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The REAL DEAL about Adult Braces

November 8, 2017

I got braces for the first time at the age of 23. Before I went to the orthodontist’s office, I did a lot of research about adult braces to see what they’d be like. Many of the stories I found were discouraging, with people claiming that they felt awkward wearing adult braces and that they were painful; of course, this made me super nervous for my initial appointment. Luckily, I didn’t  have an unpleasant experience with my braces at all; I actually had a great experience and I’m really glad I got them when I did! With that being said, I’m here to share my experience and give you the real deal about what it’s like to wear braces as an adult!

(This is a collage I made to show the progress of my teeth. The top left corner is how my bottom teeth looked prior to braces. The picture to the right of that, is the day I got my braces on. Bottom left is the day I got my braces off. Last photo is my bottom teeth without any braces.)

For the most part, whenever we think of braces, an image of a little kid comes to mind. You know, the middle-schooler with bright blue braces that has bits of her sandwich stuck between them. Since kids or teens are usually the ones with braces, I did some research on adult braces before heading to the orthodontist. Unfortunately, most of the stories I read were not reassuring, so that certainly didn’t help my nerves! I went into my appointment super nervous, but my orthodontist was amazing and helped me weigh all of my options. I was told that I would have to wear my braces for eight months and, contrary to popular belief, it was not that bad!

Here’s what I learned throughout my eight months with braces.

Invisalign isn’t for everyone. I know it might be the first option to come to mind since, as an adult, you probably don’t want to wear metal braces; however, depending on how much work your teeth need, it’s not always the best choice. My orthodontist told me that because of how my teeth were aligned, Invisalign would not be a good option for me; it would simply push my teeth forward, but not necessarily into place.

Ceramic braces were an awesome choice for me. Ultimately, I decided to go with white ceramic braces (I was already reluctant about wearing braces as an adult, so the last thing I wanted to do was call more attention to my crooked smile by getting bright colors). They were great because they blended in with the natural color of my teeth and, most of the time, no one even noticed I had them on.

IMO, it’s better to get braces as an adult. I cannot tell you how many adults have told me they had braces as a kid but had to get them again (or their teeth are just crooked again) because they didn’t properly take care of their teeth after getting them off (ie. wearing their retainer). When you’re a kid, you don’t care if food stays in your braces all day. You’re not worried about brushing after every meal or flossing at night. You also don’t care that you’re not supposed to have gum or candy and still do it anyway. But as an adult, we’re typically more mindful of those things and are able to take better care of our teeth during and after braces.

Braces are not always painful. I can only speak from my experience (granted I only had braces on my bottom teeth), but I think this is the biggest misconception about braces. 95% of the time, my braces were not painful. My mouth was only sore the day that my orthodontist put the braces on and a little bit after he’d tightened them. Other than that, it was fine. Personally, I think the best way to describe how braces make your mouth feel is tender and a little sore, but not necessarily painful.

Eating can be frustrating when your mouth is sore. When your teeth are shifting, your mouth is very tender. My mom would joke that I could’ve eaten at the baby table because of how long it would take me to finish my food sometimes. In the beginning, I often had to chew on one side of my mouth if the other side was sore. Side note: I was also mindful about my diet. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a candy lover (Skittles, Starbursts, Airheads, etc.) so it was hard for me to take those out of my diet, but I decided that it would be worth it for the perfect smile; I also didn’t chew gum or eat any popcorn or nuts. (Apparently, women really like getting braces because they lose a lot of weight in the process, lol)

Permanent retainers are great. When you hear the word retainer, you probably think of the metal thing you put in your mouth at night; I thought the same thing. I hadn’t even heard of a permanent retainer until my orthodontist suggested it to me (and boy, am I glad he did)! My permanent retainer is amazing. I never have to worry about putting it in because it’s literally always there. It’s a thin metal wire that my orthodontist glued to the back of my bottom teeth (with a special, super strong bonding glue that he sealed with some sort of laser). Apparently, these retainers can stay on for like 17 years before you have to get another one! I was sold!  It took about two weeks to get used to the wire on the back of my teeth, but now it feels totally natural and I don’t even notice it anymore. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that my teeth are going nowhere!

Take it seriously. Braces (particularly ceramic braces and a permanent retainer) are very expensive. When you invest all that money (and time), it’s so important to follow the orthodontist’s instructions and do it the right way (especially, so you don’t have to do it again). It’s important to be mindful of what you eat (so you don’t get stains on your teeth), brush after all your meals and consistently floss. If you simply listen to your orthodontist and are cognizant about taking care of your teeth, you will absolutely get the results you’re looking for.

I can proudly say that my smile is finally (pretty much) perfect. Having to wear braces for eight months was totally worth it after seeing my results! The time flew by and it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. I’m extremely happy that I got braces as an adult and not in grade school. I was able to take good care of my teeth during and after the process and I don’t think I would’ve taken the same care as a kid. Overall, I had a pleasant experience with my braces and have no regrets!

If you’re looking into adult braces, you should definitely consult with an orthodontist, but know that I 100% recommend it.

Have you had adult braces? Are you planning on getting braces in the future? Let me know in the comments and feel free to ask any questions!

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  • Reply Sandy Leigh Smith November 8, 2017 at 10:18 am

    wow they look FANTASTIC!!! Great explanation of the options as well. I did not know a permanent retainer was even a THING. I am asking my dentist if that is an option for me

  • Reply Rhonda @herchristianhome November 8, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    I found this very interesting. I had a friend at my church who finally got her braces and she’s in her 50s I believe. I would still like to consider getting some braces myself. Your information was very helpful. Thank you!

  • Reply Vox November 8, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for clearing up some of my confusion about adult braces! I just thought dentists were becoming scam artists, because I think they did not work on adults. Seeing the difference in the photos makes a believer out of me.

  • Reply Alexandra November 9, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Ahhh amazing! Your teeth look perfect.

  • Reply Eliza Birg November 9, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I have had braces as a young teenager and this has brought a lot of health issues to me. Now it is suggested to only get braces while being under treatment by a chiropractor. My teeth have moved again in the past 10 years and I am considering getting braces again, however this will also mean that I will most likely have to wear retainers at night for the rest of my life. Very big decision. Thanks for sharing your experience

  • Reply Jane November 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

    This is well explained, my cousin has been hesitating to get them. I will definitely share this with her. Your teeth look perfect 🙂 Thank you for this 🙂

  • Reply roamy November 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I think there is nothing wrong wearing braces as an adult is you need it, but many adults do not .Reading your post has given all the clarities and I hope adults in need of braces will be reading this.

  • Reply Courtney November 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Looks great! And it’s crazy you say it’s best to get braces as an adult, oppose to as a child, but that makes so much sense when i read your explanation! Great read.

  • Reply Ashli November 9, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I have to get braces this summer! Great info!

  • Reply Echo November 9, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve always wondered about adult braces. My oldest sister and her husband had adult braces. They just had the standard kind, I knew about the invisible liners but had never heard of the ceramic ones. It looks like they worked great!

  • Reply Monika November 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    I’m about to turn 30 and – to get braces. I’m going for the ceramic ones and I’m to have them for about 18 months… much longer than you… but I thought… it’s a good way to feel young, right? lol Anyway, this has encouraged me! Since I’ve also heard a lot about being it painful…

  • Reply Nina | Lemons and Luggage November 13, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for the detailed post! I had braces as a teenager, but sure enough after my wisdom teeth grew my teeth went crooked again. I’m seriously considering getting braces again, but the price scares me a bit. At least, after reading this post I know it would be worth it.

  • Reply Keli November 13, 2017 at 9:47 am

    What great results! I completely agree with your comment about kids not taking care of their teeth if they get braces when they are young. I wish I had worn my upper retainer because now my top teeth are a little crooked again. BUT I did get a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth and they are still perfectly straight. It’s been on for about 20 years now and still holding strong. I love it.

  • Reply Maggie Abbonizio November 13, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I got invisalign braces in the 6 months before my wedding. I only had ten weeks of treatment and they worked so well! I agree 95% of the time the braces don’t hurt. Glad you got them done!

  • Reply Monika November 13, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I would love to get braces to get rid of my gap in top teeth but my pain threshold is rubbish. I may actually look at Invisigalin and see whether The you could be suitable. Great article!

  • Reply Lauren November 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    thank you for these! I always thought invisalign was definitely not for everyone – glad people agree!

  • Reply Stacy Linn November 14, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I give people credit that do adult braces. It would be hard.

  • Reply Terra Heck November 16, 2017 at 6:18 am

    I’ve never had braces but my nephew’s wife, who is an adult, got her first set (upper and bottom) a few months ago. Thanks for detailing your experience. I can definitely see the difference in your teeth. Amazing!

  • Reply Jamie November 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Your teeth look awesome!! Thank you for sharing your experience as an adult getting braces. I, myself, will be getting them soon! I hope I have a painless experience like you! 🙂

  • Reply Alice November 17, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I had braces when I was about 14, and now have a permanent retainer! So I felt all your struggles hardcore!

  • Reply Sammer November 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I have always dreamed about wearing braces, lol for real, I just never had a chance, and when I was a kid my parents couldn’t afford it. Now its $5000 + so it aint happening until i get rich..but then Il be old lol. You wore braces for only 8months? Lucky! They told me id have to wear it for 2 yrs.

  • Reply Melani November 18, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Wow, your collage picture tells a lot of words. You have taken the right decision. Congratulations! Your pain had got the gain.

  • Reply bhavana November 21, 2017 at 1:20 am

    your teeth look great now!! congrats on finishing the ordeal.

  • Reply Alice Coaxum November 21, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I had the traditional braces as a child for about 3 years and wish I could have had the Invisalign braces. Your teeth look great!

  • Reply LeShelle, host of MRTV December 21, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am strongly considering getting braces and have been apprehensive since I am over 35 and I am also a public speaker. I remember when Fantasia had hers and I was amazed that she could sing with her braces. I thought they would be uncomfortable. I think I am going to go the Invisalign route too!

  • Reply Randie December 21, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks for this! I’ve been going back and forth about braces but everyone keeps telling me not to. I have a small gap but other than that my teeth are straight, still I think about it. This has definitely provided me some insight about how the experience may be as adult. Thanks again!

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