still a rubber but it has a “diamond hole” and a “circle hole” type. I really don’t know the difference between these two types of chain but it sure does the job of finalizing the adjustments made and the alignment. In my case, I wore a power chain earlier than I expected. My tooth condition is almost worst; overpopulation. I have overlapped teeth due to lack of space and my main concern was my upper front tooth that also overlaps. I wore a power chain after the dentist literally cut my teeth with some equipment and provided spaces for my overlapped teeth to settle.
I had pictures of my teeth at that time but I lost it. But the image of it, try to imagine that it’s just so weird with so many spaces up front because of the cutting. 2 weeks after wearing the power chain, the spaces were no longer seen but still not that perfectly aligned. This is also much painful than the “O” bands for the first time you’ll be wearing this because it would really give the “pulling in motion” feeling.
5. Wires and Springs
This is the wire that is responsible for adjusting everything. This pulls or pushes everything. It comes in different styles of arch and sizes. It could be thin, medium, thick or the thickest. It has “levels” and for first-timers, the thinnest wire is placed and the levels are being changed overtime when an improvement has been seen or a certain goal has been reached. The painful wire here is the last wire which is the thickest of them all. This is the one who pokes at the cheeks when it has already moved or adjusted your teeth.
This is the spring or metal coils and I never wore one. I am not sure what is its purpose but I’m pretty sure it helps in improving the teeth’s imperfections or alignment. I think this is used for worst case scenarios. The metal coil that I wore was not like this but just a thin wire wrapped around each of my brackets but still painful.
6. Rubber Bands
These are the famous annoying bands that some complain about almost all the time. These bands have a powerful purpose and the positioning of the bands matter on the alignment of the teeth. I never wore one though but I’m pretty sure this is worn to pull the teeth and have an aligned bite and teeth. It’s still a rubber but it’s smaller than those regular rubber bands that we see. I never experienced wearing one but I saw some wearing these and I think it’s the most hassle part of having braces. You can’t stretch your mouth that wide since it could break the rubber or the bracket.
I think that’s pretty much it of the things used and I could say all of these are painful but it’s all worth the pain once you see the improvements and overall results. Now, I will not be ending here because I haven’t said the worst part of the story yet!
Worst Part of the Story:
I don’t know if you’re wondering how come I endured wearing braces without my rubbers unchanged for almost 2 years but to be honest, I did not endure it. Last September 6, 2018, I finally made the decision to have my braces removed. Just by August this year, I have been feeling pain in my right, lower molar and a cavity has been continuously growing there. By the first week of September, it got worse and it gave me super painful toothaches. I planned on visiting a dentist and my mom knew a dentist that is a churchmate so we came there and stated her my story. She was of course shocked by my situation and once she knew that it’s been over a year since my rubbers were changed, she immediately removed it.
Having tooth sessions are expensive and we can’t afford that. She helped me and even agreed to pay at least 75% of the bill since I got short on cash that time. I was really mesmerized by this dentist, she ain’t just about money, she cares and even had the patience to remove not just my braces but my stubborn, aching tooth. I tried to postpone the extraction of my aching tooth but she insisted because she knows that I’m in great pain. No wonder patients are still coming in her clinic even though her location is not very well known and hidden.
After the braces had been removed, I saw that there had been cavity build-up on certain parts of my teeth, especially on the molars wherein the metal bands were placed. I am again worrying that this would get worst again and have all of my molar teeth removed! I just can’t imagine that. The purpose of having braces is to fix not to destroy my teeth.
To be honest, I was really planning on having re-bracing once I graduate from college since I was really not yet satisfied with the results. By that time that I knew I didn’t just have one cavity, I got traumatized by having braces. I am thinking if I should re-brace or not and just be contented with the results.
This was my teeth before I had braces. I used to pose in photos before with strategies on how to hide my teeth because I’m so ashamed and embarrassed by it.
Then this was when I had my braces on and already wearing a power chain.
And here it is, the long-awaited selfie of my teeth without braces.
So sorry for the super oily face, shiny forehead, and low-quality photos hahaha
As you can see, it isn’t perfect as to its alignment, it still has some tiny gaps in between and little overlapping teeth. It’s not flawless but I’m still thankful for the braces I had for over 3 years. Improvements are super evident and I would just think that this thing was the one I wished for in my life. To have confidence and start with the imperfections of my teeth. We have a different point of view and opinions but when I still had my old teeth, I do not have confidence, I’m always self-pitying to the point I got depressed.
I don’t know if the phenomenon of that job offer was a blessing in disguise, a lesson or both. Having braces made me confident but also developed more flaws. I think the lesson for me is to be content with what I already have because I have no cavity problems before I had braces but now, I got 3.
But whatever, I’m still thankful for the dentist who changed my rubbers during the first few months even though all the negative things and trauma. I’m still thanking her for the opportunity to at least fix my overlapped teeth though it’s not totally fixed. I had grudges but I’d be fine with it and just be minding on how to save up for the necessary treatment needed in my teeth.
This was sure a hard lesson to be learned for me. And if you are planning to have braces, think again. You may or may not be happy with the results, just make sure you have enough funds and don’t rely on something or on someone because not everything is for free even if your dentist is a friend or relative. Everything changes even your contract and agreement. If you’re asking what’s the process of having braces and the price? Keep reading below.
This is based on my experience and every dental clinic has their own style and pricing. As mentioned above, I didn’t pay anything on this but I know the price since I’m working in a dental clinic before. Every person who wants to have braces is required to undergo all these steps. The teeth must be flawless and treated before the installment of braces.
- Consultation and Check-up (200-500php)
- Cleaning (500php)
- Tooth Filling (500php per tooth and 1,000php if aesthetic filling)
- Panoramic X-ray (500-700php)
- Extraction of the tooth if there is any cavity filled-tooth that couldn’t be treated with filling (500php for easy and soft tooth and 800-1,000php for a large, stubborn and complicated tooth)
- Making cast or model of your teeth (price included in brace package)
- Installing the braces (brace package price)
Brace Package Price:
It usually runs from 45,000 to 80,000php depending on the case of your teeth. In the clinic I worked before, they accept installments with the downpayment of 15-25,000php and a monthly payment of 5,000php. Steps 1-5 is not included in the brace package, therefore, the overall price of having braces would totally range to 80-100,000php.
There are lots of dental clinics out there that are much cheaper than as to what I have mentioned but just make sure that it’s legit and the products they will be using for your braces are of great quality.
Sure, having braces really costs a lot of money that’s why I’m saying this again that if you can’t afford this and pursue to do the installment with no stable source of money, better think again or you don’t want to end up like my story wherein mine was left untreated for months and over a year which eventually caused cavities and trauma in me.
How about you? Have you worn braces? Or do you plan on wearing braces? Let me know on the comment box below. xx