Adult Braces

Last summer, I took the plunge to undergo the dreaded ADULT BRACES! Actually, it wasn’t so bad, and the results were totally worth it! 

I have a long history of orthodontia starting when I was maybe in 3rd grade—I got braces to straighten out some pretty gnarly front teeth. With the blessing of a small mouth and relatively large teeth, there just wasn’t room in there, so everything grew in pointing in all the wrong directions! Around 8th grade, I got a second set of braces to finish straightening everything out, and things looked really good! But, many years of not wearing my retainers, pregnancies (did you know that the relaxin in your body that loosens things up during pregnancy can make your teeth move a bit too??), and some jaw issues, I had tossed around the idea of another round of braces. 

Dr. Andrew Frerich (yes, I call him Dr. Andrew in the office!) and I decided that it was time to make those tweaks to my bite and improve the alignment of my front teeth when we were struggling to get a nightguard to fit because my teeth were shifting so much between appointments! Surely, if my teeth were moving that much without braces, we could make major progress quickly with braces! So we went for it. 

I got 6-month smiles, which are brackets just on the front 6 teeth without attachments to the molars in the back. The plan was to complete treatment in 6 months, but we knew it might be quicker (fingers crossed!). 

I will totally admit that it was pretty hard to get used to having braces again in my 30s! But, I figured out some tricks—I carried wax with me to put on pokey spots that rubbed and I bought way too many flossing picks that are specifically designed for braces. I was determined to keep those teeth under my brackets healthy! Our assistants tried to get me to pick crazy colors for my bands on the brackets, but I stuck with classic silver to blend in a little bit more. 

I suppose you are wondering why I didn’t go with Clear Correct (the invisible trays that move teeth)…because Dr. Andrew said it would take way longer (like a year longer!), and he said I can’t drink coffee with them in. And the trays have to stay in 23 hours a day. Like many moms of young children, I drink coffee for much more than 1 hour a day!

After about 4 months, Dr. Andrew was feeling really good about where my teeth were positioned. He asked me to take a good look, and it felt like I ultimately got to decide if I was satisfied with the new look of my teeth. I agreed, and they took the braces off! I felt awesome! Right away, I had retainers to wear, but I was happy to wear them to keep my new smile where it was. 

It’s been about a year and a half since my braces came off and I couldn’t be happier with my teeth. It wasn’t the most fun having braces, but I’m so glad I did it. The time is going to go by anyway, and getting it over with and having the result is worth it. It was also easier as an adult in a lot of ways—because I had a much larger investment into the outcome and understood what was happening more, I was much more compliant with taking care of my braces. I also had a better attitude about it because it felt like I chose it a lot more than when I was a kid. 

So, while braces as an adult wasn’t something I had imagined doing…I’m really glad I did.