As an adult, one of the things that had absolutely never crossed my mind was that I might need braces. It had been a decade since I had seen anyone my age wearing braces, and it never occurred to me that it was even something I might need. I had perfectly straight teeth my entire life, and had never even had a cavity! As it turned out, though, that did not matter. On my most recent trip to my family dentist, she came back from looking at the x-rays and had a slightly concerned look on her face.
I asked her what the problem was and she suggested that I make a follow-up appointment with a cosmetic dentist. She could give me a referral but she thought I might need braces, and wanted someone who specialized in cosmetic dentistry to verify her concerns before we proceeded with anything else. I’m not sure I heard a single word after she said “braces.” Me? An adult? How silly was I going to look walking around with braces? I immediately saw myself proceeding over meetings at work with braces and no one being able to take me seriously. These thoughts must have shown on what could only be a panicked face, and she quickly reassured me that she was not only not positive, but that even if she were right, there many options that I could choose from to make braces less obnoxious than I remembered them being.
She explained enough to me to know that I should really have the follow-up appointment and she was concerned about my teeth possibly shifting since the last appointment. She also scared me enough into thinking that if I did not schedule it soon, my teeth might be in even greater danger down the road. I did make the follow up appointment with the specialty dentist, and he was able to see me pretty quickly. He did a thorough examination and took another set of x-rays from a different angle, but he came back with the same news: it was going to be braces for me. I am sure I cringed, again, and he handed me several different pamphlets while we discussed the various options. What I quickly realized was that there were a lot of different choices and I could be grateful for that.
If I had needed to wear braces as a child, I undoubtedly would have had to wear the ugly metal ones, and no doubt been scarred for life. But as an adult in this day and age, I had choices such as Invisalign at my fingertips, which I ultimately ended up selecting. I wore them for nearly a year, and after a few weeks of getting used to them initially, I more or less forgot they were there. They did not ruin pictures, or meetings at work, and only a few people even realized I had them – and it was usually because I told them, not because they could see them. It turns out that having braces as an adult instead of a child was a blessing in disguise.