What to Expect When Getting Braces as an Adult
In 2012, I decided to get braces—as an adult. Eight months into it, and I was already hating them. My teeth were happy before I imposed these horrendous pieces of metal on them. Now, they are sad. I miss the good old days when my mouth was clutter free, but seeing my smile now, I don't regret my decision one bit.
If you are planning on getting braces as an adult, here are some of the things you can expect while on that adventurous trip.
The story of my teeth and why they're sad.
1. Longer Brushing Sessions
I learned this the hard way. I thought I could keep brushing my teeth for the same amount of time as before braces. I was wrong. It wasn't until I found chunks of days-old food stuck in between my teeth that I realized I must spend at least 20 minutes brushing and flossing—or at least trying to floss every time I brush my teeth. Needless to say, this is a huge inconvenience, but a necessary evil.
2. Difficulty Chewing
Braces make it really hard to chew you food. I've been on the verge of choking a few times because of some chunks of food that go entirely unchewed. I know—I should put smaller amounts of food in my mouth, but sometimes, I'm too hungry, so don't judge me.
As time goes by, you'll start becoming more acquainted with new and alternate ways of chewing—that is, until you have to tighten your braces, which must happen at least every 2 weeks. Then, the chewing battle starts all over again.
3. Food Tastes Different
Not only do braces make it painful to chew, they also strip food of its delicious flavors. I first found that out when I ate a delicious cup o' noodles soup (guilty pleasure). I used to enjoy slurping on those noodles, savoring the last drop of chili and lemon broth left after all the noodles were gone.
But Alas! The braces took away these precious moments. Food just doesn't taste the same. The metal doesn't allow food to flow freely around the mouth, thus preventing it from touching every single tastebud. At least that's my theory.
4. Children Will Stare
Braces will also cause children to goggle you with a facial expression that denotes a mix of curiosity, disgust, and pity. Their parents will use you as an example of what will happen to them if they don’t brush their teeth.
5. Your Mouth Will Look Bigger, and Your Lips Fuller
Braces make my lips pop out a little bit. That can be either a good or a bad thing, depending on your facial features. If your mouth is not too protruding, braces will make your lips look a little bit fuller. However, if your mouth is already as big as they can get, and your lips are Angelina Jolie thick, then braces will emphasize these features a little more than you would want.
6. They May Interfere With Kissing
When I first got my braces, I was afraid they were going to interfere with my personal life. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to french kiss my husband any more. To my relief, braces didn’t change a thing!
A word of caution: kissing can be painful just after getting your braces tightened. So refrain from doing serious kissing for a day or two after going to your dentist.
7. You Can't Bite
Simple as that: you won’t be able to bite anything. You will have to cut most of your food in small pieces and shove them in the back of your mouth. No longer will you enjoy that first bite to that succulent sandwich, nor will you feel the joy of sinking your teeth in a corn on the cob. You also won‘t be able to take the tags off new clothes with your bare teeth.
You may be able to bite once the pain is gone, but it is not recommendable. When you wear braces, your teeth are kind of loose and very susceptible to any kind of pressure. Biting directly into food will make your teeth move around and make you wear braces longer.
8. The Color of the Bands
Choose wisely. The color of the bands you choose can make your teeth look yellow or sparkling white. Stay away from yellowish and orangish tones of bands as these will make your teeth look yellow. White bands can also make your teeth look yellow in comparison to the sparkling white of the bands.
If you want your teeth to look whiter, choose dark colors. My personal favorite is dark blue. My teeth look amazingly white with those. Black is also a good choice, but a little too noticeable.
A word of caution: transparent bands can stain depending on what you eat. So if you eat lots of curry, stay away from the colorless bands.
Life After Braces
After about three years of wearing braces, they were finally removed, and I was given a set of retainers. My dentist clearly explained that not wearing these retainers for the next six months would cause my teeth to move back to where they were, leaving me in the same (or worse) position as before.
I wore the retainers for two weeks before breaking them. I never went back to get them fixed. Thankfully, my teeth didn't move. My smile remains straight to this day. However, I believe this to be the exception and not the rule. Several friends of mine who had braces as teenagers and refused to wear their retainers have a smile that would frighten even the bravest dentist.
Maybe I was immune to this because I got braces as an adult and my teeth were no longer developing, but it was still a dumb choice not to wear the retainer. So if you get braces, please, please, wear your retainer as instructed.
I couldn't be happier with the results. All the pain I endured and the gum I might've missed chewing while I had braces were completely worth it. I would do it all over again if I had to to keep my current smile.
If you're an adult currently thinking about getting braces, don't think twice about it. Just do it. If your teeth are crooked enough for you to even think about getting them fixed, then go ahead and do it. You've got nothing to lose (except a few thousand dollars) and everything to gain!
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.
© 2012 Silver Q