Stories from Readers

life with braces

Why I Got Braces at Age 50
by Helen in California


I am a speech-language pathologist working in elementary school. I had been thinking of getting braces for a number of years but could never quite bring myself to the point of actually doing it. 

Not too long ago one of my young kindergarten students was sitting across the table from me and I was asking him to look at my mouth in order to show him how to form a sound. He looked attentively and then said: "Ms. O, you're missing a tooth on the bottom." I replied that I was not missing a tooth and went to look in the mirror.

Sure enough, one of my lower front teeth was so far out of alignment and crowded that it did look like I was missing a tooth if my lip was slightly lowered. It wasn't long before I went in for my ortho consultation. One thing is true about children, they are always honest.

I have ceramic braces on top and bottom to correct overcrowding and rotations. I have always been self conscious about my teeth although when I got my braces many friends asked "Why?" They said they hadn't noticed anything wrong with my teeth. My reply is always "Yes, but I did." I do have several friends who are also in their fifties who have braces. 

Before I got them I asked every adult I saw with braces whether they were glad they did it and invariably they said "Yes." A colleague of mine just got out of her braces recently and her comment was that as speech pathologists people are always having to look at our mouth and teeth and that it made professional sense to have nice teeth. Unfortunately I don't think I can take it as a professional expense tax deduction!

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