While one of the best investments I have made for myself was choosing to get my teeth corrected, it was not an easy decision to make. I was comfortable with photoshopping my teeth and I learned to just smile with my mouth closed. I thought that I ruined pictured when I smiled with my teeth showing. I had this thought process through most of my 20s but I never bashed myself for not having straight teeth. I also wasn’t ready to do that dreaded thing we all have to do when we really want something different: change. Read on to see why getting braces after 30 was one of the best decisions I have made.
MY WHY FOR GETTING BRACES
As the saying goes, “Once you become sick and tire of being sick and tired, you’ll do something about it. Well, I was sick and tired of photoshopping my teeth (I mean really.). I got sick and tired of trying to smile at some weird angle on my left side because that side of my teeth was less crooked. I got sick and tired of not having a million dollar smile. Now, what I want you to know while having my teeth corrected boosted my confidence it is not a result of me having low self-esteem. I saw something about myself that I didn’t like and I was finally ready for a change. Think of it as someone who is unhealthy and overweight. They become tired of having weight-related health issues and want a change. Nothing to do with an overwhelming need to look or be like someone else. It’s time for a change.
BEING 30 WITH BRACES IS NOT A CRIME
Just like being single is not a crime (I’ll talk about that in a later post) neither is getting braces as an adult. I was self-conscious about that for 5 seconds. Believe it or not, Google and Yelp helped me to find the most AMAZING orthodontist and his office is super close to where I live. I hit the jackpot. I typed orthodontists in my area in Google, read a few profiles, crossed referenced them in Yelp for reviews, and picked my orthodontist. Besides having great reviews, Dr. Thomas was the only one who had a 5-star rating.
So, I go into his office for the consultation. The atmosphere of his office was very welcoming and so was his staff. We connected instantly and he suggested I get braces as opposed to Invisalign. I trusted his judgment and on 8 May 2015, I got my braces installed! On 15 November 2017, 2.5 years later, my braces were removed.
Dr. Thomas informed me that it was good I came into his office when I did. In a few more years my teeth were going to crack since I was crewing more with the left side of my mouth, good ol’ wear and tear.
I also want to mention that years prior to seeing him I had all of my wisdom teeth removed. One wisdom tooth was infected, another chipped, and I just had the remaining two removed as I played with the thought of getting braces.
Just before I got my braces installed, my orthodontist instructed me to visit a dentist for a cleaning and check up. I had one minor cavity.
Once my braces were installed, it was barely noticeable. Even my orthodontist was impressed that my braces were seemingly invisible when I showed him the cover of my latest book, How To Get To The Point In Your Life. Below is the photo that was used for the cover.
Let’s talk money! Getting braces installed was not cheap. It cost me a few thousand dollars but I made each payment via installments. Every month for roughly two years, I gladly made an automatic payment to my orthodontist’s office. Make no mistake, I was nervous as hell when I initially signed the paperwork! I used to have this fear that if I spend a large sum of money on something (large some for me is anything over $500) then I won’t have that money for an emergency. To date, no real emergency happened that required a large sum of money. That’s False Expectations Appearing as Reality.
My insurance company didn’t cover the cost of getting the braces (or Invisalign for that matter) installed. This had to be something I totally wanted to do with my money.
With anything huge that we want to accomplish we need to break it down. How do you make a million dollars? You break it down by figuring out what you can sell and how many people it will take to purchase your product or service to reach one million. That’s the mindset I used to calm my mind down and be in the flow of being positive about money.
DIDN’T LOSE OUT ON EATING ANYTHING SPECIAL
A common question I received was, “Don’t you miss eating (fill in the blank)?” The answer was a resounding NO! My mom didn’t allow me to have candy as a kid. I had to build a tolerance to chocolate! I didn’t miss out on eating ANY candy. I don’t like corn on the cob. Again, I did not have FOMO. My weaknesses are bread and Pepsi. So, if there was some type of restriction there, that would require extra mental strength! I thought having braces would cause me to slow down in the eating department, which would mean that I would effortlessly lose weight. That wasn’t the case at all, unfortunately.
BENEFITS & CONFIDENCE
As I stated earlier, my confidence increased. I felt better smiling and laughing without covering my mouth. I remember back in my undergrad years at La Salle University, my Spanish professor said that she makes sure she doesn’t have any lipstick stains on her teeth because the first thing you notice about her is her teeth since she is teaching us how to annunciate in Spanish. That’s what I felt like as I began to speak more over the years; two things people will notice are my teeth and my smile.
Some of the benefits of getting my teeth corrected are:
- Better oral hygiene. It’s easier to brush my teeth (less plaque) and food barely gets stuck in my teeth.
- I chew evenly now that the open gap in my mouth is closed. Open gaps mean that your teeth don’t close all the way, the top and bottom don’t connect.
- I saved my teeth. They won’t crack now.
- I saved myself money in the long run. Who knows how badly my teeth would have cracked and what other damages that would have caused as a result.
The moment you have been waiting for: the before and after pictures!
NO PAIN NO GAIN: MY MOUTH SUFFERED AT TIMES
There were many times where the brackets caused tears in my mouth. I had to put wax made especially for braces over the brackets to act as a barrier. I also had to spend a couple of minutes cleaning my braces after every meal because the food would become impacted in various areas in my mouth. That was an annoying process. Side note: Now, people are telling me to wear my retainer. I’m wearing them every day, throughout the day, mmkay?! I did not come this far to not wear the retainer, causing my teeth to shift. No way Jose!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Do you! It’s never too late for self-improvements.
- Listen to your orthodontist! I’ve heard so many horror stories about people who didn’t listen and they had to get braces again or their teeth shifted! Why spend the extra money? Do it right the first time.
- You have to want it. This process has been a joy for me because I have experienced a lot of growth. Don’t invest in this process for the wrong reasons. It’ll become a painful task.
- Make sure you get compassionate orthodontist. It gets personal. Your orthodontist is literary up in your scenario when he’s inspecting your mouth and braces. You need to trust that person.
- Trust the process. I call my orthodontist a magician but he gives me the credit. I noticed a difference in the upper row of my teeth within four weeks. It’s different for everyone, but don’t give up because the process seems slow. The time will pass anyway.
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