Are Braces Really All That Bad?

The idea of braces will naturally cause anxiety to anybody. But the older you get, the more panic runs through your body causing you to feel uneasy about the idea. I was one of the ‘luckier ones’ to say I got braces at the age of 16, but by all means it wasn’t easier. I was in the middle of my high school days. This is the time dating increases and your self-esteem can either be at an all-time low or high. Mine was somewhere in the middle, and I knew braces weren’t going to raise my confidence. I went to my friends in hope of support, but they proceeded to tell me “Why would you do that? Braces aren’t going to be cute.” But I decided to follow my dentist’s advice and go see an orthodontist.

Insecurity was the primary emotion I felt sitting at the orthodontist’s office. I was surrounded by little kids who were watching Disney Junior and coloring on the kid's table. It didn’t help that I was feeling already too old for braces. After a consultation and few minor fixes from the dentist, I was on my way to the orthodontist for what seemed like a life-changing experience. 2 hours passed and I looked on my Snapchat camera to see the new crooked metal attached to my teeth. I smiled through the fear of social rejection and prepared for the first day of school.

(Here is the first photo I ever took with my braces. I wanted my friends and family to see the new 'grill' I had gotten on my teeth. This is not one of my brightest moments.)

The first few weeks were painful and irritating. I wanted nothing more than to just eat normally again and not have to worry about the bits and pieces of leftover food stuck between the brackets. But the worst part was when I looked in the mirror. All I saw was the braces. I didn’t recognize myself anymore and felt like I had lost a part of me. I cried to my Mom constantly and told her I felt ugly and I wish I never got braces…

Fast forward to school, I faked it until I made it. I met new friends in classes and owned the metal as best as I could. I applied for retail jobs worrying that I would be declined because I might not look the part… boy, was I wrong. I went out on dates with a lot of boys and kissed a lot of boys that eventually I forgot I had braces.

Believe it or not, I got to the point where I liked my braces. I was in no rush to get them off because I saw the progress being made and it felt rewarding. When I saw a tooth I was insecure about become straight, it was like I had overcome a battle that had tormented me for years. Every 6 weeks getting checked up, I cheered to the orthodontist and dental assitants that I saw the improvements being made. That’s why when I graduated high school and began my journey into adulthood with my braces, I wasn’t scared to smile in front of strangers. My braces had become a part of me that I had come to love.

2 and ½ years I had braces and as of February 17, 2017 I finally had them removed! I learned so much about myself in these last few years that I'm more than grateful for. I learned a new love for myself in a way I never could’ve imagined without braces. It made me realize there was much more to me than just what my teeth looked like. I saw my personality for what it truly was and that the people around me didn’t care if I had braces or not. I learned about the type of guys I wanted to pursue. Especially this last summer, I had a giant Tinder phase (which not to brag, but included over 800 matches in 3 months) causing a lot of boys to ask the question, “When do you get your braces off?” As soon as this question was asked, I immediately unmatched myself from them. I know that the guy I want in my future isn’t going to look at me for my mouth or my looks… he’s going to look at my heart and see me as an authentic living person who's more than just a pretty girl. (Yes, Tinder is solely based on looks. But after you swipe right that's when it's time to see if the two of you match personality-wise.)

What I need you to know is it doesn’t matter what age you get braces. Whether you’re in Elementary, Middle School, High School, College, or Graduated and married… it’s for everyone. Don’t be worried about social rejection like I was. Take advantage of becoming your best self. Your health is all that matters, and if braces are a step you’ve always wanted to take then you need to do it. It won’t only straighten your teeth, but it will give you a new outlook on life and love for yourself. 

(The photo I took after I got my braces off.)

And just to give my orthodonist a huge shoutout: If you are looking for a great place surrounded by amazing people to handle your orthodontic needs, check out Cameron Orthodontics in Layton, Utah!