How I Coped With Having Braces as an Adult

Updated on January 5, 2019
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I had braces as an adult, and let me tell you, they were as unpleasant as you might imagine. In the end, though, it was worth it.

The Decision

Congratulations! You have decided to have orthodontic treatment to fix your dental problems, and you are on the way to having a healthier, happier mouth!

Orthodontic treatment, whilst necessary for a lot of people, can be quite uncomfortable. After all, you have metal and wires in your mouth that wouldn't naturally be there. It can cause some annoying symptoms, which I have dealt with myself, and I would like to pass on and provide some comfort. If you've just got your braces and are worrying about them, please see below.

The Day You Get Your Braces

So, you've just got back from the orthodontist, and your mouth is feeling strange, your teeth are aching, and you're producing an abnormal amount of saliva all of a sudden!

Don't panic!

This is absolutely normal, and you are just adjusting to having a foreign object in your mouth. It can be quite weird to begin with, and this feeling may last some time. The braces provide pressure to your teeth, to move them into the desired positions. Likely, you will have had an xray, and a mold taken, and your orthodontist has worked out a treatment plan, to resolve the issues you may have. You could have over-crowding, an incorrect bite, and teeth that have come in the wrong place, or a combination of issues. Your orthodontist will have put your braces in to correct these problems, so trust that they are working on creating your best possible smile.

If you are feeling uncomfortable, your orthodontist will advise taking paracetamol, or ibuprofen, to help reduce the symptoms. You can also use a warm towel and press it against your face to help sooth some of the tightness you will be feeling. Please try and relax, this stage won't last long, and you will get used to them soon.

Before Braces

To give you some idea of the treatment I went through, this is a photo of my teeth before I had any treatment. I had over-crowding, which had pushed my front teeth to overlap, and I had very crooked bottom teeth. I also had a slight over-bite.
To give you some idea of the treatment I went through, this is a photo of my teeth before I had any treatment. I had over-crowding, which had pushed my front teeth to overlap, and I had very crooked bottom teeth. I also had a slight over-bite.

During Treatment

You may have different types of treatment to resolve the problems with your teeth. Your orthodontist will know exactly what needs doing at each stage, and has a plan of what he wants to achieve. You will need to put in some work yourself to make sure that you get the best from the orthodontic treatment.

  • Keep your mouth as clean as possible. This is very important generally, but even more so when you have braces. Take care to clean your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Floss and use small dental brushes to get in hard to reach places.
  • Drink lots of water, and avoid fizzy drinks, tea, and coffee. The water will help keep your mouth lubricated, and will help to reduce the rubbing on your inner cheeks. Avoiding fizzy drinks and other dark drinks will help reduce the chances of you staining your teeth in patches whilst you have the brackets glued to your teeth.
  • Use the gum that the orthodontist will give you, to cover parts of the braces that are particularly aggravating. Whilst not a miracle treatment, they can massively reduce the discomfort. If you are in pain, please go back to your ortho, and ask for some help, as you shouldn't be suffering.
  • Follow your orthodontists instructions to the letter. They are highly trained experts, and know what they are doing! If you get given bands, make sure you wear them as much as you are told to. Not only will it help the treatment move along quicker, but you will see the effects quicker too!
  • Don't miss your appointments! It can be frustrating, especially when they want to tighten your braces, but it is very important to keep going to them, as if you don't, your treatment can't progress, and this delays the braces coming off!
  • Watch what you eat! And don't touch! Breaking or damaging your braces means another appointment to get them fixed, and can mean that you have to pay more money! It can also lengthen your treatment time, and again, the most important thing is getting those braces off and showing off your lovely new smile!


This was me a couple of months into the treatment. You can already see the straightening taking place.
This was me a couple of months into the treatment. You can already see the straightening taking place.

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Getting The Braces Off!

There isn't a better feeling than when your orthodontist is finished with the treatment, and they tell you they are taking your braces off at your next appointment!

Usually, you are booked in for two appointments on consecutive days. At the first appointment, they will remove the braces, clean off any glue remaining on your teeth, and give you your first glimpse of your perfect smile!

They will also take another mold of your teeth. This time, it be to create your retainers. I had what is called an Essix retainer. These are clear plastic, and kind of remind me of a gum shield. There are other types of retainers, but their job is the same; to make sure your teeth settle. Your teeth have been moved to their new positions using pressure, and once that pressure is taken away, the teeth will start to move back to where they were, without the use of a retainer.
It can take up to a year for your teeth to fully settle, so make sure you wear your retainers as instructed. There's nothing worse than undoing all that hard work you put in to get to this point!

You will then go for your second appointment on the next day, to be given your retainers, and make sure these fit you properly. Make sure you listen to all the information your ortho gives you. They want to make sure you get the best of the treatment.

And that's it! Make sure you enjoy your new teeth, and smile at every opportunity! Getting through braces can be uncomfortable, but it is worth it in the end.

The Results

This is the photo of the end result. The difference is quite astonishing!
This is the photo of the end result. The difference is quite astonishing!

Don't Forget!

  • Listen to your ortho. They are an expert after all!
  • Document your progress. It helps you see the difference, and keeps you motivated.
  • Keep them clean!
  • Follow your treatment plan.
  • Wear your retainers.
  • Smile as much as possible!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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