I can’t remember anyone suggesting to me, as a teenager, that fitting a brace and straightening my teeth would be a good idea. Maybe they did and I dismissed it as something I didn’t want to do. What I do know is that at various times during my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s I thought about it enough to discuss it with my dentist and then did absolutely nothing about it. My bottom teeth, specifically, were badly crowded but I convinced myself that it wasn’t really a problem and anyway it was just part of me, part of my personality.
It took until the age of 52, when I saw an advert for Cleveland Orthodontics suggesting that they specialised in treating adults, that I convinced myself to go as far as making an appointment.
As a director of a computer software company, my job involves sales presentations, conferences and exhibitions and I had kidded myself for long enough that I was unconcerned about my teeth. However after speaking with my orthodontist, I was convinced that he could “improve my smile” and I decided to go ahead. He mapped out what would happen, and that I would be fitted with a “white-look” brace, to be worn for a suggested period of approximately 18 months, and liased with my own dentist regarding some preparatory dental work.
Then came the day when the brace was fitted. All went very well and it was a pretty painless experience. The only disappointment I can remember was the hygienist informing me that I couldn’t eat curry, as it would stain the brace. However, the next 24 hours were filled with doubts. All of that extra metalwork in your mouth is difficult to get used to, and could I really face the world as a 52 year-old with a brace! Next day in the office answered the question. Hardly anyone noticed! And all of those exhibitions and conferences? Not a problem. Although you do start to notice how many fellow-wearers there are. Not quite a secret society – but reassuring.
There followed a series of visits, every 6/8 weeks for adjustments as my orthodontist specifically targeted different teeth or areas and the difference was quite visible to me, although it was still hiding behind the brace. I began to forget what they had originally looked like.
Now the brace is off after only 16 months – and I don’t know where the time has gone. For me the result is remarkable. It’s hard to believe how much movement can be achieved. It is only too apparent when you are tempted to view those “before” photographs that were taken before all of the work began.
I’m left with just two obvious clichés.
“Why didn’t I have it done earlier?” (although I don’t think Cleveland Orthodontics were around 30 years ago!)
“I just can’t stop smiling at people”
Don’t think about it as long as I did. Make that appointment, you won’t regret it.