Adults decide to get braces for many reasons. Some are new to the experience whilst others have had braces before and are returning for a second or even third round of treatment. This post is a light-hearted look at how to survive adult braces.
Firstly, a huge dose of confidence is required. Facing your family, friends and colleagues for the first time with braces is quite a daunting task and all the more fearful when you have built the issues up in your head in the long run up to getting them fitted. The reality is somewhat different, no one cares you have braces and other than a cursory mention, are unlikely to say anything at all which will come as a huge disappointment to you. You can, of course, bring it up in conversation but in my experience, won’t find this particularly successful unless the person is interested in getting their own teeth straightened or knows you sufficiently well and provides you with the opportunity to get it off your chest.
Eating in public comes next. Never before have you been so cautious about eating around others. Not just in your choice of food trying to avoid anything that is too crunchy, sticky, chewy, highly coloured, sugary, stringy, the list goes on and on but also in worry that food will remain attached to your brackets and wires for all to see. This can happen but you soon become adept at selecting the right menu choices and eating in such a way that keeps embarrassment to a minimum. Keeping a toothbrush handy and cleaning your teeth after every meal will become second nature within days as will regularly swishing with water throughout your meal.
Look after your teeth and braces. It became a bit of a standing joke in my family that my toothbrushing ritual was taking a considerably long time as I used a variety of tools to ensure my teeth were kept in tip top condition. I built up an impressive collection of dental accessories during my treatment which included every conceivable type of interdental brush, multiple spare toothbrushes and enough spare toothpaste to keep me going for many months.
Get to know your ortho staff really well. You will be visiting your orthodontist very often and will meet the same staff time and time again. Take the time to get to know them well, show an interest in who they are and what they are doing and make each appointment an enjoyable and engaging experience. In doing so, you will be warmly welcomed each time you visit which will make each adjustment so much more enjoyable.
Take plenty of photos. Orthodontics is slow and at times very, very slow. When you feel progress has stopped, take a look at your early photos and see for yourself the huge amount your teeth have moved. It’s easy to forget what our teeth looked like before getting braces and by keeping a photo journal you can marvel at the wonders of modern orthodontics. Taking an acceptable orthodontic selfie is another thing altogether!
Join an online community. Yes, they do exist and are frequented by like minded individuals from around the world all going through the same thing you are. There are many benefits to joining an adult orthodontic forum; to encourage you through the process, to share your experiences and to get well intentioned advice from those who have gone before you. In no time, you will be providing advice to newbies as you contemplate getting to the end of your treatment and embracing the wonderful world of lifelong retainer wear.
Image: © anatoliy gleb / Fotolia