My Experience With Adult Braces & Why I Need Them


Welcome to my post that's all about...


I'll start by explaining why I wanted to get braces for the second time.
Let's rewind to the good ol' late middle school/early high school era. This was around the time I got braces. I had some pretty gnarly teeth pre-braces, hence the initial need for them.
I have teeth that are shaped like my dad's which is a good thing when they're straight, but when they were crooked, I had big buck teeth. As a young kid, my teeth were the last thing on my mind. This girl just wanted to have F-U-N with her friends. All I remember when I first got braces was that they were *cool* because everyone at school had them!
Many kids in my grade were into this "emo" (stands for emotional) which consisted of rocking checkered Vans and Converse or "Chucks", painting our nails black, and listening to depressing songs in the Punk music genre. Oh, and my parents bought me a skateboard that I rode for one day so I could match my punk - in both style and attitude - boyfriend.
So naturally, the first colors I chose for my braces were black and pink - I loved them. Say hello to the *new and improved* Chelsea.

I had my braces on for 1 1/2 years.
Next, let's press fast forward to eighth grade. Right after I had my braces removed, all I thought when I looked in the mirror at the orthodontist's office was that my teeth felt smoother and they looked kinda yellow. I didn't think, "Wow, what a difference! I look great!" because I didn't see any sort of problem with my teeth in the first place.
What happened?!
Because now, I'm one of the most detail-oriented people you will meet!
For those of you who had braces, you probably remember being under strict orders to wear your retainer every night for the rest of your life (if you don't want your teeth to ever move), and maybe even during the day for the first few months after getting your braces removed. I wore mine for only a few weeks or months - not very long, obviously - and complained about how tight and uncomfortable it was. Then one day, I lost it and never bothered to replace it despite my mom insisting that my teeth would move and I would regret it. Bottom line - I didn't care, didn't take my mom seriously, and lived in the "now". In that moment, all was swell with my teeth, so why wear that annoying retainer?
And now, here I am with my second round of braces. I'm actually very thankful for a second chance to do it right.
I learned the hard way that my mom was right - teeth do shift, and rapidly. Several years ago, my teeth shifted enough for me to finally notice, and it started to bother me more recently when I began taking more photos of myself for Style of Denver. In my perfectionist perspective, I realized that the camera accentuated my teeth issues and I started feeling like my smile looked goofy. I strongly desired to get braces again, especially because I wanted to feel confident while recording a video or taking a photo and not having to worry about showing the "bad angles" of my teeth.
My reasoning probably sounds extremely superficial, but all I can say is that I'm being totally honest about a vanity issue, and my smile was a true insecurity of mine that I knew could be fixed. At the same time, even though it's technically a superficial issue, feeling confident in your smile is important!
But how wonderful your smile is doesn't define you. Everyone has quirks and imperfections about his/her appearance and personality that become part of his/her individuality if he/she chooses to embrace them.
What solidified my decision in pursuing braces was an answer my dentist gave me when I asked her if my teeth would continue to move for the rest of my life if I didn't wear a retainer. She said, "yes."
For me, this is when a vanity issue became a more authentic issue that needed to be addressed. If teeth are crooked enough, they can affect your health and well-being, and I didn't realize that in the past.
I scheduled a consultation with an orthodontist with whom my dentist referred me - Holt Orthodontics. I received  a complimentary consultation and photos that show the true condition of my teeth. In the second photo above, he marked a bite issue and an alignment issue on my right side. My canine doesn't fit comfortably in between its two bottom teeth. Dr. Holt thinks this may be an issue my first orthodontist never fixed. I don't chew food as much on my right side because my teeth don't fit together comfortably. This bite issue then caused an upper midline issue. Your upper and lower midlines are the lines between your two front upper teeth and your two front bottom teeth. Ideally, they should line up with one another and with your nose/center of your face. Mine deviates to my left - the bottom middle photo shows it. Personally, this is my biggest aesthetic issue because the camera makes it look like my midline is a lot more shifted than it is.
Before you go analyzing your own teeth, know that many, many people's midlines do not line up perfectly with one another, or with the center of their faces and that's okay. To other people, it's a very unnoticeable characteristic. Just look at Tom Cruise's smile - it's still so beautiful! However, to me, I can't un-see my own midline issue.
During my consultation with Dr. Holt, he and his assistant sat down with me and discussed my treatment plan. He said Invisalign wouldn't be appropriate for the type of issues I have, so braces would have to be the vehicle for moving my teeth. The length of  my treatment is 9 - 12 months. It seemed like he felt sorry for me when he said I needed braces. I responded, "The way I see it is: braces for one year, and the rest of my life with straight teeth!" He replied, "That's a really good perspective."
I've had a great experience with Dr. Holt and his team so far. A few days before my braces appointment, I was trying to get in touch with him by phone to ask exactly *how* we would correct my midline issue. He didn't call me back all day which meant he was swamped. Around 8:30pm my phone rang, and it was Dr. Holt! He didn't sound rushed in the least to answer my questions that late - he was very intentional in addressing my questions and concerns. He even mentioned that he and his family are in the process of moving, so I was very impressed by how seriously he takes his profession and the concerns of his patients. After our phone call, I felt so much more confident in my treatment not just because he answered my questions, but also because he cared enough to take the time to call me after his busy day.
I also appreciate that he not only aims to correct practical orthodontic issues, but he also sees the importance of improving smile aesthetics. Dr. Holt knows how important correcting my midline is, and I appreciate that so much!
I've heard of patients expressing concerns about their midline being off center even after getting braces, and the orthodontist replied, "As long as your bite is corrected, the midline issue really isn't a big deal."
But it is a big deal to a lot of people!
(This isn't an advertisement, by the way!)
Fast forward to now - I have clear, ceramic braces on my six upper front teeth, and regular brackets on my other teeth, including my bottom ones. My bottom braces mainly serve as an anchor for the correction of my upper teeth issues. I am currently prescribed to wear one elastic in a triangular formation on my right side all day and all night, except for when I eat. This elastic formation will pull down my canine so there is no longer a gap between my upper and lower teeth on the right side, and so that my canine fits comfortably between its two bottom teeth. This will correct my bite issue. Thankfully, Dr. Holt said during the next eight weeks, I will see some rapid and positive changes because of the elastic.
My next appointment is on December 6th. I don't know exactly what will happen during this appointment, but one thing I know for sure is that we will start treatment for my midline issue with a different elastic formation. Dr. Holt said this will be a longer process compared to correcting my bite issue.
We also need to correct my overbite and my overjet. Before I conducted some research, I didn't know what an overjet was. I learned that an overbite is when the whole set of upper front teeth overlap the bottom teeth, whereas an overjet is when the top two front teeth jut out over the bottom teeth toward the lips at a slanted angle. Click here for my source!
Illustration of an overjet:
One thing I've learned during my braces journey so far is that a person needs to feel confident in their orthodontist before getting braces. You're entrusting this man or woman with the power to manipulate your teeth, which are a crucial part of your face and well-being, so they'd better do it right! Another thing I learned is that one should ask a lot of questions and know exactly how each issue will be fixed. Also, speak up when something is happening with your teeth that you're not familiar with.
Now that I have braces, (you may experience this phenomenon) most people who have known my smile pre-adult braces say, "but you have a beautiful smile! I never noticed anything wrong with your smile in the first place!"
And it's true that to other people's naked eye, it's hard to tell that I have any braces-worthy issues. My teeth naturally have a nice and symmetrical shape and my teeth are white, which I think distracts the eye from noticing teeth issues. However, when you look closer, you can tell I do have real, braces-worthy issues.
If you've read every paragraph up until this point, you deserve an award!
I know this was long, so thank you for reading!
I hope you learned one or two things about the process of getting braces.





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