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My experience of braces

Like many people when I was younger I had braces. I was born with far too many teeth in my mouth and this made them very wonky. Before I had my braces fitted I had to have about eight teeth removed and six of those were removed at the same time. I dread to think what my teeth would have ended up looking like without intervention. I can't remember at what age they were fitted (I also can't remember exactly when they were removed) but I wore them for years and it wasn't an easy experience. Although you can now get invisible braces, or at least ones that aren't very visible, back then I had the good old train tracks featuring metals pads glued to each tooth and then a metal wire running through them. They were far from attractive, which is really isn't helpful when you're starting to develop into an adult and already have a chronic lack of self-confidence.

I wanted to include a photo of me wearing braces but I can't find one anywhere, which I guess is understandable. I'm assuming it's either because I didn't smile showing my teeth or just completely avoided having my picture taken around that time. So I've included a very old picture of me with very long (and blonde) hair that was taken after having my braces as my teeth are straight.

One of the things I remember most about having braces was the pain. I had to go back regularly to have them tightened, at one point it was every two weeks, and after tightening the aching pain as my teeth started to move was hard to bear. There was also then the pain of the mouth ulcers as the metal pads began to rub in a slightly different place in my mouth that wasn't used to it. At least I didn't have it quite as bad as my brother though. He actually had a headset with braces attached that he was supposed to sleep in at night, but it was so uncomfortable and almost impossible to sleep in so I don't think he bothered much. 

It was definitely a relief when I went for my very last appointment and my orthodontist pulled off my braces. For the first time ever I had straight teeth without a mouth full of metal attached to them. Although he did attach a permanent retainer to the back of my top teeth, to stop them moving out of position, that I still have in place today. I thought that was it, so I wasn't particularly impressed when he asked me if I now wanted an operation to align my jaw properly. Why couldn't my jaw have been dealt with at the same time as my teeth like my brother? I didn't want to go through any more so I said no, and now I regret it!

I am probably the slowest eater in the world. I sometimes have trouble chewing things like steak and I know it's because my jaw is out of line. I'm not keen on the idea of having an operation to correct it but if there was something else I could have, maybe like braces (although preferably without the pain) I would definitely consider it. I'd never heard of an Inman Aligner before but this is an orthodontic treatment that can be used for issues such as small gaps between teeth and minor problems with the bite. It's not invisible, as a metal bar runs along the front of the teeth, but it's apparently discreet and most treatments are complete within four months.

I'm not sure if my jaw problem would be counted as minor but this is definitely something that I'm going to keep in mind for the future when I'm hopefully in a slightly better financial position. The Inman Aligner treatment is available at Sensu in London and you can find more details about the treatment on their website.

Have you ever had braces?

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