For about 15 years, I've been wanting to get braces. When I was a kid, I was pretty jealous that both my sisters got braces and I did not. Back then in Germany, your teeth had to be pretty crocked in order for the insurance to pay for them, so I guess mine were not crooked enough for German standards.
I've been looking into getting braces for probably 6 years now. I got several quotes from orthodontists in the US and they all told me that it would be around $5000-6000. And who knows what other costs were not included in that price.
It might be worth it to some people, but I don't have severely crooked teeth and I didn't find that it was worth the money for how little crooked they are.
In Jeddah, it would have cost about $2000-3000, but with William joining our family, I kind of forgot about that idea... the first year with William was pretty much just trying to survive somehow :-)
So, we decided to maybe get my braces at our next post if prices aren't too outrageous.
As soon as we got to Baku, we had a consultation with an orthodontist that many expats as well as the embassy's doctor had recommended to us. His price quote for braces sounded very pleasing to our ears: 1925 AZN, which is $1100. Plus, we found out that our insurance covers 50% of that. So, heck yeah, put on those braces, Dr Anar!
Of course, it made me a little nervous to get it done in a country other than the US and in addition, to get the braces by an orthodontist who himself has pretty crooked teeth. But my treatment should be pretty standard and simple.
So, I finally fulfilled my dream and got ceramic braces about 1.5 months ago, and this is what it looks like:
The procedure was painless, as expected. But I have to admit that I was a little bit surprised at how huge these brackets are and how rough they feel in the mouth. I expected them to be much thinner and smoother. I can definitely relate to this now:
The day I got them, Anthon kept asking me all day if I was excited to finally have braces. Well... not really!
It's not the braces that I'm excited about, it is the result after year when I get them out again that I'm excited about.
After the first couple of days, I found them so awful that I kind of regretted getting them, but I kept (and still keep) telling myself that it will be all worth it in the end... hopefully :-)
After having them for about 7 weeks, I can testify that they really suck! I feel so bad for children and especially teenagers that have them. They definitely make me feel even more self-conscious, even though I usually don't see as many people and friends every day as children do.
Even after 1.5 months, I notice them every time I laugh because they feel so big in my mouth, which is quite irritating.
I also had to get used to hearing myself speak with braces. There is more of a shh sound to hear now and it was super irritating at the beginning and sometimes still is. I don't know if I'm getting used to the awful sound or if I'm speaking more clearly with them now.
When we first got together with friends, I remember them often mentioning that you can hardly see them. But then when I look at pictures or videos of myself, I'm sure that people are just being nice :-)
Having braces also makes flossing more complicated. I'm a very eager flosser and I've already had to go back 2x because a bracket or the wire became loose due to flossing. I have to go back every two weeks for tightening, so every extra trip is a little bit annoying.
I also don't like how it makes my teeth look more yellowish, as you can see in some pictures. I think it's because the ceramic brackets and the colorless elastic ties tend to get discolored quickly and in certain lighting, the discoloration is more visible.
And, as everybody of you former braces wearers knows, eating most foods becomes more difficult. I think I lost a couple of pounds during the first 3 weeks because of that (which is actually one of the few advantages right now). Apples, carrots, meat, even cucumbers and bread and some pastries- everything hurts or feels uncomfortable to eat, even after 7 weeks :-/
|And nuts!!!! Candied almonds!!! I'm going to miss eating them this Christmas season.|
So yeah, after 7 weeks, it's still a love-hate relationship. I'm glad that I finally got them and that for a very great price, but it is hard when you're as self-conscious as I am. At the same time, I'm of course super excited to see the results in a year or so. I might have the upper ones for only 4-6 months, so that will makes things only half as awful :-)
But until then: