So, I’m pretty sure that judging by the title you were expecting to read something emotional yet inspirational, but that’s not what this is entirely about. I got braces! Yes, I am a 24year old adult who wears braces like that of a schoolboy (feel free to laugh in the comments lool), but maybe you’ll understand why when you finish reading this and the journey behind it as well as my reasons why. I am going to be as transparent as possible, so I hope that if you’re reading this, you learn something from my experience……….
In March 2018, I finally got my braces fitted in and to be honest it felt different. Beforehand, I was somewhat excited yet nervous about going to get it done because it was something new. It was a process I knew I would have to go through for over a year or two to get the best results possible. I woke up that day excited because something that had dawned on me for a long time, was finally being resolved. I handled it independently by myself as well as with the support of my dentist who referred me for private treatment (FYI braces cost a lot of money). If you’re an adult over the age of 18 and considering getting braces, be prepared to deal with the financial responsibility.
My reason for getting braces is very simple. I was born with a gap in my teeth which is a feature I inherited genetically. I have an uncle and a cousin that have a gap as well as my father. I never liked mine since I was young and as I got older, I noticed the gap was getting bigger (I know, horrifying right?!). I found I did not like my smile a lot growing up, and at times it would ruin my confidence. This occurred in scenarios where it was time to take a picture, and I was almost forced to smile with my teeth showing. In those pictures, I noticed the gap, and I found such pictures weird to look at, especially if they were close-up (I deleted a lot of photos from those times). In my later teens, a lot of my pictures taken were close-mouthed. I didn’t care from that point to show my crooked smile and I felt that’s when I looked most attractive. I didn’t grow up confident I was always a shy kid, and this was a small part of why I was how I was before I grew in confidence.
My friends and relatives always assured my gap suited me, and it was sort of my look, some suggested I should keep and own it. No one ever had the balls to say negative things to me in person about it, so I was never bullied regarding that. Although I have a friend who used to constantly run jokes teasingly (funny cos he has a gap too, but smaller than mine). Though I knew it wasn’t malicious and played it off laughing, deep down it did add to the insecurity just a bit. So that was from age 12 until 17. From the age of 18-19, that’s when I decided to live with the gap and just own it temporarily, as I knew there would come a time where I would have that perfect smile I always imagined. In my personal life during that phase, it did not affect how I dated or anything like that, and to be honest, it never affected how I was looked at by the opposite sex based on my attractiveness (at least I didn’t think so). As I made the decision to live with it and knew that I was insecure about it deep down, I made up for what I thought was that unattractive part of me in other areas; especially in my style and fashion sense (That was my main power of confidence, combined with gym and fitness).
“Why didn’t you get it when you were younger??” Is a question I get asked a lot and in response to that, it was not entirely in my control as I was still below adult/consensual age amongst other circumstances. From the moment I turned 17, I began looking into getting braces, which I thought would be simple cos of the whole NHS (National Health Service regarding medical and health needs in the UK) thing. It was the total opposite. I was in for a shock when I found out I had to pay for it in the amount of a few thousand pounds (£), depending on where I have the treatment. At the time I couldn’t afford it so, it was a waiting game until I could. I hated waiting and I remember times thinking there must be a way I could create makeshift braces somehow. I later snapped out of that knowing how ridiculous it sounded.
Fast forward to March 2018 after many consultations with different orthodontics who also wasted my time, my dentist referred me to a private orthodontist who provided me with all the support I needed. I was finally making headway in the process. I was able to ask questions and get all the answers I required. Regarding cost, by the grace of God I was/still am working in a job where I can afford the expense and paid for it with an initial deposit of £500 and now pay in monthly instalments.
Currently, after a year and a few months, my gap is now closed however I still wear braces to work on the bite of my teeth. I wear white ones so that it blends in with my natural teeth. Due to my line of work consisting of daily interaction with many people, I didn’t want silver or coloured braces, because I felt they’d make me look unprofessional and somewhat childlike. I already get told without my beard I can pass for 17, I didn’t want to push that down to 12 (yikes!!). Getting braces has changed my life drastically and although I still have them on, since noticing a change and closure in the gap over time, I smile with a lot more confidence. I smile more genuinely with my teeth beaming like I’m insane, and I feel a lot more confident about my smile, despite the pain and the challenges of the process.
If you are a young adult or even 25, 30 or 40+ years old, you are not too old to get or invest in braces or, something you have always wanted, if it makes you feel better about yourself. This is more than just about braces. This is also about self-awareness and accepting your flaws, but also knowing that if those flaws make you unhappy and can be fixed safely and professionally, then it is okay to undergo the process to be happier and feel good. Not for anyone else but for yourself. I wanted braces for myself, I honestly did not care who was for or against the idea or what it took. I had my reasons and I have a vision of the man I’ve always wanted to be and look like and I’ll be damned if I do not try to reach that position.
If you have ever thought about getting braces;
- Be sure to check the needs and options you have from your dentist before seeking private consultations
- Know the kind of support you’re entitled to
- Get referred to private clinics/orthodontics from a dentist because you cannot go wrong if your dentist has recommended it
- Ensure you can afford it
- Ensure your orthodontist gives you options on types of treatment
- Understand the process you are about to go through
- Understand that you need to be patient
- Listen to your orthodontist’s advice
- Enjoy it and get excited about the process
Lastly, please understand that when I talk about having a gap, this is not to offend or shame anybody, who may have a gap or does not have the generic “perfect” set of teeth or smile. If you are happy with your own set of teeth or smile, then own it. Be proud of it and show it to the world.
Thanks for reading; I hope it helps and all comments and feedback are appreciated as it helps with providing your quality content in the future.
You can follow Living PF for more updates and content on Instagram and twitter @LivingPF