Over the last couple of months, I’ve officially wrapped up my adult braces journey!
After I got my braces off in early May, I had a number of followup appointments, which I outlined in my previous post. Since then, I’ve had a couple more appointments with my dentist to create a new, post-bonding custom whitening tray and tweak the bonding job slightly. I have one more (hopefully final) appointment to wrap up this process tomorrow. After that, my only dental appointments in the near future are my regular twice yearly cleaning in August and my first post-braces followup in September. After that, hopefully I’ll get a 4-6 month break from both dental and orthodontist appointments.
Now that I’ve covered all of my final appointments, I’m sharing a few last thoughts on the adult braces journey as a whole.
Are you glad that you did adult braces?
Absolutely. After years of my teeth not fitting together at all and just not having enough room for all of my top teeth, it’s surreal having teeth that fit right and actually feel well proportioned for my mouth. The difference is significant and makes every single day better.
Do you wish that you did adult braces sooner?
Honestly, no. I know it sounds crazy, given what I just said in response to the previous question. Braces are the worst. They made every day of my life a little more miserable for two and a half years. If I’d known exactly what eating with braces would be like and what would be involved with pulling two top teeth and then closing those gaps, most likely I wouldn’t have gone through with it. I’m also not sure that I could have been talked into 26 months of braces. I was quoted 18 months originally, and no one ever provided an updated timeline.
Also, braces are very expensive. Most dental plans don’t cover adult braces, which is pretty bogus, given that people rarely get braces for purely cosmetic reasons. But that’s how it is. Paying for braces was like having a car payment for a year and a half. Insurance did cover part of my teeth extraction and bonding. We spent about another thousand dollars on the remaining appointments.
We could have paid for adult braces before this point in our lives. But it would have been a stretch. I’m glad that we waited until it wouldn’t be a major financial burden.
What was the hardest part about adult braces?
Hands down, the hardest part about adult braces was eating. I was completely unprepared for how much my teeth would hurt during the first few weeks with braces, that it would be four to six months until I got back to somewhat normal eating, and that I’d have major setbacks with eating after most adjustments. I was completely unprepared because the advice I received on this topic simply didn’t match my experience. At all. Maybe for some people it is accurate, but it wasn’t for me.
The other really difficult aspect of eating with braces is that food gets stuck in your braces all the time. Even with frequent brushing and flossing, it’s all but impossible to get your teeth completely clean. Two months post-braces, I’m still adjusting to the fact that I don’t have food stuck in my teeth after every single meal and snack.
After the eating aspect of braces, the toughest aspect of any braces journey is the periodic adjustments. Aside from the fact that adjustments are uncomfortable and leave you in a lot of pain afterward, adjustments involve pliers going into your mouth. Repeatedly. It’s nightmare inducing, even for people who don’t hate dental work.
What was the best part about adult braces?
I’m sure that this seems like a bit of a weird question. The best part about adult braces is the control that comes with it. You get to choose everything from what type of braces you want (i.e., metal vs. clear) to your payment timeline to when you set your appointments. For example, I didn’t have to do anything post-braces besides getting retainers. It was 100% my choice to follow through with whitening and bonding and to do so right away. As a kid, you may have some say in the process but not nearly the say you’ll have as an adult.
What advice would you give to someone considering adult braces?
There are a few key pieces of advice that I have to share for anyone who is thinking about taking the plunge with adult braces.
People will still be able to tell that you have braces, even with clear braces
I opted to get clear braces as opposed to metal braces, which are what most kids get. Clear braces are supposed to be less visible. They are, I suppose. But they’re still visible. And if you have any type of chains, springs, etc., (which I did through most of my braces journey) they’re really visible. Having never done metal braces, I can’t say with absolute confidence that they would be a lot more visible. But I’m not sure if clear braces were worth the extra money.
Invest in a water flosser
I have read so much advice for braces wearers about using braces flossers. Braces flossers are a huge pain in a butt. They’re very hard to use on yourself (it’s easier to have a dentist or orthodontist use them), and they take forever. If you’re serious about keeping up with flossing with braces, get a water flosser. It will get the job done effectively in a fraction of the time of braces flossers.
Stock up on all of the soft foods for your first few months with braces
I thought that having a couple of soups on hand for my first week of braces would be sufficient for the worst of my initial braces pain. Needless to say, it wasn’t. You want to be ready with soft foods for every meal, as well as snacks. And you should be prepared to eat a lot of soft foods for several months, not just a week or so.
To everyone who has been following along with my braces journey from the beginning, I really appreciate you reading these lengthy posts and providing encouragement month after month. It hasn’t been an easy journey, and I really appreciate the support.
The full adult braces journey:
Before and after comparison!
THE resource you need for eating with braces!