What it’s like to… wear braces in your 40s

Extreme macro close up of open human mouth showing stainless steel braces.

Braces are something we’re used to seeing on teenage girls. But why, at the age of 48, did I decide to get metal wire attached to my upper and lower teeth?

Extreme macro close up of open human mouth showing stainless steel braces.I guess it’s something I’ve always wanted to get done. As I’ve aged I’ve noticed my jawline has certainly started to narrow. But when I saw the photos the dentist had taken, I realised that both my upper and lower jaw were much worse than I’d realised.

So on the dentist’s advice, I decided to straighten the whole lot.

I’m now a year into the teeth-straightening process, and I’ve picked up some hints and tips along the way.

If you’re thinking about having the procedure done – and believe me, you won’t regret it – here’s what you need to know:

Do your research. Visit a couple of orthodontists to get price comparisons and find someone you like. You’ll be spending quite a lot of time over the coming year in the dentist chair so you need to feel comfortable. (I’ve felt I’m never away from the surgery. In fact, I’m there so often,  they asked me to appear on their video for their new website).

Prepare to commit some time. You’ll have appointments blocked in your diary for regular intervals so you’ll need to check if you can get time out of work, or may need to book the occasional half day off.

Be brave. Yes, it’s going to hurt at times!  However, it’s only usually painful when the dentist carries out regular tightening by changing wires or elastics.

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Invest in dental wax.  I had never heard of this before but it really works. Stick small pieces on rough edges and ends of wires so you don’t catch the inside of your mouth with them – it can cause mouth ulcers if you do.

Always carry a pack of toothpicks/brushes.  Food seems to get everywhere and, even if someone else can’t see it, you’ll feel it in between your teeth or stuck behind the wire.  Amazon is a great place to buy multipacks as they can be quite expensive from supermarkets/chemists.

Photo of author's teeth before braces

Sally’s teeth before

You can also get boxes to pop inside your handbag. Invest in a few and leave them inside your different bags, desk drawer, car etc – you never know when you’ll will need them but you can bet it’s when you don’t have any to hand.

Expect people to look at your mouth when they’re talking to you. Some people don’t want to actually comment on the braces but are happy to spend an entire conversation having a good look!

Prepare to skip highly coloured food such as curries and red wine. Yes, it’s okay to eat them but they can leave stains which are really hard to get rid of.

Photo of author's teeth after braces

Sally’s teeth…getting there!

Make sure you wear your retainer after the braces have been removed.  Don’t go through all this for your teeth to move back and have to start all over again.

I’m about to have my bottom brace removed and can’t wait to see the results. Just a bit of work on the upper jaw and then the dentist will do the finishing touches of filing to level off the teeth and some small cosmetic work which he assures me will complete the job.

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Straight teeth… here I come!