Saturday, March 9, 2013

A big decision-and a very personal post

Hope the title of this post isn't too dramatic but I have been researching something since the beginning of the year, now I have all the information and I need to make a commitment to it or not.

The reason this is a very personal post in that I guess no one likes to talk about their insecurities in public.  And the thought of posting pictures of my teeth online makes me feel vomity sick!  And warning-this post does contain photos of my teeth!!

My teeth never bothered me when I was younger.  I went to the dentist regularly but never suffered from anything worse than a filling. 

But as I have got older a couple of little things really bother me-a small overlap of one of my teeth and a tooth that has grown down sideways inside of flat.

On normal photos with friends my teeth don't bother me too much, but anything close up I hate and I have become more and more conscious of it as I have gotten older.  Now it's gotten so bad in my mind that I hate having my photo taken at all.  I've spoken about it with my family and colleagues at work-and most have said that they don't think I need anything doing.  But it bothers me so much.

These photos don't bother me too much....

Posting this makes me feel sick!

 So I started researching braces.

In Dubai, anything medical is notoriously expensive as we live in a private medical care system-I am lucky enough that my employer provides excellent medical insurance but that doesn't cover any dental work.  Braces are SO expensive here.  I had heard that Dubai had a teaching hospital, European University College where postgrad dentists complete their training.  They offer discounted services to Dubai residents as you will be dealt with by the postgraduate student but under supervision from the clinical directors.  It has an excellent reputation in Dubai and so I made an appointment at the beginning of this year.

I've now been 3 times and I have been so impressed with the treatment I have had.  The fact I have a really good looking postgraduate dentist assigned to me helps as well!  The first time was an initial consultation to say what I wanted, the second time I had a full examination and they took impressions of my teeth which have been made into moulds.  I also had photographs and xrays taken.

Today I have been back for my third and final consultation appointment where the dentist presented me with the options for my teeth.  I haven't paid the clinic a penny (or dirham which is more appropriate) so far.

It was really interesting today but has given me a lot to think about-it's far more of a big decision than I thought.

Firstly my dentist showed me the photos and x-rays.  My front teeth have a slight alignment to the right-by about 2mm.  Also, my bottom teeth (which I have never had a problem with and they don't bother me at all) tip slightly forward but my dentist tells me the impact of that is that the bone underneath them is very weak.  The front teeth on the top are the ones that bother me the most and I have an overlap and a twist.  The dentist says that the top is overcrowded and in order to fix this he will need to extract a tooth from either side of my mouth.  On the bottom, they can fix the tilt but again, they will need to remove one tooth in order for there to be room for all the teeth to align correctly.  So in total I need to lose 3 teeth.  I certainly didn't expect that I would need teeth removing!

Impressions made by the dentist

Impressions made by the dentist

Next my dentist talked me though the brace options.  The thing I really like about the teaching hospital is that they give you options and tell you the pro's and con's of each-they don't just try to push the most expensive option on you.  For me, I have 3 options-metal wires, ceramic braces or Incognito braces (like Invisalign but Incognito are suitable for me because of the extractions I need to have)

The hospital quotes you a total price which covers all the consultations I have had, the making, fitting and all the aftercare including my monthly alignment appointment and care if I have any problems.  The metal wire braces are AED8500 (just over £1500), ceramic (white) braces are AED10,000 (about £1800) and the Incognito braces are the most expensive at AED20,000 (about £3700).   Interestingly my dentist told me that the wire braces would be the quickest and often get the best results.  But with my job I just don't feel I can have wire braces.  I want the Incognito even though they are the most expensive.  Also I had a preliminary quote for Invisalign from another dentist and they quoted me a starting price of AED60,000 (over £10,000 not including check ups and ongoing maintenance).  The hospital also offers a payment plan where you pay monthly installments until the quoted amount it paid then that is it-no extras.  He estimates it will take 18-24 months to fix my smile which does seem like a long time but then I have been in Dubai almost 8 years and its flown by.

Incognito Invisible Braces are placed on the back of your teeth so are completely invisible.  They will be custom made for me in the US and then I will have to visit the hospital once a month for adjustments.  They're made mainly of gold so they are very thin on the back of your teeth for minimum discomfort.

So I now have until Tuesday to make a decision.  I have an appointment with one of the clinical directors who specialises in this particular brace and if I want to go ahead, on Tuesday they will make the impressions to be sent to the US and they will arrange for the removal of the teeth.  My dentist thinks they will probably remove 2 and then remove the 3rd at a second appointment.  He promises me it won't hurt-bet he is lying!!  When I smile, you shouldn't be able to see the extractions as they are quite far back in my mouth and as the teeth start to align the gap will close.

Maybe it'll be interesting to blog about the experience and to record the changes to my teeth.  I know you can't buy confidence but I think I am prepared to put this investment into my teeth in order to improve my smile.  And everyone knows, smiling is a great indicator of confidence and happiness.

I would love to hear any experiences of having braces and the impact it had on your life.  Especially the Incognito ones. 



  1. Claudia StenhouseMarch 9, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    I think it's very brave of you to do something like this and write about it. I have something personal that I've only briefly mentioned but when it happens I'm going to do a blog like this too.
    Your teeth are lovely but I definitely know the feeling that it doesn't matter how many people tell you that something's fine, if you're not comfortable then it's your decision to do something about it if you want!
    Good luck, I had braces when I was a teenager, and the one's that everyone could see, I didn't care because they are so worth it and i'm glad you're doing something that will make you happier and more confident :)


  2. I think it will make a really interesting read, and I know it's something you have wanted to do for ages, good luck sweetie xxx


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