I have always hated my teeth. Ever since I was a young child, it’s something that has made me feel self-conscious.
Growing up – and now, even as a 26-year-old man – I will purposefully keep my mouth closed when photographs are being taken, ensuring my teeth are on show for as little time as possible.
The main problem is the large gap that resides between my front two teeth, and also the fact that they are, shall we say, over-pronounced.
The damage was done due to thumb-sucking and, around the age of 10, my dad paid £100 for me to have a private orthodontist appointment to see about getting retainers and what were then called ‘train track’ braces.
However, back then, these retainers were chunky, uncomfortable and pretty painful – safe to say, I did not get on with them at all.
They irritated me so much that I gave up on them and didn’t even get to the train tracks part of the process; something that my dad will guilt trip me about to this day.
In the years since, however, I have learned to just get on with it and push the negative thoughts about my teeth to the back of my mind.
But, being a journalist who often interviews people in person or (in these times) via Zoom, showing my teeth has become unavoidable.
So, when I started to see advertising pop ups on my Instagram and Facebook pages about Invisalign earlier this year, I started to look at what could be done.
I also began to notice that several people who were in my school year had gone through the Invisalign process – with impressive results.
I then looked on the Invisalign website and found their ‘virtual smile view’, which is where you simply snap a selfie to see what you could look like with straighter teeth, in under 60 seconds.
To say I was impressed with the envisioned result would be an understatement.
After doing some research (aka social media stalking) I discovered that Invisalign was being offered in my nearest town, at March Dental Surgery, by Dr Kishan Patel.
Following a brief conversation via social media, Dr Patel had booked me in for a virtual consultation; these are all free and last for around half an hour.
During the virtual consultation – which minimised the need for physical interaction, especially in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – I was asked what it was that I wanted to change.
I was then talked through the process in a simple and easy to understand manner and shown a price list in relation to what my treatment would cost.
The biggest sell for me, though, was that Dr Patel told me my teeth could be straight and gapless within just 15 weeks.
At first, I wasn’t quite sure how it would work so quickly – especially when ‘train track’ braces need at least a year to do their job.
But Dr Patel told me that by wearing the Invisalign retainer – a tiny transparent piece of plastic that slots under the teeth and is virtually invisible – for 22 hours a day (removing when eating or drinking), the magic would happen in that impressive timeframe.
I was sold, and have since visited the practice for my initial X-rays and scans. Watch this space.