I just heard my friend saying “Cheeeezzzzzz” to which each of my friends posed and smiled. This time I smiled to the fullest. You might be wondering why I said that ‘this time I smiled freely’. There are a number of people who might have understood why I said it. There are plenty of people who might not have had a chance to smile freely at a friend or while posing in front of the camera or might not have giggled properly at a comment nor might have laughed loudly at a joke. It is not mere observation but an experience. I never did all the above mentioned things until I had uneven teeth.

There are thousands of children and youth who have unshaped teeth. Most of them get the treatment done during childhood. I dedicate this blog to those who ran away from ugly braces or who are running away from the treatment thinking it would spoil their look. I had two devilish teeth and I was known for that. Some who didn’t know me personally also used to call me that ‘Ah Dhara, the girl with strange teeth’, ‘ punching machine’ and what not. I was given the title of having ‘Ting Ting Tiding’ smile. All this made me more conscious while smiling in public. I thought that getting braces would make me uglier. So I didn’t go for the treatment until I crossed 20. My relatives scolded me for not going to the orthodontist for a checkup. So one fine day I landed up to a dentist who is a family member. He shared my case with his friend who was an orthodontist. He said I was having deep bite and so braces were unavoidable. He said I would start losing my teeth at an earlier age if I didn’t get the braces fixed. This made me eager and I prepared myself for the ugly look.

I was wearing braces for ten long months. 3 to 4 days after I got it fixed, they became a part of me. I just loved to see the transition of my teeth- from unshaped to aligned to properly shaped. Once your teeth get aligned you do not even feel shy or awkward while smiling even with the braces. What was surprising was the day I got off my braces, for a day or two I felt that something is missing. Isn’t it shocking?

People have thousands of questions regarding braces. I hope I can answer them through this blog. The first is Do braces hurt? Braces do not hurt really. Not even when your doctor is fixing them. Oral treatments are terrible and so we feel that braces are no exception. I remember that I did not do even an ‘aah or ouch’ during that one and half hour when the doctor was standing on me with all lights and strange looking instruments. But yes everytime the doctor tightens the wire it does pain a little for a day or two and you might face a bit chewing problem. But that okay every positive result has pains behind them. And it becomes a part and parcel of your day to day life once you get used to it.

What is the right age of getting braces? One should undergo the treatment between the age of 12 to 18. After that the jaw movement becomes impossible. I made the mistake by refraining from the treatment during this age but I advise you not to follow my mistake and get it done as soon as possible for better results.

The next query may be ‘Does it bring restriction to your eating habits?’ Well, you do need to be a bit cautious while eating hard, sticky or crunchy eatables. It might damage your bracket. Hence just be cautious while eating these food items if you do not want to prolong your treatment.

What all precautions does one need to take while having braces? Braces require just a little bit of extra care. You need to take care about your food habits as I mentioned earlier. You must brush three to four times a day. This would help you to stay away from dirty yellow patches which you might observe after the removal of braces. A proxa toothbrush is a must.

Which type of brackets should one get fixed? There are two types of brackets, ceramic and metallic. Metallic are the regular brackets that we see. Ceramic braces are white color braces that are not visible from a distance. People like me who have crossed the age of getting braces generally choose the ceramic brackets. But I had gone for simple metallic once as I felt that at the end they were to be thrown in the dustbin and hence there no point spending so much on it. Ceramic brackets double the cost of your treatment. And trust me metallic braces do not make you look that ugly. In fact you would love to see the transition of your teeth. You would actually start becoming keen to observe the difference.

How many types of treatments are there? There are three types of treatments: Indian, American and Thermal. Indian treatment has become outdated and is not much used by the doctors. In American treatment, equal pressure is given on teeth. Thermal is the newer technique which works on the basis of the temperature of your mouth and gives required pressure on required tooth. My doctor chose the thermal treatment for me and not extracting a single tooth I got rid of them within 10 months.

Do you need to take special care after you get off your braces? After your braces gets removed, you need to get the retainer. There are two types of retainers, fixed and removable. Removable retainer has consists of a thin metallic wire along with a pallet just like that with dentures. You need to remove it everytime you eat something. It becomes a bit odd to remove the retainers when we move out of the house. Hence I went for fixed retainers. It is again a thin wire but it is fixed at the back of your teeth and you cannot see it. You still need to take care while eating hard food.

To conclude I would say that your smile it precious. It is not just stretching of lips or showing your teeth, but far beyond that. It is a way of communication: of expressing your emotions, your happiness, your support, your commitment and what not. It can speak a thousand words. Hence do not restrict it and move on towards the path of having a perfect smile. Let not laughter challenge you, you challenge laughter.