Braces: StoriesWrite a Review
Ceramic Braces to Finish the Job Invisalign Didn't - Houston, TX
- T in Texas
- posted 5 months ago
- updated 2 months ago
- Not Sure
- Cost: $4,450
- Vijay Bhagia, DMD (Houston, TX)
This story is about Ceramic braces, but first I...
- 2 Dec 2012
This story is about Ceramic braces, but first I have to tell you that I wrote a previous review about my Invisalign Braces that I wore for 1-1/2 years, titled "Anxiety and Elation about Invisalign." I am not crazy. Invisalign did straighten my teeth, but didn't failed to correct the slight over-jet of my front teeth sitting on the two neighboring teeth. This was the main reason I got Invisalign braces was because I didn't want my teeth all bunched up in front. Invisalign also failed to move my bottom right teeth to an aligned position I paid $6,500 out of pocket in full with no insurance. To some people my Invisalign result would be fine if you just wanted average teeth.
I had a picture of a beautiful smile that was uniquely my own choice. Not someone else's generic smile! I kept asking for refinements that weren't working after 1-1/2 years and decided to pay the balance in full and decline my retainer.
I googled Orthodontist in my area, and got lots of phone numbers for ads saying Orthodontists, but when I checked their credentials, they were just dentist that do Orthodontics. I specifically asked, "Are you licensed as an Orthodontic Dentist?" and the majority answer was no. I told them, "No thanks, and hung up."
I am the most blatantly honest reviews you'll ever read, so I may say things that no one else would so be prepared. I always say don't ask me a question because I will tell you exactly what I am thinking.
Several people had told me about Dr. Vijay Bhagia, of Space Center Orthodontics. They swear they've had great results. It's a Orthodontic office designed like a spaceship with games for children. I'll be honest. I am not and have never been a fan of children. So I imagined this place to be one of those annoying places filled with kids that would get on my nerves. I heard the great reviews but declined even looking the place up based upon hearing it catered to children.
It was also far from where I live and would be a long drive from the east end of Galveston to Clear Lake. I put off the idea of going there for a long time. I called another place but hadn't heard any great reviews. So with great anxiety I decided to try to put my feelings about going to a place that caters to children that might get on my nerves aside and just go for a consultation at Space Center Orthodontics.
On my first Consultation I expected to walk in the door and be assaulted by children running about the clinic, whining or crying kids, but on my visit their weren't any children. Just adults. Kids do come there though. I could look around and see their were lots of video games and space ship looking entertainment for kids. There was a nice coffee and tea and beverage area for all clients. There was a real ice cream dispensing machine for after your visit that kids and adults would like. The atmosphere was quiet and pleasant. So far I didn't bolt out of there. My anxiety was put to rest by very kind and attentive staff. Someone came out and gave me the grand tour. They showed me where I could sign in or get info about my case online when I come for a visit. The staff showed me a nice clean tooth brushing area to come to and brush, floss, or use mouthwash before or after each procedure. The staff didn't take me to private rooms there was a circle in the middle of the dental office of neatly arrange orthodontic chairs and a technician for each station doing braces. I witnessed Dr. Bhagia overseeing all the trained orthodontic techs work and visiting with each and every patient. At the time, it didn't occur to me that the Orthodontist may not be the one adjusting my braces. There was so much to observe in the clinic that those kind of things don't hit you till later. I was just in awe of how different this office was than other dental practices. There were a lot of clients in the circle and none were complaining. In fact everyone seemed happy. Then the staff showed me a few private rooms just in case there is some reason the client prefers a private room, but most do not.
After the tour, it was time to go talk to the financial consultant and talk directly to Dr. Vijay Bhagia. They have several pictures of teeth on the wall and he asked me which one of those would I like my teeth to look like. I selected the one where the teeth are the most wide to the left and right. Dr. Bhagia then showed me another photo and asked, "If you teeth turn out more like this photo then how are you going to feel?" I said, "I am going to feel like dying." Dr. Bhagia looked disappointed and said "I wouldn't want you to feel like dying. I don't need you money that bad." Those teeth still look bunched up and I am trying to get a more wide and slanted down look. I hate teeth that slant out or are bunched up" So, Dr. Bhagia said then you probably won't like my teeth and showed me his teeth which were slightly slanted outward. My no comment and smirk was probably like a thousand words. His teeth were not bad, just not the yuppie kind of cosmetically enhanced teeth I admire. I love truly spectacular teeth. I was thinking it never ceases to amaze me how a person who sells any product can advise others if they have not done whatever they are selling. How do you consult with a hairstylist with bad hair, a cosmetic surgeon with a wrinkled face and huge nose, or a orthodontist with uneven teeth or slanted teeth that didn't get braces himself? I'm just being honest. How can those people possibly understand a perfectionist. Then he asked me what did I think about his financial consultant's teeth which he did braces on. (Good lord, I told you do not ask me a question because I will not hesitate to tell the truth and nothing but the whole truth.) His financial consultant was pretty and friendly and her teeth were nice but when I looked at her teeth they were straight but still the kind of teeth that looked bunched up in the front. So I said, "I think her teeth look okay, and they were beautiful teeth, but her teeth are not how I want my teeth to look, hers are slightly bunched up like mine are." The financial consultant and Dr. Bhagia looked shocked at my honestly. I bet I spent nearly 2 hours showing the Dr. Bhagia and the financial consultant graph on how I expect my teeth to move...and I was not going to be happy if they did not move to the left and right. And I was going to walk out if he said he could not move them in that direction. I wanted it clear, I do not want someone else's generic smile. I am seeking individual tweaking until I get the desired alignment of my teeth. So Dr. Bhagia said he would try. He can't promise I'll get my exact idea but he'll try to get close to it.
He left he consulting office and came back in with this $700 cosmetic dentistry book that was given to him by a great cosmetic dentist who is very high dollar and makes his cosmetic teeth in Italy. He showed me fabulous reconstructions of teeth and told me "The majority of my patients wouldn't appreciate this book but I can see you are different." I did love the book. My teeth are important. I remember being poor and not going to a dentist until my late 20's. I don't want average teeth. I want beautiful teeth when I am done.
So after much debate, I decided to get braces again. I choose ceramic ones because they looked the best. They were so clear that you could hardly see them. I came to an agreement of 4,450. Paid $2.090 down, and insurance should cover the remaining cost I know some of you will look at my beginning photos and think I am nuts or crazy to spend this when my teeth appear nearly straight in photos, but nearly is not my idea of how I want my teeth to look. I want my two front teeth aligned inside of the two neighboring teeth, not sitting on them. It's difficult to see but they are sitting on the two neighboring teeth.
They fit me in that day. The staff lead me to the circle of of chairs in the middle of the Orthodontics clinic. A technician, not the the Orthodontist, put on my braces... This was okay because the Orthodontist did map out the plan for the technician. I would have never assumed the Orthodontist would not be the one doing the teeth, but I did not ask this question. I don't care who adjust my braces as long as the Orthodontist is really supervising and respectfully honoring my vision of how I want my teeth, not just some standard treatment everyone gets. It was not uncomfortable or painful. The only weird thing was that the technician put a blue glue on my back molars so that I could not close my teeth completely together and this felt weird and uncomfortable. She said she did this so that I would not bite down and break off some attachment on the back teeth. She said the glue would wear down in a couple of days. It didn't, it stayed too thick for weeks almost a month and then wore down just slightly and it was too far to drive to go back. I forgot to get my free ice cream before I left the clinic. I regretted that all the way home:) Overall, the clinic itself was fabulous, the Orthodontist and staff were outstandingly friendly and personable, there were no annoying children (on that day.) I liked everything about the visit. It was impressive, but will I get the result I am hoping for? Only time will tell.
My Orthodontic plan was set up for one year only. I was schedule to come in only every 10 weeks. After I got home and calculated this up I realized this was only about 5 visits in one year. I got extreme anxiety. I thought how is anyone going to be able to tweak my teeth the way I want them in 5 visits? This did not seem right, or worth it for my $4,450! So I emailed the office and wrote that I am having difficulty understanding that, and having extreme anxiety and don't like that. Their answer was "With new braces most people want the convenience of fewer visits." Well, I am not most people. I don't want to wear my second set of braces one day more than the expected year. I want my Orthodontist right on my teeth as often as possible. I think they should hand each patient a hand held mirror on each visit and ask each patient's opinion about how they would like their teeth tweaked, and do that. So they agreed to see me every 6 weeks. I have not got to go to that visit yet. It only been 4 weeks.
Meanwhile the cable guy came to set up my cable and had braces. I asked him how often does your Orthodontist adjust your teeth? He said, "Every 5 weeks like clock work." I asked, "Who adjust your teeth?" and he looked puzzled and said, "The Orthodontist." I asked every single person I saw with traditional braces that question and all reported about the same. This gave me a little more anxiety about if I made the right choice by going to Space Center Orthodontic. The clinic is great, the staff is great, but am I getting expert Orthodontics? Only time will tell. And I will tell you as I go along.
During the first few weeks I only had slight soreness in my teeth. I learned to use the wax on sharp areas of the braces because yes they will cut up your cheeks. I bought the Water Pic Water Flosser and that is so great and comforting to the gums. As long as I use it I do not have to use old fashion floss. It feels like a shower massage to the gums. I just love it. About the 3-4 week I start to see and feel movement of my teeth. I felt some nerve pain in the back teeth and start to see undesired spacing which probably has to happen to later move the teeth. Then I started to actually see one side of my front teeth lift up, not down and my neighboring tooth sort of slide behind it more than before, but I remembered that initially on any type of braces the teeth start out by loosening then are later tweaked to position. I am not concerned till I return for my 6 week follow-up.
On this review I will post photos of my teeth as I go along, but also post photographs of teeth that I want mine to look like. I have always liked wider spaced teeth. I like front teeth that are longer in the front. I personally do not like teeth that are all evened out the same length. I do not like slanted outward, bucked teeth, or teeth that bunch up in front. Just simply straightening a persons teeth to some generic form is not going to make every patient happy, each person has their unique idea of the look they want. I certainly do.
I heard the Dr. Bhagia tell the technician, "Each time Ms. Braskey comes she is going to have questions about how her teeth are moving." And I do not want someone to just ignore what I say. I want someone to give me a hand held mirror and show me what are we going to do today to move this and that tooth in the direction I am showing you I want it moved in?" Don't just put braces on my teeth and hope for the best. Listen to me. Do what I want as your patient. Right now when I look at the initial Ceramic Braces on my teeth I can not see anything pulling my teeth to the left and right to widen them. I have to ask about this on my 6 week follow-up.
This is important to me. After $6,500 for Invisalign that didn't do the job, and now 4,450 for ceramic braces this is nearly 11,000 for Orthodontics. I have to be proactive and insist on directing the movement of my teeth or this money & time has been wasted.
I am going to posts photos to show readers the progress. I'll post them every month for the year. You can be my witnesses. I have not seen any great movement in the direction that I want in the first month, I am guessing I won't see any progress until later visits. For me and for the Orthodontist, Dr. Bhagia I posted photos of the shapes and alignment of teeth I like and hope my teeth to mirror. Only time and photos will tell you if that's possible.
So remember my first photos posted are my actual teeth after Invisalign. Close up you can see there is still a slight overlap that I want corrected and the bottom right teeth are still slightly misaligned. From a slight distance my teeth look fabulous in photos, but in person face to face they look more 3D and still bunched up in front. The other photos are photos of other peoples teeth that I admire and hope mine to mirror. After I do get the alignment I hope for I do plan on cosmetic bonding to reshape them. I plan on dental implants to replace extracted teeth.
Later, I was googling Ceramic braces and saw that Ceramic Braces also come in blingie colors like pink, and all other colors and shapes. I thought wow I could have gotten pink hearts. Don't assume just because someone is an adult they may not want something fun. I have a very flamboyant personality. I would have chosen colors if anyone asked. No one did.
Later I also learned this is the office of the slayed and now decease Orthodontist David Harris, who's wife Clara Harris murdered him. This was fascinating since I am a true psychic with the ability to photograph spirits. I'd love to do photographs in that office in the evening after dark. Just to see if David Harris ever visits. If so I would be able to capture paranormal images in photos.
Until the next update. This post is dated one month after getting ceramic braces done.
I have great anxiety about my teeth not moving. I...
- 3 Dec 2012
Hey RealSelf, I can not find an edit feature to...
- 3 Dec 2012
I went back to Space Center Orthodontics for my...
- 15 Dec 2012
He looked at all my teeth and directed Erica what changes he wanted. All they did this time was put a thicker wire on my teeth that has more force. It's just slightly thicker. Erica said she didn't want to go too thick since it's the holidays and I might want to eat good food. A thicker wire would cause too much soreness. I asked about how they planned to pull me teeth to the left and right like I am expecting and they said that comes later in the treatment. They also connected the wire all the way to the back teeth which had not been done before. The right view and front view of my teeth at 5-6 weeks looks beautiful from a slight distance, but very close up you can still see bunching up of the front teeth that are still slightly sitting on the two neighboring teeth. This will not change until my teeth are pulled to the left and right. With the new wire I did feel a pulling that is slightly making spaces in my front teeth and causing wide uneven spaces and great movement in all directions on my left side. The left side is a real mess. The right side of my teeth look great. My teeth are sore all the way around. I can feel the pressure. The Orthodontic office has ice cream for all patients and at first I thought that was wonderful but strange to offer ice cream in a dental office. On my first visit I forgot to get my ice cream on the way out and regretted it all the way home! This follow-up visit I remember to get my ice cream fudge bar. As I ate it on the way home. A light bulb went off and I knew why the Orthodontic office might offer ice cream. The cold bars feel so great on your gums. It's like heaven to sore gums. And it taste really good too! Other than that the best things I got was the new Ultra Waterpik Water Flosser. It's like a shower massage to your teeth and gums. It feels so great that each time the water runs out. I am like, "Hey, I am not done yet." It makes my whole mouth feel so clean and healthy.
Who would have imagined it's so difficult to move...
- 19 Dec 2012
About 2 ft away from me during regular conversation people say I have beautiful teeth now, but up closer than that they are still bunched up.
My Dental Insurance has faithfully paid their portion. This is good.
I know you will think this is crazy. I had no...
- 22 Dec 2012
I just had my 12 - 13 week follow-up. My...
- 24 Jan 2013
I want to share a story with you about feeling blessed to have the money to fix my teeth and seeing someone who couldn't fix their teeth, and having the opportunity to help someone else. A co-worker at the hospital who works a contract job had been suffering with severe abscessed teeth and a swollen face and couldn't even get treated at our ER. I remembered years ago when I, myself couldn't afford dental care and also suffered with an abscessed tooth and waited 8 hrs in our same ER and was told they could not help me. It didn't even take me a split second to tell my co-worker to go to the dentist and I would pay for her to go. In my heart, I could feel and see her pain and embarrassment, and I offered to pay for her to go and get it fixed. I haven't even finished my dental needs, like getting implants for the missing teeth I had to remove, but I couldn't stand to see a person suffer in front of me. So, I called the co-worker's supervisor and asked if her dept would let her off if I would pay for her dental emergency and they agreed to let her off that day. A co-worker overheard me and told me, "Toyya you have a heart of Gold!" Well maybe, but I was crying tears down my face remembering being in that person's same shoes, and thinking how pitiful it is that so many people can't even get dental care. Before I knew it my department chipped in on the cost and we took on this employees dental emergency cost. The employee didn't have a car, and the only dentist willing to see her on a day's notice was far away. I actually loaned the employee my car, knowing her license was revoked. I didn't care I just wanted her to get help. She ended up running over something and tearing off my muffler on the way back from the dental office. I didn't care. I was just so glad to help someone else. OMG, when the dental office called us with the bill me and other nurses had to dig out our credit cards and put several hundred dollars each on different cards. I had wanted to buy camera equipment that week for my psychic spirit photography but put it off to help someone else. It felt great. I can't do this for everyone, but I'm glad I was able to do this for even one person. If I ever won the lotto, I swear I'd create a dental charity because it hurts my heart so much to see indigent people suffer with bad teeth. One infected or decayed tooth can be horrific pain. I think schools should show kids pictures of diseased teeth, and videos of pulling teeth to scare them into brushing their teeth. We got the employee out of emergency condition. I advised her to follow up with 4C's Clinic or Sina Foundation. Two indigent or low cost clinics in Galveston County. I opted to not loan my car out again because I ended up paying her dental cost and for a new muffler too:) Still there is no greater reward than knowing you helped someone else.
I just wanted to say that Dr. Bhagia's office and...
- 24 Jan 2013
At 16 wks the ceramic braces have created wide...
- 23 Feb 2013
(21-23) finally aligning.
I am hopeful it all turns out well. My 16 week follow-up is in a few days. I wanted to change my entire bite to correct crowding and so far it looks like that is happening. No complaints. It has not been painful. I have only spit by accident out of the spaces once while talking and promptly apologized:) I also wanted to note that when you view my cost you can not compare my case to yours. My teeth were nearly straight because I'd previously wore Invisalign, I just wanted to cosmetically change my bite and refine the teeth Invisalign didn't. Keep in mind I did extract some problem teeth and will eventually get permanent implants.
At 16 weeks it also appears that my upper front...
- 23 Feb 2013
When you look at my beginning Invisalign Photos...
- 23 Feb 2013
I just had my 16-17 week Orthodontist visit. This...
- 5 Mar 2013
My Doctor: Vijay Bhagia, DMD
Word of mouth.