October 7, 2016

My 9 Year Journey with Adult Braces


Wow!!! After 9 years my braces have finally been removed, I am still in shock and I honestly can’t believe that I am braces free. I contemplated if I should blog about my experience as it is a very emotional one for me, but I decided to go ahead and talk about my journey and how having braces helped build my confidence.

Before I got braces I was very self-conscious about my teeth. I always smiled with my mouth closed and when I laughed I also use to cover my mouth to try to hide the spaces and gaps that I had between my teeth. From a very young age I dreamed about having braces so that I could have the perfect smile. This dream quickly turned into a very strong desire as I moved into my teenager years. However, my insurance did not cover braces and funding them is not cheap!!! I constantly struggled with the thought of not being able to have the perfect smile, I was already overweight and just wanted my teeth to look normal as I was rapidly becoming a young adult.

In July 2007 my dream became a reality, I finally was able to get braces. I was so excited but nervous about being an adult with braces, I was already in college and all of my friends had nice teeth and were able to smile with pride. My excitement quickly turned into mild embarrassment, at the time I was the only person in my social circle that had braces and I was eager to get the process over with. I figured in a couple of years I would be done and everything in my life would be perfect. This mentality was short lived, soon after getting my braces I was told that I was a tongue thruster which was part of the reason why I had so many spaces between my teeth. A tongue thruster is a person who’s tongue thruster outward when speaking and ingesting food or liquids. When I heard this I was disgusted, I felt guilt and shame, my own tongue for years was pushing my teeth further and further apart, creating the spaces I despised so much. My orthodontist then informed me that in order to fix this problem I would need 2 additional treatments to avoid the spaces from coming back after my braces were removed. I was told that I needed to go to speech therapy for a year, that I would need 4 dental implants and that my treatment time would be longer than expected. When I heard the news I thought to myself… Damn, Why can’t anything be easy for me? I became bitter as the reality of having to fund more money into this already expensive journey came to light.

I quickly learned that the only way I was going to get through this process would be to have patience, determination and faith. Once I stopped thinking so negatively about the process I started to become more confident in myself about having braces. I trained myself to stop thinking of my spacey teeth as a curse. I started to smile more exposing my braces and teeth. When I started to think more positively about my situation, I was able to take things step by step, slowly accomplishing the goals I needed to bring myself to where I am at today.

After 9 years I can proudly say that I have the smile that I have always wanted. It may not be perfect in the eyes of others but it is perfect to me. What I learned throughout this whole process is that you have to learn to embrace yourself and who you are. There were many times I felt like giving up, I thought is it worth the pain, time, money and effort. But I am thankful that I remained diligent and was able to learn a lesson from this process that I can apply in other aspects of my life.

Closed Smile:

This was my signature smile. I always smiled with my mouth closed, people would say why don’t you show your teeth, but I was not confident enough to do that at the time.

Before:

Looking back at this photo brings back a lot of negative emotions from when I was younger. I am very thankful that I was able to get braces.

During:

As I progressed further into my journey I became more and more confident with my teeth. I started to smile more with an open smile.

After:

I have come a long way, having braces has been a very emotional process for me and has thought me that in life you need to have Patience, Determination and Faith.





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