My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Rosemary from Australia

In my late 20's or early 30's a rogue wisdom tooth just grew and shifted my straight bottom row of teeth. By the time I had it pulled, the damage was done. When I was financially able in my late 30's, my backward dentist kept telling me I was too old for braces. So I left it at that. One day many years later, I saw the dental nurse had braces and told her how I was disappointed at not being able to correct my teeth. She had a friend who worked for an orthodontist and told me they had patients in their 60's. Without hesitation I landed on their doorsteps, and didn't even have time to get dental insurance ( I'm paying $8000 Aust Dollars from my pocket) but who cares! I'd rather have the teeth corrected than wait out and waste the required waiting time for dental insurance to apply. (Mind you, I didn't expect to have to do the top row of teeth or it to have cost half as much.)

Needless to say, here I am in my mid forties and have had my bottom row of metal braces in for 5 weeks, and the top row (ceramics) for 3 days. I was so looking forward to having them done. The night before I was to get them put on, I dreamt that the top row were the wrong color. Guess what, they had prepared metals. No way was I wearing those, so I was to wait another month for the next available appointment to have the ceramics put on. After having the bottom row put on. I was so depressed that first night and couldn't sleep.I had nightmare after nightmare. I felt it was horrifying and insulting as a human being to be wearing such primitive contraptions in my mouth in this so-called technologically advanced world. Surely they could make the braces less bulky? I was prepared for the looks, but not for the bulkiness, or the fact that I have trouble closing my mouth and talking properly, or the wax! Kids really make it look so easy.

Not having told them what I did, on the second day my brother visited and didn't notice. My mother didn't notice.That made me feel better. I nearly didn't go ahead with the upper row, but 3 days on and a lot of wax on my upper row of ceramics, and I feel I can live with it - even though I can't close my mouth properly and find it hard to talk (some actually think it is a good thing!) I don't have any of those anxieties I had one month ago. I run my own high profile photography business and was worried about my ability to sell and the impact not being able to talk properly would have, but funny thing I noticed: a lot of people don't have great teeth. I can feel that I make them aware of that when they see my braces. One actually unconsciously covered her mouth when she talked to me, and she had horribly crooked teeth.

It really takes a lot of guts to get braces as an adult, particularly if you're in the professional field. When I had them done I was unprepared for the initial psychological effect. That was the hard part; the process was easy, and the pain non existent. Thank goodness I accidently found this website. In the first few days I held back the tears and took comfort in the stories of others around the world from this website and realized I was not alone in the way I felt.

One thing is for sure - whether you can take comfort in this or not is another story: as a forty-something year old I can assure you that time passes by very quickly. Oh well, soon I'll have better teeth than I ever had before. And I really can't wait to have them whitened! The lesson is ... think ahead and forget about the misery you feel now.

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