Brace Your Face!

Someone in my house got braces last week.

No, not Bobby. He had braces a few years ago. His teeth look fabulous.

It’s not Lucy. She will need braces at some point, but we’re still waiting for a few baby teeth to come in before she takes the plunge.

It’s ME, LISA!! In a matter of about 45 minutes I went…

Brace Your Face Cautionary Tale

Let me give you the rundown.

I had braces for four years in my youth. Early 1980’s orthodontic technology got my teeth straight and lovely. Hooray!

Back in that day they shoved a retainer at you and sent you on your merry way. As many a teen before me, I threw that puppy in a drawer and never looked back. Why would I wear some contraption to bed when my teeth were straight and lovely? Orthodontists must be INSANE!!

It turns out that orthodontists are ACTUALLY NOT INSANE! Apparently they give you a retainer for a reason.  Who knew?

Those orthodontic geniuses know that your teeth can MOVE. As in, you think your teeth are stationary because they look all solid and sit in your jaw bones so they seem like something you can depend on…but you can’t. They can shift and move all around on you like cockroaches in the night. How damn creepy is that?

So… gaps started forming between some of my teeth and (even worse) my bite that was fixed in the early 80’s went wickety whack as I got older. Fast forward 35 years, and I’m sitting in front of my son’s orthodontist in 2013 being told that I need braces. Again.

I was positive they didn’t give old ladies the full, metal mouth treatment. Surely my little issues could be solved with the discrete and adult friendly Invisalign, right? WRONG. Only the full monty of orthodonture would put my teeth back where they belong and ensure that I can eat for decades to come. Sheesh.

Now that I’ve experienced the miracle of mouth medicine from both ends of the spectrum, I will enlighten you regarding the distinct differences of being an official brace face at:

Battle Royale


Fifth Grade: Appointments are always during school hours! If you’re really lucky, you can even have your mom schedule it so you can miss algebra!

Forty-Five: You also go when your kids are in school taking a dent out of your valuable awake, child-free hours.

Winner: Fifth Grade


Fifth Grade: When you get your braces tightened your mom gives you Tylenol and makes soft foods for you for a day or two. She even stops by Dairy Queen to get you a Blizzard.

Forty-Five: Nobody in your house cares one iota if your mouth hurts. In fact, they are highly irritated you didn’t wash their favorite t-shirt/jeans/sport socks when you were busy writhing in agony. If you want something soft to eat, you have to make it yourself. You metabolism doesn’t allow for a Blizzard, but you can have some low-fat, soy milk, frozen yogurt if you have time to drive to Trader Joe’s after carpool.

Winner: Fifth Grade


Fifth Grade: You will be subjected to a full mouth of solid metal. You have no say in this whatsoever.

Forty-Five: You have the purchasing power to indulge your vanity and have clear porcelain braces put on your top teeth so they fade a bit more into the background of your face.

Winner: Forty-Five


Fifth Grade: Braces with pimples

Forty-Five: Braces with wrinkles

Winner: Draw


Fifth Grade: Old school, Oral B candle-type wax that disintegrates easily letting your braces gouge into your delicate gum tissue multiple times a day.

Forty-Five: Newfangled silicone wax that doesn’t break down or move once you put it in place proving once and for all that silicone really is an old lady’s best friend.

Winner: Forty-Five


Fifth Grade: Your future is full of hope and promise. You endure your suffering because you are sure your life will be awesome once your smile is perfected and your boobs come in. Hey, you might even marry George Michael or David Lee Roth with the beauty you will attain!

Forty-Five: You already know what you grew up to look like and then what the march of time did to your boobs. You are spending good money to get your teeth right back to where they were before they decided to become pearly traitors in your mouth. You didn’t end up marrying George Michael or David Lee Roth.

Winner: Split Decision                                                                                  Hopes and dreams: Fifth Grade    Marriage prospects: Forty-Five

This is how I see it thus far. I will, however, have about 12-18 months to attain a better appreciation for the differences. I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and it can not be said enough… PEOPLE, WEAR YOUR RETAINERS!

Mistakes were made


Brace Your Face! — 114 Comments

  1. Oh Lisa! I’m so sorry. I know that those can hurt A LOT!! I hope Ashley is there to give you Tylenol (or Vodka) and make you soft foods (ice cream!) and rub your head and put on your fav tv shows!! You deserve it. Boy am I glad I wore my retainer in second grade. Now I just have to get those pesky wisdom teeth out. Yep. I’m 38 and still have them. Not good.

    • I only ever had one wisdom tooth, not the traditional 4. I know there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’m not going to make it at my own expense. 😀

  2. Your fifth grade picture is cute…although it looks like the braces are so heavy, you have to support your head by putting your hand under your chin. Clearly braces are lighter now, so your head is able to support itself in the new picture. Winner: Forty-Five

    • Bwahahahahaha. Oh, man. I can hardly breathe from laughing so hard! That was the patented Olan Mills early 80s whimsical pose. I think my neck was glad for the break from all that metal mouth heaviness, though! 😀

  3. I never wore braces…you don’t want to see my teeth. Even talking about my teeth makes me uncomfortable. My dad doesn’t believe in braces. He should have. I thought about getting them recently but turns out I’m not as brave as you.
    You’re awesome! I’ll wait for the follow up photo and make a decision 🙂
    Totally depending on you for this one 😀 No pressure.

    • I’ll keep you posted, Xae. I will give you the honest rundown! I haven’t regretted the decision…yet!
      I think the worst part for me is that, at the end of this whole thing, I’ll only be back to where I was before—where I should have stayed before these stupid things started moving all round. That’s fine, but it’s hardly anything to get all excited about.
      BUT…having braces for the first time and getting your teeth all straight and lovely if you weren’t happy with them before…THAT would be way more awesome.

  4. Former braces girl here and yes I did wear my retainer, but not all the time, especially not at school. I remember leaving the house with it on popping it out and putting it int he case once my mom couldn’t see me and then returning it to my mouth from the case once I left school and would see my mom again. Seriously, I hated the braces back then and give you such credit for going through this twice, Lisa. Not sure I would ever go through this again myself.

    • Oh, I remember that trick, Janine. (I seem to remember pulling it with some outfits my mom didn’t like as well back in the day.) I remember thinking, “Oh, I’m really pulling something over on them! Hahah”. I guess my stupid teeth got the last laugh after all. 😀

  5. Okay – going to MAKE my current 5th grader read this!!! She actually had to have one set of braces already when she was in third grade to space her teeth out just so all her permanent teeth had room to come in. Orthodontist said she “may or may not” have to have another set depending on HOW said permanent teeth come in. A possible third set as an adult????? Yeah – she’ll be reading htis and wearing her retainer FOREVER!!!

    • Yes, Lisa! MAKE HER READ IT!! Use me as the cautionary tale!!! You better believe Bobby is MUCH more careful to use his retainer now. I’ll keep my fingers crossed she doesn’t need that second set!!

  6. I did wear my retainer but I think my teeth have shifted since then. But I don’t think a re-do is in my future. My youngest needs braces — I am going to make him wear his retainer forever!

    • Forever and ever, Michelle. As in…Bobby will be 38 with kids and a job and I’ll STILL be checking in periodically that he wears the stupid thing.
      Honestly, if it had just been the few gaps I would have just lived with them. When things started moving enough to affect my bite, I had no choice. UGH! BOO HISS!!

  7. Ooh, I feel your pain! (But remember, the pain does typically go away after a couple days, if I remember correctly…and at least you can number the pain with a nice cocktail or glass of wine. Much more fun option than tylenol, in my opinion) I had braces twice (though the first time only on five teeth). And while I religiously wore my retainer after that, I have an underbite that made an appearance after they got taken off. There’s nothing I could have done to avoid the underbite, unfortunately, and the only way to fix it is to have my jaw broken and repositioned. No thanks!

    • Ugh. I have sort of a cross bite that can’t be perfected without surgery, too…and NO WAY!!! But my cross bite sort of moved into something worse, and I had to dive in with braces because I appreciate the ability to chew.

      You’re so right. The first week was awful, but now I’m used to them. And you are SPOT ON…now I can at least have a glass of wine! Forty-five for the win! 😀

  8. Yes to the retainers. My dog ate mine (true story) and I got braces a second time, too, in my late twenties. Teeth can move a lot.
    This was so funny, Lisa! I wish you many comfortable braces days ahead. Good news about the wax – it always used to fall apart in my mouth. 🙂

    • Do you know why I totally believe your story with the dog…our dog, Daisy, has eaten Bobby’s retainer THREE DIFFERENT TIMES!!!
      Now, you might say, “Didn’t he learn from the first snack session or even the second to put his retainer in a safe place?” You’d think that would be the case, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately that is not teen boy logic.

      Retainers are expensive doggie treats at $150 a pop, let me tell you!!!

  9. Oh – I feel your pain. I had braces as an adult (never as a child though) and had to wear them for almost 3 years with power chains most of that time – good times for sure!! It did make me a little more empathetic when the boys got their braces (a little!!!).
    I hope the time goes quickly – now I’m off to dig my retainer out of the drawer!!

    • Another adult (even if former) braces wearer! You’re my people, Kim!!!
      Bobby had power chains at one point. GAH!! They sound awful. I feel so bad that I wasn’t nicer to Bobby when he complained. Sheesh. I’ve learned my lesson. Lucy will have it so much easier…AND FIND THAT RETAINER PRONTO!!!

  10. I had braces when I was a kid too, and I am seriously contemplating getting them again now at 32. Though I wore my retainer, my orthodontist just happened to be 175 years old and a little nutso. We actually sued him for malpractice because he took out four adult teeth and I have spent my whole life since then with four big holes in my mouth. Good luck Lisa! Did they give you a projected end date?

    • OH NO!!! What a horror story!!! I know back in the day they were all for pulling teeth. I had one pulled, but FOUR…what a nightmare!! Nowadays they don’t generally pull teeth at all, according to my orthodontist. Thank goodness! They say it will be 12-18 months. I am hoping to be his best patient ever and finish in 10. A girl’s gotta have a goal.

  11. I fear I’ll be there at some point too. I wore braces for 18 months as an adult, but lost my retainer during one of our moves and have never replaced it. I also thought invisalign thingies could take care of any shifting that may be occurring. Hmmm…thanks for the eye opener. Adorable pics by the way!

    • I bet if you take care of shifting when it happens at first Invisilign would work. Unfortunately, I was advised to do that 3 or 4 years ago, and I didn’t. I really thought my gaps were just cosmetic and, meh… who cares. Then they got bigger, and I had bite problems. By that point, I had to do the full metal mouth. Oh how I wish I’d done the Invisilign a few years ago!!! (Or actually just worn my retainer like I should have)

  12. Oh no! You know what’s scaring me? I SO need to go to the dentist. I’ve never worn braces but am starting to feel like I’m shifting. My teeth – whether I grind them or what – they hurt some. GAH! NOOOO!!!!

    But you look adorable either way. And sniffle on no invisalign. Sigh. Stupid retainers.

    Still? You? = super cute! Then and now. Draw!

    • Aw! You are so sweet!! That totally makes me feel better. I’d still go with 5th grade, though. I had sweet, sweet feathered hair and you can’t tell, but I’m sporting a one-piece shorts outfit. I couldn’t pull that off now. 😀

      Don’t be afraid of the dentist! If you need something, better to do it before it gets bad. If I’d done something 3 or 4 years ago, I wouldn’t have had to do the full metal mouth! Early intervention is the name of the game!! 😉

  13. BRACES SUCK! The memories of the pain still make me cringe. I will never forget staring at the sandwich my dad bought me the day I got my braces, unable to eat it and oh so hungry. Hey, at least juicing and smoothies are in now.

    • Oh, noooooooo!! I can totally sympathize! I didn’t eat much the first few days at all! The juicing would work as long as I didn’t get a piece of kelp stuck in my wires or something. 😀

  14. Oh ouch. While I’ve never had braces, I’ve heard they can be so painful. I’m sorry you have to go through all of that again!

    I have one crooked tooth in my mouth that I would love to get fixed, but I’m afraid the answer might be a mouthful of metal braces. I’m just not sure if I can handle that for one stupid tooth!

    • I bet your one little crookety tooth is adorable. I wouldn’t go through all of this for one little tooth. Honestly, I wouldn’t do it for my few gaps either. I’m not quite that vain, but then my bite when nuts and it had to be done. Blergh. But one little cute crookety tooth—I’d keep it in a heartbeat! 🙂

  15. Awwwww poor boo boo! Hope it stops hurting soon and they let you wear those colored rubber bands on your braces (do they still do that?) to coordinate with your outfits. I never had braces but both of my kids did (can ya say $$$$). And BTW – you do NOT look 45 🙂

    • Oh…YES!!!!! In fact, some of my braces are fitted with these midievil torturous looking hooks that I think are for rubber bands. I will get some clear ones for when I need to be a grown up…but I’ve already promised Ashley that I’ll totally rock some bright pink and other colors for everyday wear.
      Thank you for saying I don’t look 45!! You’re the best!! I recently asked an adorable 5 year old how old I looked . Her verdict 50 or 55. That’s when I stopped asking anyone how old I looked. 😀

  16. Hahah at least at 45 you can look at the whole thing in a funny way.

    I feel like a lot of kids were bummed out about having to have braces and couldn’t laugh about it. 🙂 Another point for 45.

    (Personally, I loved my braces because I had an overbite and a diastema and I just never, never liked my smile. As soon as the braces went on, like day one, I felt better. Like, ok guys, situation under control, just working on the ol’ teeth, no biggie.)

    Another point for 45 – when you’re ten, two years is 20% of your entire existence. You can only remember after, what, age 4 or 5? So 2 years in that case is like a third of your life. As an adult, it’s just a drop in the bucket!

    • I do have a better perspective on the passage of time and life in general…not to mention that I’m more comfortable with myself and my metal mouth at 45 vs 5th Grade! Old ladies rule!!! Whoo Hoo!!!

  17. OHMYGOSH!!!!! You are so dang ADORABLE!!!! Seriously, I kept looking at your pictures and I have never really looked ‘closely’ at your face and WOWZAH!!! You are PRECIOUS!!! Where are the wrinkles you speak of? You seriously look like you are in your twenties… and now with the braces and all- you could easily pass for high teens, perhaps held back a few years. 😉

    LOVED this. SO hilarious!!! Oh, and your teeth look better than mine ever did. What’s with that? They look perfectly straight and pearly white!!! Where’s the gaps? Ooooh… you’re just so cute I wanna squeeze you!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO….

    • Okay. That does it. Why do you not live here in Charlotte, my friend? Or why don’t I live in Ohio?! Something’s got to be done. Either way, but one of us has got to move pronto. I need more Chris Carter in my world. Period!! 🙂
      I haven’t felt this good since I was asked to the Senior Prom as a sophomore. (I went with a plum colored dress and big 80s hair. It was fantastic)
      I assure you that nobody without severe cataracts would ever think I was anything less than one day younger than 44 3/4, but you have no idea how fantastic your sweet words have made me feel tonight! 😀 LOVE YOU CHRIS!!!

  18. OMG…the memories babe…I had braces for nine years…I even had the built in retainer with key that my parents had to turn each night to elongate my top jaw…it was horrible. Now at 37 my teen are straight, but are slowly bending into to my mouth because my jaw is still not straight…all that money. I might need breaces soon.

    I think you look so cute with braces…but I think as a mom it stinks that we have no one to care for us.

    • Oh, I’ve heard about those key turning things. They sound like a damn nightmare. And braces for NINE YEARS?! Oh, Karen!! That’s the worst!! I hope you don’t need braces again. That would just be SO unfair!!

      It’s true we moms have nobody to tuck us in and be the caretaker, but we always have wine at the end of the day! 🙂

  19. Hi! Just discovered you through my blogging pal Mo over at Mocadeaux. Love your site. Anywho, on to the bracing issue at hand. Love the comparison of today with fifth grade. Good on you to go for it at 45. I agree with Robin J. that at that age time is just a “drop in the bucket!”
    I, too, had a retainer (yes, grade 5!) which I managed to leave behind in a balled up kleenex on the top of the chest of drawers in our Hawaiian hotel. Oops.

    • You know, I think I would have happily sacrificed my retainer to be in beautiful Hawaii!! That seems like a fair trade, Kelly! 😀 Thanks so much for stopping by. I love Mo!!

  20. This is interesting, I was wondering if new braces were less painful. The worst pain I’ve ever had was when I got braces 100 years ago. I remember I couldn’t even eat toast. This includes a spinal tap I also had 100 years ago. I guess back then there wasn’t pain medication for children.
    One of my bottom teeth has slipped and I vaguely think about getting it fixed but after reading this fuhgeddaboutit.

    • Orthodontic technology has totally improved, but I hate to report that the tooth pain involved has not changed one bit. It’s kind of a nightmare (but at least now I can purchase my own liqueur so there’s that). I’d say definitely fugeddaboutit!!! 😀

    • Well…to be honest….I STILL have pimples, too. GAH!! Pimples, wrinkles, grey hair, and braces. Forty-five is hard, Kate.

  21. They are pretty invisible, don’t look bad at all, Lisa. Seems like you should have gotten some pain medication, even if you would no longer be able to function around the house. Really funny that you wanted to marry George Michael, must have been sad when you found out about his, er, lifestyle.

    • Thanks, John! That porcelain top row is awesome. (well, as awesome as gum gouging orthodonture can be) I was devastated when I found out I didn’t stand a chance with George Michael. I guess I have all my hopes pinned on David Lee Roth now.

    • Thanks, Shashi! I think the porcelain ones are more obvious in person, but in photographs they can sort of disappear. YAY! Of course, if you have a big chunk of lettuce stuck in a wire you’re outed yourself as a brace face either way! 😀

  22. Oh my, I am SOO sorry. I need to go back and have mine done as well. I didn’t wear my retainer either…ugh. I laughed out loud with your braces and acne, and braces and wrinkles. That was too funny! You look good in the new braces btw. 🙂

    • Aw, thanks Jennifer! You’re so sweet. Braces and wrinkles is an irresistible combination, aren’t they?! 😀

  23. I needed them as a kid and never got them, so I guess that means I still need them. I’ve told Frances that it’s likely I’ll get them before she has to go through it, so that was a bit of comfort…to HER! I’ll keep an eye on your journey before I take the plunge myself!

    • I’ll give you the lowdown, Rabia!
      I will say, I will be WAY more sensitive when Lucy gets them. I feel awful I wasn’t more understanding for Bobby. This is his payback! 😀

  24. You still look gorgeous!! Sorry for the pain and the flashbacks taunting you of cold dessert treats. I have one more bit of advice from my experience with my decade of metal mouthness: If they offer you a permanent retainer for your bottom teeth…TAKE IT!! I had a permanent one in for years, basically b/c either I went to college and forgot to get it taken out or my orthodontist died…I can’t really remember. BUT, when I did finally have the sucker taken out after wearing it for 5 yrs my teeth went back crooked on the bottom. Bleh. But good luck with yours!

    • YES, YES, YES, Stacey!
      Bobby has that permanent retainer thing on his bottom teeth and the regular clear one for the top teeth you have to wear each night. I am DEFINITELY taking the permanent one if they offer it to me. In fact, I will BEG for it if they don’t offer it. I can’t be getting braces again in another 35 years. No 80 year old deserves that.

  25. Oh, man! Ouch!! To starting that process all over again.
    Here’s hoping Ashley can make you soft foods aka pasta and liquids (wine to go with that!

    • If only, Khloe! But she might take me for a Starbucks (as long as I don’t mind her Ryan Gosling Mini Bust coming along too)

  26. I love the side by side pictures. I’m sure the 12-18 months will go by quickly. Maybe you can get your family to buy you a Blizzard or two in that time. Probably not, but we can hope right? I think you look cute!

    • Aw, thanks Jennifer. I don’t know if I can get the family to get me a Blizzard, but this time around I have my driver’s license so I can just head there myself!! 😀 Forty-five has its advantages.

  27. Ouchy, don’t they have those new invisible braces now I always wondered if they truly worked like the metal ones. I have not seen braces on anyone in a while.

    • I think the Invisilign works for many people, but you can’t have the problems I have. RATS!! You can’t even tell people have the newest Invisilign on. It is amazing looking. Wish I could have had it!!

  28. oh my gosh! You look cute in both pictures 🙂 I know that pain of braces and honestly I would fight tooth and nail (get it?!) if I had to do it again. But alas, my teeth have definitely shifted and I might need to start some treatment again soon. I can’t even imagine what it is like having to take care of the family with all kinds of adjusting pains going on! At least you are still fabulous!!

    • You are too kind, Nellie! My advice is do it earlier rather than later if you do need something done. If you catch it early you might get to have Invisilign…which would be 100% better than a full metal mouth!

  29. You are the cutest brace face I’ve ever seen! Sorry you have to go through this. You should definitely indulge in LOTS of ice cream. I had oral surgery several years ago to get dental implants. Long story but apparently my mom didn’t drink enough milk when she was pregnant with me and I was missing a few permanent teeth. My baby teeth started to fuse to my jaw bone, so they had to rip them out (yes, rip. I needed a bone graft on one side) and stick some wicked looking screws into my jaw. I have one helluva an x-ray now! And I totally made my husband bring me milkshakes while I was hopped up on pain killers.

    • Oh, Nicole!! Your implant saga sounds excruciating! Ripping out teeth from your jaw and needing a bone graft?! Oh, my eyes are watering just reading that. You poor thing!!!! You deserved those milkshakes!

  30. Lisa! They actually look great! I can’t believe the changes they’ve made. Recently, Kayleigh got them on and I was like, what!!!!??? The wire is so THIN!!! Your teeth are going to look amazing in no time! Milk it for the DQ, for sure! And this post was hil-ar-i-ous!

  31. Crap! I need to find my retainer. And Nico needs to read this. That kid never does anything he’s supposed to. I wish I lived by you so I could bring you a smoothie or milk shake. Mouth pain is the worst.

    • Hahahahahahahaha. Oh, AnnMarie! Bobby is the same way! My tale of woe has made him turn over a new leaf, though. Find your retainer pronto, girl!!! 😀

  32. I read this post and I am going to attempt to forget it because my retainer went in the door and out into the trash and I know my teeth are totally crooked again. I can’t handle braces again! No!
    However, yours really do look much better than what I remember mine looking like in junior high.

    • The porcelain makes all the difference, Jean. I have side by side pictures to prove it! 😀 But yes…just forget all of this. We’ll just pretend this never happened.

  33. I did wear my retainer..but I never knew when to stop. I wore it until I moved in with Cassidy in San Francisco. So I figure..that was over a decade! No one ever told me what to do after. Ahhh! How long? What do I do???

    Anyway. You have a nice attitude about this. Please tell me you can still eat the good kinds of candy?

    • Sad to say…candy is mostly off my list these days due to Weight Watchers…but I can cram some chocolate way back there and chop softly if I’m in a real bind.

      I’ll tell you. When this is over I’m never EVER quitting on my retainer. I’ll be the only one at the retirement village popping that baby in each night.

  34. I literally wore my retainer (an Invisaline type dealio) for years after my braces came off (I was 15 or 16 when I got my braces, wore them 10 months and then the retainer (at night only) until I was nearly 30). The only reason I do not wear it any more is because it cracked and got ruined, and I don’t have the money to get another one. Thankfully, it appears that my teeth are still straight or moved only slightly. I definitely don’t want to do braces again, though! Best of luck to you, Lisa!

    • Bobby has that exact same top retainer, Julie! (Our dog keep eating it…lovely). I’m so glad your teeth aren’t moving! I hope your pearly whites stay put right where they are supposed to be!!

  35. My daughter is feeling smug right now. She’s had her braces off for over two years and she wears her retainer every single night. Sorry you had to slap those braces back on. On a separate note, I have a picture of me and my sister in front of that exact same background from your 5th grade photo. That made me laugh!

    • I’m proud of your daughter!! GOOD FOR HER!!! Keep it up!! I think we all have Olan Mills to thank for that lovely background (or was it Sears? Either way) I bet you and your sister rocked it!!

  36. Ugh…I still have the scars from braces from 6th through 9th grade. Recently my dentist told me that they no longer use head gear either. Kids these days have NO IDEA what discomfort is until they’ve had their cheeks gouged out by hooks attached to their teeth and a metal wire wrapped around their head at night. *Sigh* Rant over. Like you I was no good at wearing my retainer, and there’s definitely some crowding that’s happened. At least you can’t see them very well these days. Plus, you really know better about all the things NOT to do so you can actually have them off in 12-18 months instead of 2 – 4 years!

    • OMG…THE HEAD GEAR!!! I totally had the head gear back in the day for sleeping, too. UGH. Until you mentioned it, i had totally forgotten about the head gear! I must have blocked it out of my mind. It was the WORST. You’re so right!! Things are so much better now!

  37. Oh, goodness. I have to say (and I’m sorry) better you than me. I’m not sure I would have even gone through it. I wore my braces for four years like you so to think of doing it all over again is just horrid. I’m not sure there is a “winner” in this case. Although the time seems a lot shorter so that’s a good thing!

  38. I had ONE follow up appointment with my orthodontist back in middle school, where he asked me if I was wearing my retainer…except he had never given me a retainer – and never did! I imagine my smile is migrating, but I have no proof, and it’s definitely not the pre-braces freak show it was, so… Meh, oh well.

    • If you haven’t noticed anything, I’m sure you are totally fine! I wish I had done something the minute I saw the gaps opening up about 10 years ago. It was totally obvious that it was happening and I just ignored it. If I had taken care of it then, I bet it would have just been a little thing. Oh, well. Lesson learned. I’m going to be a retainer girl from here on out!!

    • Aw! You’re so sweet!
      Yes!! Make sure your stepdaughter learns from my tale of woe, Leah!! (and she and I can commiserate when we get our braces tightened)

    • SO true!! I did have the headgear the first time around, so this is MUCH better, I have to say. That was miserable. Good for you for never needing braces!! Whoo Hoo!!

  39. My mouth hurts for you, remembering my years in braces. You are so adorable, and having braces must make you look at least a decade younger, so lucky you!! You don’t have acne at 45? I’m 36, and have acne AND wrinkles.

    • Aren’t you the sweetest! I don’t know if they make me look any younger, but the glare from the metal does detract attention away from my wrinkles!
      Unfortunately, I certainly do have pimples, too…but not as many as 5th grade. I just went with the overwhelming dermatological force in play on my face for the comparison 😀

  40. Oh no! Sorry to laugh at your pain but that was a funny post! Haha. I wore a retainer for YEARS! It sucked. Plus it had those little fangs in them to keep the tongue back. Once it broke off and pierced my tongue. Fun!

    • WHAT??!!! That is AWFUL!!! I’ve not heard of the retainers with fangs!! (I am making a mental note to beg to not have that kind) So you had a tongue piercing before tongue piercings were cool? You’re a trendsetter!! 🙂

  41. The only cure for my teeth now is to have them all pulled. Basically because a military dentist did not know what he was doing when he removed my teen braces and cracked the enamel on my all my teeth. I didn’t know this until years later when my teeth began chipping and breaking literally where the glue had sat upon my teeth for the braces. I am a huge chicken and hate my teeth but the thought of being put under to have them all pulled is more terrifying. The same nimrod also made my retainer. I had a tongue thrust that forced my teeth forward so the retainers were made with huge metal spikes. The top one had them pointing down behind my front teeth and the bottom on had them going backwards behind the teeth towards my tongue. In theory the idea was to ‘stab’ my tongue when I would unconsciously lay it on my teeth or push against my top front teeth. I would wake up with the retainers poking me in the face. I guess my mouth said umm no and popped them out after the first stab or two.

    • Oh, Southern Angel…this is just heartbreaking. I can’t believe this happened to you!! I’m so sorry! I would be too afraid to have them pulled, too. 🙁
      I think your mom was right to throw out that torture advice.

  42. I didn’t wear my retainer (sigh) and I could use braces again too. I heed your message – but a little too late. I may wind up with the metal back in my mouth in my 40’s as well. Gorgeous photo of you Lisa! (the 45 yr old one – you’re a hottie, girl!) Just gorgeous!

  43. I feel your pain! I had braces in my early 20s while I was in nursing school. I would have patients ask me “are you old enough to be a nurse?” lol! I actually had an adult tooth in the roof of my mouth and had to have oral surgery. They put a bracket and chain on that tooth and over time they pulled that tooth to the correct spot and then pulled it down. Every time they tightened the chain, I thought I would DIE. It was awful! But well worth it!! Time will go by fast and they will be off before you know it!!

    • PULLED IT DOWN WITH A CHAIN INTO THE CORRECT SPOT??!! GAH!! That sounds awful!!! I feel like I want to die just reading that, Stephanie. I totally have it easy!!

    • Oh, Crystal!! You are my favorite person ever!!!! There is nobody confusing me for a young person (unless they forgot their glasses…and are also drunk …and have their eyes closed…even then…doubtful) 😀

  44. my classmate’s dad who was an orthodontist used to joke, “i need a new rolex, i mean, you really need braces.” i totally relate with this post since i had braces for 5 years when i was a kid: 8th grade and all throughout high school. i had to beg to get them taken off in time for graduation portraits.

    • Bwahahaha. I think I am going to push my kids to be orthodontists!! I need them to be able to support me in my old age.

  45. Just found your site – how are the braces going now that you’ve had them about four months? If it helps, I had braces (traditional ones) at 53 and I’m *so* glad I did. I, too, had teen braces (six years – and they did take out four teeth but you’d never know it, my mouth is so small). They also gave me a choice: retainer forever or four wisdom teeth removed; guess what I took. Had no idea that my teeth would move and a big gap show up (as well as TMJ bite problems). Anyhow, this second round did the job perfectly, my bite is so good that the TMJ is 99% gone, and I love my smile. I did find the eating a challenge, though (as did my three teen daughters when they had their turns), so we came up with recipes, tips and every other hint we could figure out. Hope you’ll visit my site and find something to help, though you’re probably a pro by now. BTW, I had to stick with clear (vinyl) elastics – was bummed I couldn’t do color but found out the hard way how allergic I am to latex – can we say chipmunk?! So, good for you and best wishes. Post how you are doing!

    • I didn’t know teeth would just move around on you either! They never tell you that! I’m so glad you’re happy with your braces. I’ll admit when I got my first “power chain” and rubber bands I was less than thrilled, but that combo has made *such* a big difference. It’s amazing how much better my teeth and bite are looking. I’m so glad you’re thrilled with your results. I am pretty sure I will be too, and this all of this will be well worth it! Can’t wait to visit your site!!

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