Anyone who knows me in real life or even those who simply have followed me on Instagram are probably shocked to hear I got adult braces about two months ago. No one has ever said anything about my smile – in fact, I’ve always heard positive things about my smile but things aren’t always what they seem, right?
Happy (belated) Holidays from my furchildren and husband
There wasn’t a terrible amount of information online about adult braces on 30 year olds being documented compared to teenagers, so though ambivalent, I’m going to share my little adventure for those who may be experiencing the same thing, or those who have been thinking about it and want to know what it’s like. Keep reading to find out all the major questions and see some progress pictures…
I got braces mainly for crowding. I went along my way with no issues or insecurities about my smile until after I had my wisdom teeth pulled when I was 25. After that (even though my dentist husband and any other dental professional swears this isn’t a result), my teeth began shifting significantly. My teeth were always fairly tight together, so flossing was always kind of annoying. After the wisdom teeth extractions, instead of feeling like I had more room in my mouth, I started visibly noticing crowding. I would literally shred pieces of floss in between my teeth – that’s how tight they were. Once, I got a piece of that fluffy minty floss wedged up under my gum line and had to have it extracted professionally by a nurse. The last straw with the crowding was when I got my first two cavities in my life in between two teeth mainly because it was so impossible to floss.
My orthodontist estimates I will be wearing them 12-18 months for perfect results.
Contrary to what you will read online, not everyone can be treated with Invisalign and get the results they want. I was told that I was not the best candidate for Invisalign if I expected perfect results. I was told I could choose Invisalign, wear them for 22-24 months and expect 75% improvement. If I chose traditional metal braces, I wear them for 12-18 months and can expect 100% improvement. Shorter time + better results = sold.
From what I have learned and was told, ceramic/clear braces aren’t as ‘strong’ as their metal counterparts and therefore, tend to not move the teeth as quickly/efficiently, resulting in longer time wearing braces. Again, not something I was interested in. More so, ceramic/clear braces stain extremely easily and I’m not about to give up my daily coffee, chips/salsa or anything else colorful and delicious.
Expect to pay ~$4,500-5,500 for traditional metal or ceramic braces depending on your area. Invisalign would have cost me ~$6,000. Thankfully, my husband is a dentist and although he’s not treating me, there is an excellent board-certified orthodontist who works at his office and he’s managing my treatment. Because of this, I did receive a discount, but it was certainly not free. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Getting the braces put on does not hurt. You are just laying in the chair for about an hour while they cure the brackets on to your teeth and slide a wire in. For me, the following 3-4 days after the wire is upgraded or tightened is when my mouth is very tender and I basically am taking Tylenol round-the-clock until things have adjusted. After that 3-4 day period, I’m pretty good to eat almost whatever I want (cutting meat into smaller pieces and not toasting bread as long helps, too). At random points during the week, the brackets do rub against the walls of your cheeks and does rough them up a bit, but it’s nothing a little wax hasn’t helped. I have found that sleeping with the wax on the particularly painful brackets helps my mouth heal overnight and I’m good the next day.
I’ve gone for two adjustments since the initial application (wire tightening and upgrading my wire on the top) – neither of which hurt. It does feel like a bit of pressure on my teeth, but again, nothing Tylenol hasn’t alleviated.
From an aesthetic standpoint, it has been a major adjustment for me because I always smiled with my teeth showing. I’m sure all of my friends have noticed I haven’t smiled with my teeth in any photos for the past two months and it’s because of the braces. I don’t regret having them or the impending results, but I’m still not 100% used to seeing my smile with metal and probably never will be. Now you know why I haven’t been smiling in photos!
Whenever I feel sort of sad about wearing them, I just look at these gorgeous ladies and count down the weeks until my next adjustment/appointment!
The good thing about getting braces at 30 is that I really don’t give a crap about what anyone really thinks anymore (not that I really did, let’s be honest…), but someone said this to me and it really stuck, “No one is going to think ill of you for having braces at 30 because chances are, they either had braces themselves at some point and understand what you’re going through OR they wish they could fix their teeth and admire you for doing it!” Touché.
I hope sharing my story helps someone considering braces. As many will say, it’s completely worth it! I get super excited every time I start to see a small space in between my teeth or can thread floss with ease and I can’t wait to share progression photos along the way to track my journey. Next month, I’ll be talking more about products I use to help keep my teeth/braces clean and must-haves to keep in your purse or pocket. Check back by Feb. 22 for the next update.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.