Often associated with the teenage geek in American chick-flicks, braces are a fate that many of us suffer in our lives. (Although when I cleared 20 I thought I’d managed to get away with it, turns out NOPE, adult braces are a thing. A really painful thing, for both the teeth and the soul.)
It’s been 6 months now since I got my braces put on, and quite a while since I’ve discussed them on this blog. In fact my last post about them was actually 11 Tips For Surviving The First Week of Braces, which as you might have guessed was written about a week after I got braces.
In these past 6 months, I’ve realised a lot of things about having braces that either nobody told me, or everyone told me but I just did not believe.
So now I’m sharing them with you. Here goes.
Nobody Else Cares
No, seriously. Before I got braces, and for the first few weeks I was so paranoid about them. If you saw the post I wrote a few days before having them, you’ll know just how anxious and resentful I was about needing them. But 6 months in, it’s safe to say that nobody gives a shit. Half the time people won’t even notice them, and if they do they barely mention it. Honestly, the only person making it a big deal is you.
They hurt. A lot.
When I first felt the pain of having braces, and again getting them adjusted, I was so taken aback and surprised. I mean, whoda’thunk having your teeth moved around in your skull would hurt?! It’s obvious when you say it, but none of my close friends at school had braces and the friends who did never mentioned it hurting. I remember them moaning about losing retainers, and not being able to get the colour bands they wanted, but never the pain.
Seriously, stock up on painkillers. Oh and it’s not just the initial shooting pain and tenderness, there’s a constant pressure in your mouth which, 6 months in, I’m assuming doesn’t go away until the braces themselves do.
You Get Used To Them
Before I had my braces put in, I’d sneer at the thought of not noticing them, or not being self-conscious of them. ‘Of COURSE I’m going to notice them and have low self esteem the entire time they’re in my mouth’, I’d think. But now my cheeks have bled it out, toughened up and become resistant to the constant stabbing from the metal on my teeth, I genuinely don’t realise they’re there anymore. That is until…
They Take A Lot Of Looking After
Again, maybe it’s because none of my close school friends had them so nobody ever disappeared to the bathroom for 20 minutes of teeth TLC at sleepovers in-between horror movies we definitely weren’t old enough to watch, but I didn’t realise the amount of maintenance braces needed.
There’s brushing (obvs), flossing, using those little interdental brushes around the brackets, mouthwash at different times of day to brushing, cleaning them after every meal… it’s all very time consuming. Having spent my entire life dedicating 2 minutes to brushing in the morning and 2 minutes at night, I really wasn’t prepared for spending 20-30 minutes twice daily, plus upkeep in-between.
I dreaded getting braces. I was worried how it’d affect me in the workplace, whether my boyfriend would think I was ugly, and if I’d get ID’d more when I’m out (although TBH they can’t win, because if they don’t ID me I get paranoid I’m getting old, and if they do I feel like a baby). I was SO bothered about how other people would perceive me because of the braces.
But actually, something surprising has happened. Everyone who notices them usually does so with a compliment on how I’m looking after myself, or how they wish they had braces and were jealous. Jealous?! Definitely not a term I thought I’d hear, but so many people see it as an act of self-improvement rather than something to be ashamed or embarrassed of. Which is good, because I’m stuck with them for another year and a half. Let’s hope they’re still in fashion then, eh!