Thursday, March 3, 2011

Countdown to Adult Braces: 14 Days

So it may not seem super apparent just from looking at my pictures, but I need braces at the age of 27.  I've actually known that I have needed braces for about 11 years.  When I was 16, my dentist noticed that my canine teeth were still baby teeth and the adult teeth were impacted in my mouth.  My mom took me to the orthodontist, and they diagnosed a need for braces to bring those adult teeth into place.  I refused to get them, feeling super guilty about making my parents shell out the $8,000 that they said it would cost to fix my teeth.  My parents had no orthodontic insurance and made very little money in the first place.  I've felt insecure about my smile ever since.

Pretending I had no problem, I avoided the dentist for the next 11 years, knowing what they would tell me again: You need braces.  I thought if I waited, those teeth would come down on their own.  HA!  Anyway, this January, I was having some tooth pain in a molar and thought I had cracked a tooth on an almond.  I decided enough was enough.  I made an emergency appointment to the dentist (it ended up being a bruised tooth... I didn't even know you could bruise a tooth) and I scheduled an appointment for a regular checkup.  I knew this was it.  No turning back!

The dentist appointment was two weeks later, on Valentine's Day.  The hygenist took the X-rays and of course, the dentist noticed those extra teeth right away, along with my FOUR fully impacted wisdom teeth.  The dentist recommend I see an orthodontist for braces and come back to see him for a full mouth debridement (AKA, deep cleaning) since I hadn't been to the dentist in so long.  Bad news.  More bad news: I would probably have to have the wisdom teeth surgically removed before an ortho would touch braces.  BOO!  If I was going to get them, I wanted to get started ASAP!  Good news though... no cavities!!  And no signs of gingivitis or any other problems besides an excess of teeth.  Then it was decision time.  Do I take this huge plunge of adult braces, or chicken out again?  This time I had no excuses.  I have orthodontal insurance (pretty good insurance, actually!) and my husband and I have the money for the extra bill.  I was going to get adult braces.

Right profile: This side is worse and you can definitely see the issue.  It looks like I'm missing a tooth.  :(
I made an appointment to see the orthodontist at the earliest available appointment.  That was today, March 3rd.  The weird thing is though, I'm actually kind of excited!  I have hated my smile for so long and it has been such a source of insecurity for me.  I've always thought it was the worst feature of my face, which made me sad because a smile is usually the first thing a lot of people see!  My senior high school pictures contained NO photos of me with a smile on my face.  :(  So to be able to change the one thing that makes you feel insecure feels kind of amazing.  I know the two years that I spend wearing the braces and the two years I spend in a retainer will be well worth it when I have a beautiful smile that I can feel confident about.  As long as I don't have to wear headgear.  Or a bionator.  Or a spider... worries!!  : /

Left side: Problem is still visible but not as far behind on this side.

So we get to today's appointment, which was just the consultation and billing discussion.  The orthodontist was amazing and I LOVED her!  She was a cute younger woman, probably around my age, and she was nice and funny and answered all of my questions.  The only caution is that those adult teeth may not come down, but I have a good feeling.  (Hope I'm not wrong!)  She even told me that I wouldn't have to get metal braces: I could get ceramic!!  Good news #1!!  She also confirmed my VERY healthy mouth (despite not having been to a dentist in 11 years, although I do floss and brush daily.)  More good news: I MAY not need those wisdom teeth removed and we defintely can start on braces before they come out.  And no bottom braces until NEXT YEAR!  Then I met with the woman to discuss billing, which is going to be WAY less than I thought.  It was good news all around.  I guess I am forever an optimist.  :D

You can definetely tell in this photo.  Again, it looks like I'm missing teeth.

My braces will be placed on exactly 2 weeks from today, on St. Patrick's Day!  What a way to celebrate!  The baby canines will not be removed until after the braces are placed and some space is made for them to come in, as my teeth are also slightly overcrowded because the babies are smaller than adult teeth.

At first, I felt sad that I would have to give up the YouTubing and blogging that I've been enjoying so much.  But then I decided that was silly.  NONE of us is perfect and a small thing like braces should not prevent me from doing something I enjoy.  So I'm taking the totally opposite route: I'm sharing my experience with the world and hoping that through my journey, some others may not feel so alone in theirs.  Although, I will admit, there will be no mention of braces or appearance of bracefaced photos on my personal Facebook page where those mean girls from high school might find it.  I don't want to be too confidant, right?  lol

I decided to play with Microsoft Paint.  This is BEFORE BRACES: An unretouched photo. 
This is NOT AN AFTER PHOTO!  I copied and pasted teeth to try to get an idea of what I might look like after braces.  I like it already.  :)

So now I am excitedly counting down the days to braces.  While I wait, I've decided to count down by whitening my teeth a bit (something else I've never done) with a gentle 14 day kit.  My husband Brian is whitening with me.  And did I mention Brian hasn't been to the dentist in 11 years either???  He's too afraid to go though... chicken.  ;)


  1. I was an adult braces wearer. For myself, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Before I was very aware of my poor smile. Now, I find myself smiling and overall I seem much happier. I hope you have such good luck! I hope you have as good of an ortho as I had, the amazing Dr. P of Charleston, WV

  2. @iborg: Thanks!! I agree with you already! I have always been self conscious of my smile! It might seem odd but I already find myself less insecure about my smile because I feel like people see the imperfections of my smile along with braces and they know it will soon look great! So glad I finally decided to do it! :)

  3. You almost mentioned all possible surgical procedures. It's a pain, financially and physically. But it's better than enduring all those teeth problems, which would only grow worse if left unaddressed.

  4. Marcila Dare: It sure is a pain! (I just got them adjusted yesterday!) But I'm sure in the end I will not regret it and I feel pretty proud that at 27, I have the courage to be toothless for a year or more!