A few weeks ago I noticed a few small gaps forming in-between a couple of my front teeth. I figured I must have damaged my retainer – a permanent ceramic and wire contraption I wear at the back of my upper and lower teeth since my braces were removed five years ago.
I booked in to see my orthodontist and it turns out my retainer needed entirely replacing, goodness knows how long it had been broken for. In fact, it had been out of action for so long the only way the gaps could be closed was to wear full on “train-tracks” across my top four teeth for a week and then have a new retainer fitted. Joy.
Wearing fixed braces is not particular comfortable. The experience can also make you rather self-conscious, depending on the type of brace you choose of course. All this aside, the decision to wear braces in preparation for my wedding and the associated expense was hands down my best beauty investment ever.
I have a very small jaw and thus suffered from over crowding. I first took the plunge with a fixed appliance when I was 21, I constantly admired anyone with a beautiful even smile and got to the point where I wanted the same. The result was a vast improvement on my crooked teenage grin but I wasn’t offered a permanent retainer and there was some movement over the following years.
Everyone wants to look their best for their big day and I was no different. Only I wasn’t as interested in the hair and make-up (!) aspect as much as I still desired those perfect pearly whites. Let’s lay cards on the table here – adult braces cost a small fortune. Mine cost more than my designer wedding gown, my bridesmaids dresses and possibly most of my honeymoon wardrobe put together. I saved and saved. And I did consider all of the alternative lovely things I could have incorporated in my wedding for the same amount. Despite all this it was still 100% my best beauty investment ever. Am I beginning to sound like a stuck record?
I chose a lingual brace for my upper teeth – the brackets and wire sit at the back so it is practically invisible. On my lower teeth I had a regular shiny silver number – considerably cheaper and I figured no-one would really see it anyway.
Altogether I wore the braces for just over twelve months. When they were removed I was super pleased with the results and received (and still do receive) many a compliment on my knashers. I’m not saying your teeth have to be straight to be attractive, gaps and slight overlaps can be cute and kooky. Neither am I suggesting we should all be part of some weird Hollywood identikit club where Simon Cowell is the leader but, no-one can deny an altogether whiter smile looks fresher, younger and prettier. It does. Fact.
Not only have I always been a stickler for impeccable oral hygiene (my Dad’s a dentist, it’s in my genes) but I sway towards the slightly obsessed end of the scale. After all that time and money my teeth better damn well look fabulous at least until I’m collecting my free bus pass. I use an electric toothbrush for two minutes twice a day (sometimes three times if I’m off out somewhere for the evening) floss every evening and use one of those mini “Tepe” interdental brushes most days too.
I bleach about once a year – using trays and a hydrogen peroxide gel (ALWAYS supplied by a dentist) and avoid red wine and fizzy drinks as much as I can (staining/cavity causing sugar overload). And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that not only does smoking kill and make you look haggard, it also makes your toothy pegs grey. Gross. Don’t do it. Ok?
As well as the can’t-see-it lingual option you may have also heard of invisalign. This involves a series of clear trays (not dissimilar to the bleaching version mentioned above) that you have changed every few weeks. From what I’ve seen they create great results and are almost imperceptible. Rock My Style’s Miranda wore them a few years ago – I honestly don’t think I even knew at the time.
For me personally this option wouldn’t have worked as invisalign are removable – I would have constantly been taking them out. And that leads me onto standard aforementioned “train track” style braces in general, they are not that bad at all. Really. And the year or so you have to accessorise with them passes in a flash – yet the results last a lifetime.
Have you ever worn braces? Was it the best beauty investment you ever made? Are you currently considering them?
My orthodontist was Alan Coley-Smith whom I would recommend should you reside in the Midlands area. Please feel free to ask any questions about my personal experience and berate me for storing dental floss in every handbag and coat pocket I own.
Photography by Source Images