I’ve always been conscious of my teeth. Without thinking, I’d adjust my smile depending on how close the camera was. I knew that I looked worse with a closed smile, but I never wanted to risk showing my crooked teeth.
Apparently, at 17, I was a 4.5 on the scale for an NHS brace and you needed to be a 5. I have no idea what that means other than I was going to have to pay for it myself. I have ‘cosmetic’ problems, rather than growth being impacted. So, 10 years later, here I am with a maxed out credit card and little over a month left on my CFast braces.
Yes, they’re expensive. But in reality, the effect it will have on my mental health and confidence is priceless. I went through my NHS dentist practice, which is with Bupa. My dentist offers private orthodontist care, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It was local and when you are visiting weekly and fortnightly, a trip into the city centre isn’t ideal and that’s not to mention travel or parking costs.
If it’s the cost that puts you off, you can open a 0% payment plan over 12 months. I chose to open a credit card with 0% as this means I can pay it off in my own time. Initially I was worried that my teeth would be pushed forwards and out, but this hasn’t happened. Some how, my tiny mouth has found some additional room. They talk you through every step, what they’re doing and how it will work. At first you go monthly, then fortnightly and finally weekly depending on what they’re focusing on (for me I had one awkward tooth they were trying to turn).
I had my brace fitted in the final week of August and was told 9-12 months for completion. For CFast this is considered a long time, most are complete after 6 months. But compared to regular braces, it’s a third shorter.
CFast uses clear brackets, white wires and white bands, rather than the traditional metal. It focuses purely on the front 6 teeth. Though the wires are still metal and the white coating can come off depending on the gaps between changes. In the end, everyone can see you’ve got braces, so white or not, there’s no hiding them! Remember that if you’re hoping CFast will disguise the fact that you’ve got a brace. But, the ‘Invisaline’ style braces aren’t suitable for everyone and tend to only correct minor cosmetic problems. Alternatively, I could have had surgery to realign my jaw and have traditional braces for three years to move the back teeth as well.
My CFast Journey
Before embarking on my CFast journey, I googled to the max. What I found was that no one had really documented their journey with the braces. Most reviews were commenting on traditional braces or official CFast publications.
So here’s my honest review.
The internet seemed to say that taking the mold of your teeth was uncomfortable. I didn’t find that at all, you just had to bite down into putty for 30 seconds, then done!However, it is a strange sensation having an excess of this putty in your mouth. But Just under two weeks later, my braces were ready to be fitted.
The application in the first session is the longest, each bracket is secured individually. This bit doesn’t hurt, but you have to keep your mouth open for a long time!
Does it hurt?
Afterwards, yes. It hurt. A lot.
But mostly for the first 10-14 days. I haven’t felt pain like it. I wanted to rip out this horrible thing in my mouth, making my teeth ache, scratching my lips and cheeks and generally giving me a swollen mouth look. And, just for being a foreign object permanently in my mouth. In fact, I took myself to bed quite a bit (it was the end of the summer holidays). Dosed up with paracetamol, I did actually cry thinking what have I done? I was only able to eat very soft food and found I was scratching my throat trying to swallow without chewing. I hated how it looked, it wasn’t straight wires and brackets – they were all over the show.
But after that, it really wasn’t so bad. You get the odd ache here and there after the bands are changed, but nothing that compared to that first fortnight. You can eat regular food again, as your teeth seem to get used to being pulled here and there! There were a couple of times I had to take a painkiller to numb it a little, but nothing for more than a day or two. Again, nothing like that first time. The brackets eventually even out too after a few months.
You do have to be careful what you eat. Certain foods can stain the bands, so curry is a big no no. I have one coffee a day, which does eventually stain too. Tomato soup, chili, basically anything red! Unless it’s the day before you’re getting them changed, or you’re just not bothered about a yellow tinge. Also, anything tough or overly chewy. Bye wine gums!
The first 3 months I didn’t see too much change, though my teeth definitely felt different, so I knew they were moving. I did lose a band or two, but my dentist was amazing and fitted me in during both our lunch times to replace it. She was fantastic the whole time. I was told exactly what she was focusing on what she was doing. So for example, I had one tooth that needed to move 90 degrees. So she had to place a ‘wedge’ and several ‘power chains’ on my lower front teeth. This showed instant results, creating gaps for it to turn into and closing it within a few hours. But I liked that I was walked through each step. When you spend some time in the chair, it’s nice to not have any surprises.
The removal process
Brackets are removed from your teeth essentially, by using plyers. The odd tooth did hurt, if it was a little more sensitive. However, nothing unbearable. You’re then filed down if necessary – some of my teeth were different heights. Surprisingly this didn’t hurt at all, even on the sensitive teeth. Then, you make a new mould for your retainers.
After treatment, I have chosen the option of a night time retainer and permanent lingual (behind teeth) brace. Which, are all part of the package. The retainer looks like the popular Invisalign braces. They’re comfortable enough, but I’m glad it’s only at night.
In total, my treatment has taken 10 months, plus a month to whiten. The process also includes whitening and a retainer. Many independent orthodontists charge extra for this, or you chose one or another. So do consider your regular dentist if they offer orthodontics.
The whitening process was through Phillips Zoom Nite. This used 10% and 16% gel to wear overnight. My teeth really struggled to whiten at the gums, which was a pain! Teeth can get quite sensitive between treatments too. However, they’re definitely whiter than before.
If you’re considering a brace, please do contact me with any questions!