Have you ever gone through the long and miserable journey of wearing braces? Chances are that if you have you were a teenager when you did. My parents did not think it was necessary enough to warrant forking out thousands of dollars to fix my teeth that didn’t bother them. So here I sit, a thirty-something picking strawberry seeds and walnuts out of my train tracks.
It has been painful, expensive, inconvenient, disgusting, and extremely exciting! The only regret that I have is not getting them sooner. I have gotten so many compliments since getting them put on and I get carded all the time now, which is a little stroke to my ego. I was embarrassed the first week or so, but then I emBRACED it. Get it? The smile is the window to the…..oh, who am I kidding? I don’t talk like that. My smile embarrassed the crap out of me and contributed to my already unhealthy self-esteem. Not only do I feel like people notice my acne before anything else, but I have also felt that way about my grill. So I decided that I was going to quit complaining and covering my mouth when I smiled and actually do something about it. I am not usually one to spend much money on myself, but my husband reassured me that this was something that I needed and deserved to do. He really is a great guy if you can ignore that gas cloud that follows him around. So after spending 12 years whining to him about it I took the plunge.
The first thing that people always ask me is “How much did it cost?”. I had crowding, an overbite, and slight crossbite and my treatment was $4,600. My orthodontist offered interest free payments which has been a nice little perk. I opted for ceramic brackets on top with standard metal on the bottom. My doctor does not charge more for the ceramic as some orthodontists do. The way that my bite is would not allow for ceramic on the bottom teeth. I wish that I would have just gotten all metal for the simple reason that they are easier to remove from the teeth when the time comes. I had to have a few brackets moved and I thought they were going to rip my teeth out! Also, I still have to wear a power chain on the top so it makes the braces obvious anyway.
The next thing that people inquire is “Do they hurt?”. I answer them with a resounding YES! They do not hurt all the time, fortunately. When you first get them put on you can forget about chewing anything harder than a milkshake. You will try and you will quickly realize that you are a masochistic idiot. That first week really is the worst. The pain subsides, you grow accustomed to having them there, then you get an adjustment and are reminded about that first week of pain. Let’s not forget the cuts and sores that are inevitable until your mouth literally builds up scar tissue! Oh, how quickly you begin to question if something is worth eating since you are going to be picking it out of the seemingly infinite crevices for the next 24 hours. Nothing makes you feel more attractive than opening your mouth to talk when a piece of carne asada spontaneously dislodges and lands on the table in front of you. Or arriving at work only to realize that even though you meticulously picked, scraped, rinsed, and brushed you are still totally cheeking some scrambled eggs. When your husband is feeling romantic and wants to suck some face so you coyly respond with “Just a minute” *wink*, and carefully detach your saliva-covered rubber bands. Inevitably, one will shoot into his face.
Now that I have made myself sound like an anti-braces protester I will tell you one last thing. DO IT! GET THEM! If you are an adult that is not happy with an over-sized gap, crowding, or bucked chicklets, stop talking yourself out of joining the adult metal mouth brigade. Unless, of course, you have no financial means to do so. The cost was the biggest reason why I waited so long, but I hadn’t really factored it into our budget until I had made the final decision to get them. I thought of it this way: The money is either going to be spent on fancy coffees, going out to eat, buying extra things that we don’t need, and other luxuries, or I could forego those most of the time and spend it on something that would actually improve my quality of life. Not only was I self-conscious about my teeth, but I also had pain from them continuing to crowd. I had one sharp tooth that would cut my mouth if my face got bumped. That cut would usually result in a two-week long canker sore. While vanity did play a role in my decision, so did the pain factor.
I have had these babies on for nineteen months now and my doc says they will be coming off in a few weeks. He also said that two months ago, so who knows. As soon as they are gone I will be whitening my pearly off-whites for sure. After all the blood, sweat, and tears I want to have a smile that I can be confident about. And even though I have been stellar with my oral hygiene there is bound to be some dinginess. I love red wine, tea, coffee, and curry. All things that do not contribute to whiteness. I will for sure be doing a review of the whitening product that I choose to use so stay tuned!
Have you thought about getting braces? Do you have them now? I love swapping braces stories so please comment below with yours!