This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more here.
This post may contain affiliate links. When you click these links, I may earn money or products from the companies. Learn more here.
I have never been self-conscious about my smile. After all, I’d had it for 30 years.
My teeth were considered moderately crooked, twisting here and there, but with no other jaw or bite issues, I was considered ‘normal’. As the oldest of four children in a middle-class family, braces were not an expense my parents could afford. I accepted my fate and thought nothing more of it until the dental bills starting adding up in my 20s. All that twisting and crowding had proven to be a cleaning nightmare. I wasn’t blessed with great teeth, and they certainly weren’t doing me any favors by being misaligned.
Near my 30th birthday, I’d had enough. I began searching for braces for adults, and that’s where my journey began.
A Small Investment
I knew that braces for adults weren’t cheap, but I was still in for a big surprise. It turns out that once you graduate into adulthood, dental insurance no longer covers orthodontic care for what they consider cosmetic reasons. Yes, not even a penny.
Mind you, I was not interested in having a million dollar smile, so I felt as though there should have been another category for them to put me in, to help with at least a small portion of the cost. I just wanted to be able to properly brush and floss to avoid even more cavities than I already had.
I asked a few close friends and family members for their thoughts, and it was unanimous. Braces were a form of preventative maintenance in our eyes (despite what insurance companies say). You should take care of your teeth just as you would any other part of your body. You can’t put a price tag on health.
It made perfect sense to me, so I booked a consultation.
When Reality Set In
Consultation, check. Payment in full before my first appointment, check. Realizing how uncomfortable the first few weeks would be, not even close.
The process of mounting the hardware, as I like to call it, was simple and painless. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I was regretting my decision. GO BACK AND GET THEM OFF, I begged myself. I was miserable. I can only explain the feeling as a form of slow torture. My whole face ached. Each individual tooth was crying in agony. I couldn’t eat since chewing sent stabbing pain into my jaws.
Luckily, this didn’t last more than a week. It faded, and I was okay again, until the next visit when my bands were replaced and the cycle repeated. But I’d grown to look forward to this after a few appointments since discomfort meant my teeth were moving, and movement meant progress. I took pictures each month to have my own album of before and after pics. It was amazing.
Since I had no orthodontic treatment as a teenager, I can’t compare their social experiences to mine, but I can say this: I never felt judged, unattractive, or embarrassed. I was often envied by other adults who wished they could afford braces, or who had them years ago but their teeth had since shifted back.
I had fun with the colored bands, often letting my children and friends vote on my next pick. My motto was if I couldn’t hide them, I might as well enjoy them! I never got so ambitious as to alternate colors, do a rainbow pattern, or go for Kelly Green, but I tried every shade of blue, pink, and purple that they made (Screaming Pink was my favorite!).
I wish young people had the same outlook as I did. My oldest will have braces in the next year or two, and I’m glad that she has seen my journey to prepare for her own. If you’ve been debating, or just curious about braces for adults, I want to tell you to go for it! As I write this post, I have 27 days left until my braces are removed. Saying I’m excited is an understatement.
I know that I will continue to be a model patient since I will not be going back for Round 2, as I’ve heard some who don’t wear their retainers do. Thanks, but once in my lifetime is plenty enough for me.
*Check back here for a follow-up story! I can’t wait to show off my (almost, but not quite) million dollar smile!