Getting braces is a rite of passage for a lot of teens. Sure, you’ll have nice teeth in the end, but the process can get you down. They can be uncomfortable and painful at times, not to mention a real knock in your confidence – the fear of having food stuck in them is very real!
If you currently have braces and are struggling or if you’re dreading getting them, fear not, I had them twice, yes twice, so I know quite a bit about them.
Up front: they’re grand. Annoying at times. But fine. They haven’t impacted my life in any way. And I’m just obsessed with seeing the end result.
A bit of background about my teeth first
I got braces initially when I was 14. And I had them for 18 months until I was 16. I had some over-crowding on my bottom teeth, but from what I can remember my top teeth were relatively okay. I also needed my bite corrected, so that meant a fab contraption across the roof of my mouth called an upper jaw expansion device. This was removed after 4 months.
So, I got my braces off in 2008 and everything was sunshine and roses. Until my metal retainer broke. I was never given an overnight plastic retainer. And after the mental one at the back of my teeth broke my Orthodontist removed the whole thing. Yes, the mind boggles. I started to notice me teeth moving in 2013. But 2015 it was starting to really annoy me. Long story short I lived abroad so I couldn’t go see my Orthodontist. I returned to Ireland last year and boy was it bad when I went in.
My top front teeth had really overlapped. One tooth was really sticking out and I had become very self-conscious of it when getting pictures taken. But the big problem was that my jaw had narrowed on one side and my top teeth had dramatically “fallen in”. The only option was to get the full “train-tracks” back on again. Sadly, Invisalign, was not an option.
So, now that I’m on my second round of braces I feel uniquely qualified to give some advice and guidance.
Okay, so it’s not that they’re painful. Braces are just uncomfortable, at first. It’s a strange feeling. It’s a bit like going to the gym. Yes, your teeth kinda ache after, but you feel it working and know it’s worth while. I become obsessed with inspecting my teeth daily to see how the changed.
Also depending on your teeth and if they’re sticking out the braces might catch your gum. But that’s were the wax comes in. Yes, you will probably end up eating most of the wax, but it won’t kill you!
It’s also just a matter of getting used to the feeling of having them. The first few days are probably the hardest because you’re mouth feels like metal. It can be frustrating and a bit upsetting. But after a week or two (if even) you’ll be surprised how you didn’t even notice them anymore.
Braces Are “On Trend” At The Moment
Braces are very “in” at the moment. A lot of models in magazines are sporting them. So, there’s always that. And chances are you are probably not going to be the only one in your group of friends who has braces. Even if you are, so what? You’re teeth are going to be fab!
Investigate what options are open to you. I have white ceramic braces on my top teeth and normal metal braces on my bottom teeth. The white ceramic ones are amazing because I don’t think that they’re super noticeable. When I had my braces as a teen I used to select pink bands, but now I have clear ones. You can experiment with what you like.
Say Goodbye To Some Foods
Curry can discolour the white ceramic braces and white or clear bands. Hard foods such as apples and french baguettes are also out of the question, unless you cut them up small.
Stick to soft foods for the first few days after you get braces. I ate a lot of Weetabix, soup, mashed potato and sausage rolls for the first week. Since then I’ve been eating completely normal. Sometimes I find I just need to cut up my food a bit smaller, especially with steak, but other wise everything else is normal.
Think Of The End Result
Are your braces getting you down? Yep, I’ve been there. I’m also very self-conscious of them when I’m out incase I have food stuck in them. But I just remember how nice my teeth are going to look at the end. My teeth were getting me down before. So even though I don’t love having braces the idea of not fixing the issue bothered me more.
Especially when you first get them and the wire is going every which way. I know some people who had to have a tooth basically pulled down so the wire went up and then down. Not a good look, but you will be shocked at how quickly your teeth will start straightening up. My front teeth were sticking out a lot but within 4 weeks of getting my braces when had gone back in line. Now I’m just waiting for my jaw to widen.
Before getting braces I used to use an electric tooth-brush, but I found that my teeth are often too sensitive to withstand the vigorous clean. I bought a pack of medium tooth brushes in the super market. I find that they get worn down pretty quickly. So, I change my tooth-brush around every 4 weeks. A travel tooth-brush is also essential for your bag when you’re out.
Braces Survival Kit
- A Travel Tooth Brush (Penneys sell one that folds up, plus a mini tooth paste)
- Lip balm
- Tooth Picks
The first time around I had a horrendous outbreak of mouth ulcers. My whole mouth was covered with them. Yes, it is as painful as it sounds. I ended up needing a prescription which cleared them in a few days. This time around I get the occasional ulcer, but Bonjela suffices.
If there’s a wire sticking into you go back and get it fixed. And if you break your brace for the love of God go get it fixed straight away. Not only can it be sore, but you will only set your progress back.
Over-all you will be totally fine. Yes, getting braces is a pain, but just think of the end results. It will be worth it.