I miss myself.
It’s another of those nights where I lie awake praying everything would return to normal soon. I can’t remember when was the time I’ve cried this much within such a short span of time. I scroll through the photos on my instagram and start regretting my choice to straighten my teeth. Well, the lower set was pretty crowded, but I really could have lived with it. Hah! *insert discontented grunts- Perhaps I should pen this whole process down to remind myself never to go without retainers ever again. And to those thinking of going for braces, this is my advice. Please do your own research before trusting your dentist. (Ridiculous ain’t it? And here we thought if there was anything we didn’t know, it was best to seek a doctor’s opinion). The emotional trauma and time spent is a hefty price to pay.
I wasn’t the prettiest face but I had such a gorgeous smile that wasn’t afraid to show itself.
I was confident and simply loved taking photos. With a smile like that, who wouldn’t right? Here are a few pictures of me before my 2nd braces treatment.
There’s me enjoying a breeze in Taiwan.
A night out with the sportscar fanatic.
Sipping Tequila in Langkawi just a few months before I started my braces treatment.
And of course a whole load of other happy moments.
It all started with misaligned lower teeth because I hadn’t been diligent in wearing my retainers. Since my first dentist left me with a gorgeous smile, I was pretty sure all I needed was just 2-3 months to simply align them slightly so it looked straight. My teeth were already 3/4 straight to begin with. Who knew it was going to be such a traumatic journey. I sourced for various clinics which was able to do re-treatments and was recommended one near my house. There were a few dentists working in there and currently, I’ve interacted with 3 of the dentists within the group. Dentist C, Dentist K and Dentist L.
Dentist C started my treatment, he’s a nice and sincere doctor. Probably the main reason why I’m still here praying for a miracle instead of leaving. There were a few things I’ve declared to him before we started;
- My wisdom tooth were extracted recently prior to the treament
- I knew I had an openbite, they recommended me to pull my bottom jaw out. I stated that I did not want to change any of my features or smile, just simply straighten/smoothen my teeth without moving my front teeth backwards. I was happy with my smile, just the in/out adjacent alignment of the teeth that was annoying me massively. The top set was not much of my concern. My main problem was the lower set of teeth that was really crooked.
- If it was possible to finish the treatment within 3-4 months since I had a photoshoot in April 2018.
He said it was possible to do it hence we went on with the treatment in August 2017. Now, what I didn’t know was that he was one of the least experienced in the clinic. It was not mentioned to me and I only found out roughly a year later. Le sigh. At times like this, I wished he had been honest with me. I would have given it more thought before accepting the treatment.
At the start of the treatment, I looked like this. (Taken about a month after becoming a braceface again)
Still loved my smile with braces on. Should have just forced him to remove it then even when he said it wasn’t time yet. ):
There was a few sessions in between he said he needed to shave off a little of my front teeth. I asked if it would push my teeth back but he assured me teeth only moved anteriorly and it wouldn’t change my features. I lived in regret thereafter.
This is how I looked like in February 2018 during CNY.
How did I get to this in just 2 years?!
My smile looked weird. It was no longer the same smile and my lower half of the face felt pushed back. Furthermore, my smile used to come out effortlessly before the treatment. Now it was hidden in my face and I had to really smile my widest just to see my teeth. At first, I wondered if it was because I started gaining weight (The first thing girls always think of HAHAHA) but hey, guess what. I was actually around the same weight before the treatment. In addition, I was a regular jogger/marathoner who has never been more than 50kg. So what was happening?
I studied myself in the mirror and realized my tongue, which is usually placed at the roof of my mouth was pushed back to prevent being bitten by my anterior teeth. This explained the breathing issues I was having. I did have slight speech trouble which was especially prominent during my choral sessions. It was literally a short tongue. Although I’m still not too sure how my lower face started to tilt inwards (I’m actually still doing A LOT OF READING online figuring this out), I raised these issues to Dentist C and that was when it dawned on me something wasn’t quite right. He approached Dentist K for help.
I believe the scariest thing that can happen to a patient is realizing your doctor doesn’t know what to do.
In March 2018, Dentist K started advising him on my treatment plan. She agreed that it was tilted inwards and said she would help me achieve a better smile. I wanted the top set of my teeth back out like how it used to be. She said she wasn’t a plastic surgeon but agreed to help me get it back to near original. 6 months down the road, this was how I looked.
Is this the definition of a better smile? (Aug/September 2018)
During half a year of HELL, more problems arised. The sides of my teeth were constantly grazing the lateral aspect of my tongue and there are multiple DIASTEMA IN BETWEEN MY TEETH. I’VE NEVER IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE HAD GAPS IN BETWEEN MY TEETH. Can you imagine how appalled I was? Even with braces 9-10 years ago, I’ve never had a gap so big that I would fear smiling with teeth. Furthermore, the biting aids which were placed initially to tackle the breathing problem screwed my bite up so badly – I don’t even know where to bite down anymore.
Every single time I went back for a revision, I’ve raised both issues that were mentioned above. Initially, Dentist K seemed understanding and I was assured that both problems will be fixed. It was explained that they needed to tilt the teeth outwards? As time went by, she started asking if I had nose fillers because my x-ray looked weird. (Mum, thanks for the weird nose!) There was another time she questioned if the grazing of the lateral tongue was psychological. That made me really mad as I’ve raised the discomfort of my tongue the moment she changed the wire. I SHOULD HAVE JUST FORCED HER TO REMOVE THE WIRE THERE AND THEN if I knew this was going to happen. Now, this was the last straw.
SHE SAID THE ONLY WAY TO FIX THE DIASTEMA WITHOUT PUSHING THE TEETH BACKWARDS IS VENEERS.
I was horrified. I told her I was not keen on veneers but she assured me that she was very experienced in veneering. I asked if there were any other options and she said no. I left the clinic disheartened and GOOGLED. I was so desperate and hopeless I had to asked around if anyone had dentistry friends who knew of other solutions. NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I FELT SO DEPRESSED AND LOST. I wished there was someone who could just help me get my smile and confidence back. That’s when I approached Dentist L.
Dentist L is affiliated to the clinic and was referred by my radiologist’s friend. So my fiance and I went to see him at his clinic. He provided me with 4 alternatives as compared to veneers and boy! Was I RELIEVED to hear that. I thought he would be taking over the treatment however it seems, he would only be assisting Dentist C and Dentist K. I was skeptical initially. The trust I had for both Dentist C and K were gone, how would I know there will not be more screwups. Again, I was assured that Dentist L will be the one advising with the treatment and if it does not get better, he will take over. Hence I agreed.
My braces were changed to a different type called Damon. I do not understand why this was done but I trust that Dentist L will be able to guide them. Fast forwarding to October 2018 at a birthday celebration.
Pardon the grainy image. I’ve been keeping my mouth closed ever since the diastema happened but that day, I tried smiling. I really don’t know what’s wrong with the bottom half of my face. Where is my smile!? I showed this photo to both dentists yesterday and asked when was the next review with Dentist L. Another SHOCK. Dentist K told me that Dentist L is not keen to review my case. HOW MANY EMPTY PROMISES CAN ONE CLINIC GIVE A PATIENT AFTER DESTROYING THEIR SMILE?
I broke down. I don’t know what I should do anymore. Dentist K told me no other dentist will pick up my case because it’s too difficult. She added that their clinic is making a loss by handling my case and they could just refund me so I can find a different clinic. I was disgusted and told her my initial consultation was simple. My teeth was already 3/4 straight. All it needed was minor alignment. Again, she defended that it was not conveyed accurately during the consultation.
I do not understand.
How is “I do not want to change my features or my bite, just straighten it so it looks pretty” not clear? I told both of them during the consultation that I liked the way I looked and smile. It was just the in/out of the teeth I wanted to correct. That wasn’t clear enough? I asked Dentist C on EVERY SINGLE VISIT IF MY TEETH WOULD BE PUSHED BACK (I was overly paranoid because of the wisdom tooth removal) if he tried to shave my teeth and I was assured it would not. STILL NOT CLEAR ENOUGH?
I don’t know what to do already. She said the only way she can help me is for me to follow her instructions. (That’s what I did 6 months ago and looked where I am). My mind became blank after. I’m at my wits end. Before we left, Dentist K added that my teeth was asymmetrical in the first place and she gave me elastics for that.
May 2016 vs November 2018
Will I ever be able to smile like that again?
I really don’t know how long I can keep pretending everything will be alright. I’m exhausted from the sleepless nights. Everything seems hopeless. I can’t stand looking at myself in the mirror anymore. I miss prancing in front of the camera and taking lots of selfies. Can someone tell me what to do. I miss my smile, I miss my confidence.
I miss myself.