Zipper Lips: Living As An Adult With Braces

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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.

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Before. I tried to make the most awkward face possible. Did I succeed?
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Braces first put on. Weirdest feeling ever. I had a nifty little spring on the bottom too!

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.

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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!

 

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14 thoughts on “Zipper Lips: Living As An Adult With Braces

  1. Six years of braces. Pain, embarrassment and discomfort (but I did love those little rubber bands). I did eventually get them off at 15 and was still required to use a retainer (but I only used it at night). Fast forward to marriage and the retainer went into my drawer and has stayed there ever since. I pulled it out not so long ago, and of course, it didn’t come close to fitting. One of my bottom teeth has receded back, probably farther than when I first had braces, but I can no longer afford to make payments. Since I’ve gotten used to it, I’ve now made it a game to see how many other people have the same tooth (on either side) not flush with their other teeth. You’d be amazed at how many T.V. News Anchors have (had) this issue – Truthfully though, if I were younger (late 60’s) and had the money, I would definitely do it again. Now I need a night guard because of TMJ. Don’t now if braces would fix that – that developed when I was 20, so my teeth were still straight then.

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    1. Thanks for your response! I have TMJ also and was told that braces might help with it, but might not. I think that it has helped some. I have less headaches surprisingly. Everyone that I know that used to have braces stopped wearing their retainers. Tsk tsk! I am determined to wear mine after spending all that time and money on my teeth. I will have a permanent retainer on the bottom (behind the teeth).

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      1. The problem with the retainer is that, while they want you to wear it 24/7, what was the point of the braces if you still have to wear something? I couldn’t talk (it had to come out to eat) without spitting or sounding lispy, and at 15, I didn’t need more self-consciousness. My TMJ didn’t show up until later, and I have also stopped wearing the night guard after waking up one morning with my teeth completely out of align – could not chew. About 4 hours with a heating pad on my face and the muscles finally relaxed enough so that I could eat. I don’t like my current dentist, so don’t know if there’s something suddenly wrong with the night guard (that isn’t going to cost me another $500). Good luck and enjoy your new smile (I didn’t smile with teeth showing for the entire 6 years of braces and for several years before I got them)!

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      2. That night guard things sounds like such a pain! You definitely might want to see another dentist. I will only have to wear my retin 24/7 for a couple months and then only at night for the rest of my life.

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  2. I just learned a major advantage of getting braces as a teenager: no one asked me how much they cost. And I feel guilty for saying this but my experiences with braces was relatively easy. The orthodontist warned me about the dangers of not brushing with horror stories of big gaping holes in peoples’ teeth or their teeth popping right out when their braces came off.
    Mine were also installed gradually. They put on the blocks first which was uncomfortable at first but I got used to it. Then they laid down the tracks and gradually tightened the wire over time.
    Somebody told me that on the first visit his dentist put the braces on and tightened them and he couldn’t eat solid food for a month.
    Then there was the kid I knew who hated his braces so much he took a pair of pliers and yanked them off himself the day after they’d been put on.
    When it comes to whiteness remember what Mitch Hedburg said: “I was going to get my teeth whitened but then I decided to get a tan instead.”

    And now here’s something else I hope will make you smile.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey, thanks for your comment on my post! I just found your post really helpful! I’ve had my braces a month now and am getting used to the constant picking food out of them, the sores, applying my wax! Your teeth look great in your progress pictures so it does look like it’s all going to be worth it! Next step is the tightening!

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  4. I used to have braces, I haven’t in a couple of years now, but one thing I have learnt, is that I miss them like crazy! It feels so weird without them, and I’ve been without them for three years now! I am glad they are gone in some respects, the constant wires snapping and brackets falling off my teeth were not fun, but at the same time, I miss having them on my teeth!

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  5. I have a seriously wonky front tooth and was fitted for braces as and child but then moved house and never got around to having them fixed. I’ve made my peace with it now but I have serious tooth envy for how dramatic the change has been for you! I’m so impressed! Dawn x

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