Adult Braces: Before and After Pictures

Adult Braces Journey Before and After Pictures

I know I said that I had wrapped up my adult braces posts. But I’m sneaking in one more post: before and after pictures.

Before getting to the pictures, I want to share a little post-braces update.

Post-braces update

Life post-braces couldn’t be better. I can’t believe it’s been five months since I got my braces off already. It’s so funny how much more quickly time moves on the other side. The last five months with braces took FOREVER.

I feel like I got my entire life back at once. Eating is amazing. My teeth fit together when I chew, and I don’t get crazy amounts of food stuck in my teeth. I can eat everything again with zero issues. I thought it would be tough getting back into the routine of flossing. But I haven’t missed a day. Now that I have so much more space between my teeth, flossing is better than it ever has been in my adult life.

The silver lining of getting my braces off right before summer (instead of in the fall, as they’d originally told me) is that I’ve never enjoyed summer foods so much. Hello, corn on the cob and grilled steak!

A ton of people have asked me about retainers. Yes, I do have retainers. I have to wear them every night for at least the first year. Yes, I am wearing them. Every single night. My adult braces journey started because I needed a nightguard and couldn’t imaging wearing one with the way my teeth fit together before braces. At this point, I’ll be wearing a device at night indefinitely. The retainers are taking care of that need for now in addition to keeping my teeth from moving. So things are good on that front.

I had my regular six-month dental cleaning in August and my first post-braces checkup in September. Everything was great at both appointments, which means I don’t have to go back to the dentist or orthodontist for six months now. After two and a half years of having appointments every 12 weeks or less, I couldn’t be more excited about having such a long stretch before my next appointments.

So why didn’t I write this post right after I wrapped up my adult braces journey?

When I started my adult braces journey, I didn’t know if I’d ever get to the point that I wanted to write this type of post. Until very recently, I’d spent my entire adult life with too many teeth for the size of my mouth that didn’t fit together at all. It was physically awkward to smile, and my teeth were never really comfortable.

Then I spent most of my braces journey with huge, prominent creepy gaps that made it all but impossible to envision what my smile would look like when I finished. I didn’t get to the elements of my treatment – whitening and bonding – that really took it that last 10% until the very end. After getting those final treatments done, I had the whole “it doesn’t really feel like my teeth” phenomenon. I still do to some extent, but it’s sunk in a little more.

Until we did our most recent family pictures right at the end of the summer, I was still on the fence about writing this post. Josh and Lindsay did such an amazing job that I knew even before we got our pictures that their shots would give me the confidence to put together the post at last.

Before braces

Montana August 2016

Most of my pictures as an adult look exactly like the above picture. I’ll spare you the tediousness of showing you a bunch more examples because I think you get the idea. I smiled without my teeth because smiling with my teeth looked and felt awkward. Every single time. End of story.

Rob and Bethany's Wedding

The sole exception to my no-teeth smiles is a handful of the posed pictures from my brother’s wedding. I have to give Adam Novak a shoutout for these pictures where I actually am smiling with my teeth. Adam is an amazing photographer, and the fact that I have a pre-braces smiling picture is evidence of his talent.

You can also get a good, upclose look at my pre-braces teeth in the adoption video we made when we were in the waiting pool for the first time.

Adult braces progress pictures

I’m going to walk you through the progress pictures I shared during my month updates. I don’t have closeup pictures. But you can clearly see how much changes over the course of two years.

To be clear, I have zero pictures with braces where you can actually see my teeth until this three-month Tommy shoot. In most of the pictures from this shoot, I still didn’t show my teeth. (Remember our Mediterranean cruise four months into my braces journey? I was still rocking all no-teeth smiles.)

Month 7

Clearfield Family Fall 2017, Copyright: Lottie Lillian Photography

Copyright: Lottie Lillian Photography

Month 9

Rose and Tommy, December 2017 |

Month 10

Tommy's Adoption Finalization, Copyright: Melissa Morgan Photography |

Copyright: Melissa Morgan Photography

Tommy's Adoption Finalization |

Copyright: Melissa Morgan Photography

Tommy’s Adoption Finalization

Month 13

Easter Basket With Tommy 2018 |

Easter 2018

Month 14

Memorial Day Weekend 2018 |

Month 15

Family Photo June 2018, copyright: Melissa Morgan Photography |

Copyright: Melissa Morgan Photography

Family Photo June 2018, copyright: Melissa Morgan Photography |

Copyright: Melissa Morgan Photography

Month 18

Montana Highlights 2018 |

Month 19

Montana 2018

Halloween 2018 |

Month 23

Halloween 2018

Braces as an Adult Progress, Month 23 |

Month 24

Family March 2019 |

After braces

I have a few different post-braces pictures because the final dental work I had done after getting my braces off changes my smile significantly.

Mother's Day 2019 |

Post-braces, pre-whitening.

Low/full battery mom/toddler coordinating t-shirts. Love this gift idea! #momtoddlershirts #coordinatingfamilyshirts #momgift #momgiftidea |

Post-whitening, pre-bonding.

Post-Braces #adultbraces #bracesjourney #adultbraces |


If you’re on the fence about bonding as part of your braces dental work, I highly encourage you to do it. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the fact that the difference between these last two pictures is huge. After getting braces, having bonding done is a piece of cake, especially when you have an amazing dentist. If you don’t have an amazing dentist, get some recommendations from family and friends.

Finally, I’m sharing a few cropped versions of pictures from our late summer family shoot just a couple of months ago, so you can see how far I’ve really come over the past few years.





Thank you to Josh and Lindsay of Lichter Photography for their amazing work. For those who are dying to see a few more family pictures (aka full versions with Tommy),  I’ll be sharing a few more in another post later this week, so get excited for that.

The full adult braces journey:

Monthly updates:

Month 4 // Month 7 // Month 10 // Month 13 // Month 16 // Month 20 // Month 23

Final posts:

Adult Braces: The Beginning of the End // Adult Braces: The End of the Journey // Adult Braces: Final Thoughts

THE resource you need for eating with braces!

What to Eat with Braces. My best recommendations to keep you eating healthy, interesting food during those early months with braces. Includes a FREE printable! #braces #whattoeatwithbraces #bracesfriendlyfoods |

What to Eat with Braces [Includes a FREE Printable!]


2 thoughts on “Adult Braces: Before and After Pictures”

  1. This was great to read! I just got my braces on at almost 47 years old! The pain is real. But seeing your before and afters give me hope that it’s all worth it. Thanks for sharing your story.

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