Life

Back to Braces

Train tracks, jaws, brace face… yep, I’ve copped them all.

No, I’m not talking about high school bullies in the playground back in ol’ high school. These are the recent taunts I’ve received from my family!

At 22, most of us are trying to leave the awkward teenage years behind (why I thought cutting my frizz ball hair into a bob I will never understand), and to figure out who we are style-wise as adults. So my decision to get braces this year doesn’t really make much sense. My teeth always sort of bothered me, and over the years they started to move more. If you have a huge, consumes your whole face, cheesy smile like I do, some teeth out of place make a big difference.

“Crooked teeth give you character,” was my mum’s staple phrase of reassurance, hoping I’d agree and that this phase would pass. Sorry mum, but I couldn’t take it any longer! After a couple of consultations, disappointed that I was ineligible for the ‘invisible’ braces, I decided I’d go for the traditional metal braces.

For anyone post-prepubescent, and the idea of picking funky colourful patterns doesn’t excite you, here’s my guide (and some helpful encouragement) for those already with, or thinking about getting braces:

#1 Orthodontics have come a long way

My orthodontist informed that I didn’t have to get the traditional all metal mouth looking braces, and new Porcelain brackets were an option. Although they are harder to take care of (because they stain if you aren’t careful) they definitely are subtler than the full metal mouth and you can’t even see them (if you’re standing far away, with one eye closed!)

#2 I hope you like soft food

I’ve had my braces on for three weeks and only in the last few days have I been able to softly chew my food. Soup, mashed vegetables and rice will become your favourite meals and you can forget about eating a steak for a long time! But I’ve already noticed a slight change in my teeth, so it’s easy to remember why you decided to glue these retched things to your teeth in the first place.

#3 You’re mouth feels like it took a round with Wolverine

All the new metal in your mouth versus your cheeks, it doesn’t take a genius to guess how your mouth is left feeling! Cuts and scratches become part of the daily norm and I’m reluctant to use the wax the Orthodontist gave me (a natural blue tack product that you roll up and stick to an area of your braces which may be causing discomfort) simply because I want my mouth to get tougher.

#4 Brush Brush Brush

Let’s hope you don’t mind brushing your teeth in a public bathroom, because you haven’t really got a choice! There are many nooks and crannies food can get caught in when you have braces so it’s really important to clean after every meal. Let’s just hope you’re a little more lady like than I am, as I seem to get more toothpaste around the sink than on my teeth!

#5 “Did you get braces?”

No, I swallowed a packet of staples and forgot to floss! You’ll get used to this question being asked by your family and friends, and people you’ve never spoken to. Even more frustrating is that people find it difficult to keep eye contact when you speak to them, as their eyes drift down to your teeth and fixate there for the remainder of the conversation. I can see you!!

#6 Saliva

You don’t think about saliva very often, I mean your mouth knows what to do with it subconsciously so it rarely becomes an issue, until now! Prolonged bouts of chatting leaves you feeling like you’re drowning in it! Each tooth’s bracket seems to house 2L of it and so you have to constantly remind yourself of that (Ok maybe 2L is a slight exaggeration but it sure feels that way!)

At the end of the day it’s an individual decision and no one can make it for you. I could say it’s a quick fix, it just depends how you look at one year over your lifespan. The fact my teeth have already started to move is really encouraging and motivating.

Only 49 weeks to go!

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