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My Best Beauty Investment {Ever}

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

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

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea

68 thoughts on “My Best Beauty Investment {Ever}

  1. My dental history, although good, is also a bit out of the ordinary. While all my friends were having teeth removed because of over-crowding, or having braces installed, I was having endless x-rays to see if any of my missing (!) teeth were going to make an appearance and if my four (!!) remaining milk teeth were going to fall out – which they haven’t.

    I’ve also got very small teeth – my adult teeth aren’t much bigger than milk teeth (although you can definitely tell in the x-rays – the roots are massive in comparison!). And because I’m missing teeth, I have quite a gappy layout – I can fit the tip of my tongue between the gap in my top front teeth..!

    I was asked as a teenager if I wanted a brace to close the gaps, but was warned that if I went down this route, I would eventually need to invest in veneers to complete the gaps that would form at the back my mouth. This seemed a rather expensive option considering I didn’t (and still don’t) have a problem with my unique predicament!

    Thankfully, aside from the above, I’ve never had any dental problems. No fillings/toothache/root canal… No wisdom teeth either. So small, gappy teeth seems like a small price to pay in comparison!

    1. Hi Jo, goodness that is a unique predicament! gaps are better than overcrowding (should you have to have either!) in terms of being able to look after your teeth so that’s a plus. I like front tooth gaps on others, mine were very crossed before I had them fixed x

    2. I had/have this, it’s called hyperdontia where the adult teeth never form and the baby teeth either fuse to the jaw or fall out and are never replaced or the roots disappear and they just get wedged in. I had braces at 21 to fix this mostly to prolong the life of my teeth. Closing the food trap gaps and making them easier to clean!

  2. Hi Charlotte, I too went down the braces route before my wedding. I have always had a slight overbite which my childhood dentist kindly pointed out (I was in blissful ignorance before that!) I refused a brace when younger being a self concious teen and so had to fork out a small fortune pre-wedding. My dentist fashioned a bespoke and very discreet brace using small pegs as clear bands. It hurt like hell but I was thrilled with the results and it gave me much more confidence on my big day and still does. A worthwhile investment for sure! X

    1. Hi Louise! I sure smiled a lot on my wedding day, bet you did too πŸ™‚

      It does hurt – especially after an appointment to “tighten” them (!) x

  3. Oh Charlotte. This has struck a chord with me! I fretted for months about whether or not to get braces before our wedding – then left it too late because I allowed the guilt of the expenditure to stop me from doing it. I find myself still wanting those lovely straight teeth but we now have a mortgage and bubba on the way! Was the fixed retainer an added extra or do most orthodontists fit them as standard? X

    1. Hi Laura, a retainer is part of the “package” price, so is a certain amount of aftercare. My retainer lasted 5 years before it’s needed replacing and simple “repairs” have always been free. Perhaps something to consider again after the baby arrives – I’m sure you’ll have enough to think about and enjoy in the meantime x

  4. I had braces when I was 14 – literally the worst thing for my teenage anxiety. I even (and this was truly traumatising) had to wear a head brace… a fabric/metal strap contraption I had to wear every night after school and overnight (I had a four baby teeth with no adult teeth behind them so had big gaps that needed closing). Needless to say, sleepovers were out of the question. Despite all this – and years of removable braces and now a fixed brace on my upper teeth – I absolutely do not regret having a brace at all. I do also have an invisalign retainer which I am meant to wear every night but not sure my husband would always appreciate that! Interestingly, my Mum who has just turned 60 decided to have full train tracks last year to straighten out her front teeth which she’s had a complex about since forever and even though she will still have them for another year or so, I know she doesn’t regret her choice – if anything regretting leaving it this long! Definitely, the best beauty investment. Xx

    1. Ashley – kudos, a headbrace is hardcore. I’m so glad you feel it’s all been worth it. Your Mum sounds ace, I see more and more older folk with braces, and why not?! it’s never too late to make yourself feel better x

  5. Hi Charlotte, like you I paid to have braces fitted as an adult. I had it done a few years before I got married – I wasn’t engaged at the time, but I was SO glad I did it before our wedding day. It did cost a small fortune, but it’s the best money I ever spent and I don’t regret it at all. I had full-on train tracks top and bottom, which I thought would look hideous but it’s surprising how quickly you get used to them and I only had to have mine for 11 months. I didn’t get a permanent retainer fitted afterwards, but I do still wear a plastic one at night (it actually broke last month and I’m waiting for an appointment to get a new one). I really think there’s no point in paying all that money without doing everything you can to make sure your teeth stay straight! If I hear that anyone is considering braces, my advice is always ‘do it, you won’t regret it’ – the relatively brief amount of time you wear them for is nothing compared to the confidence you get from having a nice straight set of pearly whites!

    I also had my teeth whitened directly before our wedding and have kept the trays so I can get more gel from my dentist when I need to. I’m probably due another round as we’ll have been married 3 years in October – where does the time go? I agree that you should never entertain teeth whitening from anyone other than a qualified dentist, and it’s not any more expensive anyway.

    Like you, I’m fanatical about dental hygiene and carry floss with me everywhere! I’m currently in the market for a new electric toothbrush and have heard great things about the Philips Sonicare – it’s pricey but it’s meant to be really good. If any RMS readers have used one I’d be really interested to hear what you thought! x

    1. Hi Tracy! I use a Sonicare πŸ™‚ they are the best apparently. Mine has two different settings for a normal clean and a um…”deep clean”?! I use the latter obviously.

      When I wore the full on train tracks a few weeks ago my friend Kelly was like “Oh my Gosh, they make you look eighteen!!!”

      Perhaps I should have kept it on? πŸ™‚

  6. You have beautiful teeth Charlotte – so worth it!
    I had train track braces as a teenager and a retainer that I used for a while before my Mum accidentally threw it away(!), my teeth have moved but it doesn’t bother me too much. One thing I do think constantly about doing though is having them bleached so would be very interested to hear more about that. What percentage are the gels that you use? The thing is, I want to have them done but I know I won’t be satisfied unless they are REALLY white with a very noticable difference, but I’m pretty sure it just depends on your teeth how much whiter they go?

    1. Hi Lauren, it does depend on your teeth, the percentage of the bleach concentration and how long you wear the trays for. Your dentist should show you a “scale” of whiteness on your initial consultation, you then say what shade you wish to achieve and they advise accordingly.

      I tend to use 10% for 14 consecutive nights as it’s quite gentle. You can have 16% though and even 22% I believe, It depends on how sensitive your gums are – mine can be quite delicate x

  7. I had so many appointments with my dentist before my wedding to talk about options of braces and veneers but in the end I didn’t go ahead with a brace as I would not have had enough time. I was very nearly talked into composite veneers but pulled out at the last minute – so glad I did! In the end I whitened my teeth (with products from my dentist) ahead of the wedding and it did make a big difference. I have been paranoid about my teeth for years but funnily enough people were complimenting me on my ‘lovely teeth’ after just the whitening. There are only a few wedding pictures where I notice my teeth not looking amazing but that is me nit-picking. I would love to have nice straight teeth so I think I will do a bit of saving and discuss ‘investment’ options again at my next check up.

    1. Hi Claire, veneers are very expensive and you have to be quite careful with what you eat. My husband has two veneers in the front and he’s constantly worried about damaging them! they look great but nothing can beat your own teeth x

  8. One of my best friends recently got some braces (at the age of 30) and she’s been having a nightmare with them (every time they have to tighten them she can’t eat anything solid for a week) – but I’m soo impressed with her determination. I 100% agree with you, Charlotte, there is no better investment than in your smile! I think that makes the biggest difference when you meet someone. Look at Cheryl Cole! πŸ˜‰

    I also think there are some things that are important enough to you on a personal level that they’re worth the money. My best school friend had ears that stuck out slightly and she had them pinned back before her wedding (at great expense) because they made her so completely miserable. My battle is my eyesight – I’m determined to get rid of my contact lenses before my big day which is going to cost more than my dress but these things have to be done! πŸ˜‰

  9. I didn’t have braces but I do have malformed enamel on my teeth, which led to lots of erosion and horrible looking teeth. I spent quite a lot of money *cough* and have ended up which the entire front of my mouth being made up of crowns. Worth every penny, I used to put my hand over my mouth when I smiled and I now confidently grin.

    I am considering braces for my bottom teeth, which are a bit higgldy-piggledy. I just haven’t bitten the bullet (ha!).

  10. Hi Kate, I would love my eyes done too (they are gradually deteriorating) as wearing lenses everyday does get quite uncomfortable (even though I pay a premium for some of the better “let oxygen in” type)

    I’m sure Cheryl Cole just won some award for best teeth in the world or something?!

  11. I too suffered from a small gob and too many teeth, aged 16 i had 4 taken out and train tracks put in, did i mention this was the same year my eyesight got so bad i had to wear (totally untrendy) glasses, and also was suffering from bad skin, all at the time when all you have on your mind is boys, ahh, bad times! My teeth though went from crowded and crooked to straight and neat in 12 months and i got fitted with a removable brace for night times, except said brace proper knacked big time, and during my sleep i’d (not conciously) pull it out and wake up most mornings to find it imprinted into my back…therefore a few years later and my teeth were back to wonky…and still are. I cant afford adult braces and i cant bring myself to wear the train tracks again and so its a life of crookedness for me, but i figure its not so bad, when i think of all the man crushes i have, most of them have wonky knashers…jarvis cocker, bowie (back in the day before he fixed them) ..and so i just hope that wonky teeth are endearing on women too..until i get old and get a fabulous pair of falsies haha

      1. My poor grandad wore them for over 30 years of his life and it was only in the last few that he started moaning that all meat was too tough and he was giving up eating it…took us years to figure out it wadnt the meat, it was his falsies being so old!

  12. I hear you Charlotte! I was lucky enough to be able to have my teeth done via NHS, dread to think what it would have cost otherwise.
    I had an impacted canine tooth (growing down from middle of my palate!) so had an op for that and then it was pulled forwards. Then I had another two ops after that, followed by 3 years of braces and then retainer. I still catch myself putting my hand in front of my mouth when I laugh (old habits die hard!) but as my Mom is also a dentist, I got them bleached once the brace was off and am so happy with my gnashers now! I tell everyone having a brace was one of the best things I ever did in terms of boosting my own self confidence etc. anyone thinking of getting it done, go for it!

    1. I used to do that too Rhiannon, there are very few pictures of me before I was in my early twenties where you can see my teeth at all! x

  13. Love this post, I has braces at 21, when I was a self conscious 16 year old I was given the choice (I said no of course!!) but when I was 21 I felt confident enough to rock it out!!

    You mentioned bleaching your teeth once a year, getting the materials from the dentist. Do you have more info on this? Does the dentist do it, and what is the procedure/cost roughly? Xx

    1. My Orthodontist actually did my last lot – it was Β£200 for moulded trays and the appropriate amount of bleach. You go in to get the moulds “made” then collect them a few weeks later (and to ensure fit) then off you go with your bleach tubes to apply overnight for a couple of weeks. Ta da! lovely pearly whites x

  14. Love this post, I has braces at 21, when I was a self conscious 16 year old I was given the choice (I said no of course!!) but when I was 21 I felt confident enough to rock it out!!

    You mentioned bleaching your teeth once a year, getting the materials from the dentist. Do you have more info on this? Does the dentist do it, and what is the procedure/cost roughly? Xx

  15. Glad I’m not the only one!
    I’ve always had a tooth that sits higher (my vampire tooth!) and over crowding, so there was no space for it to come down. I asked me dentist about braces last year at the age of 29!

    Two teeth removed, and I had fixed train tracks on my top teeth this year, fitted in March, after a couple of months wait as my orthodontist broke his hand! But already they have made a huge difference both to my teeth and confidence! It’s something I always wanted to have done and always said I wanted done before getting married so I would be happier with myself in the photos – I’ve always noticed nothing but the tooth in photos!

    14 months to go to our wedding and I can’t wait to have the teeth I always wanted…..

    1. You will just love them Debi! I do remember having my brace off and thinking “Gosh I didn’t realise my teeth were so….big?!” Ha ha!!! I got used to it though. Congratulations on your forthcoming wedding x

  16. I wore an upper brace in my late teens early twenties which was just great for starting uni!!! My baby eye teeth hadn’t moved at all so my adult eye teeth were getting ready to make their way through the roof of my mouth! It was a long, and honestly quite painful process as my baby eye teeth needed removing, the adult teeth were then ‘excavated’ and then pulled forward slowly but surely over a period of 2 years. Every time it was tightened, the following morning was sheer hell:- when I sat up out of bed my whole face and head would ache with the change of blood flow and pressure πŸ™ I still have dreams/nightmares where I’m wearing braces!
    In saying all that I’m glad it was done, I love my teeth and have had no other trouble with them (touch wood!). My bottom set are a little squint which has led to my uppers now moving slightly (I now obsess over the placement of my teeth and had a minor freakout just before my wedding nearly begging my dentist for a brace until he gave me a little perspective), I may consider a short term brace (much like yourself Charlotte, a cheeky 4 weeks seems nothing compared to 2 years!) just to re-set them. Will need to see how much this costs, but my dentist (Lansdowne Dental – Gareth McMorrow – best dentist in Glasgow if you ask me!) advised that I could wait to see what happens when I fall pregnant as teeth can move during pregnancy – if they move further he can do some work, but if I’m happy to leave them, so is he πŸ™‚

    1. It would definitely be worth asking about the short term fix Annie although I do think when it’s your teeth you notice it a lot more than others do. My orthodontist didn’t charge me for the train tracks at all, only the fixed retainer replacement. Also I didn’t know teeth move during pregnancy?! How did I not know this?! that probably didn’t help my situation either! x

      1. I know right!? Its something to do with the loosening of muscle tissue and the release of a particular hormone??? A nurse I work with had a terrible time with her teeth when she was pregnant :s Will defos be chatting with my dentist…in fact I think I’m due to check-up and clean!
        Good post, even though dental things creep me out its good to get other people’s advice and stories, I don’t think I would’ve coped with the head gear some of the other girls had to wear! Massive respect to them as I’m sure it was really tough :s

  17. So as a teen I had braces twice, yup TWICE!
    First time I had train tracks and like Ashley a head brace in evenings & weekends – urgh it really was the ugliest and most uncomfortable thing ever!
    My teeth came out the other end looking perfect! I had a clear retainer and then at my last orthodontist appointment my trainee orthodontist told me I didn’t need to wear the (gross) retainer every night! Cue much excitement from me and then………a year or two later finding my teeth had started to revert back! Argh!
    Luckily I was still at school and so off I went back to the orthodontist. This time I had the head honcho of the team who told me that I was told the wrong thing & should’ve always worn my retainer at night! Ooops!
    Anyway, luckily they agreed to give me train tracks again.
    Another year later & my teeth were back to being straight & I vowed to keep my retainer for as long as possible.
    And how are my teeth now? Well I don’t quite have the bugs bunny mouth I used to have as a teen but unfortunately they are by no means straight! πŸ™
    Would I have braces again? Probably – seeing my straight teeth the day my braces came off was one of my happiest days as a teen. But sadly this will have to wait until I am earning a lot more money or have won the lottery! haha xx

    1. Snap Rebecca, twice for me too. I remember seeing your wedding pics and thinking you had lovely teeth, maybe you think they have moved more than they actually have?

      My husband had the same issue with his retainer – he even asked for a fixed one and his orthodontist said No (!) They are not back to how they were pre braces but they have moved, he is going to book an invisalign consultation soon x

      1. Awww bless you! That’s really sweet of you πŸ™‚
        Yeah, maybe I am just more critical of them as I know how good they were! But I definitely know they are 10 times better than when I was younger, and am (very) slowly learning to love my body for all it’s quirks, including slightly big front teeth!
        The orthodontist said no?! How mean!
        It is frustrating when you go through all that pain when your younger for them to still change back slightly! Maybe it’s because you’re young & still growing? Who knows!

    2. I feel your pain Rebecca! I honestly thought I was the only person to have worn a head brace; the NHS should have run a head brace support group!! That whole “wear your retainer every night thing”, its just not practical really – especially when you see those pearly whites for the first time! xx

      1. They definitely should have! I was the same, had never seen or heard of anyone having to wear one except on cartoons!
        I even had to wear it to Guides a couple of times!!!! Eeek! Absolutely mortifying! haha!
        And yes, the retainer thing was nuts, plus it was pretty thin plastic from what I can remember and cracked far too easily! xx

  18. I had braces throughout my early teens (along with 6 adult teeth removed) and by the time I was 18, things had started to slip back again. Due to having a small mouth, and apparently a deformed jaw (?!) the only option to make them better would have been a head brace like Ashley above. However, i was just going to uni, and I knew there would be no way I’d wear it every night (clubbing in a head brace? I think not!). So I just left it. At the time, I was offered it on the NHS. Now in my late twenties, I decided to go back to the orthodontist to see if there were any new options. He recommended the head brace again, or train tracks with some minor surgery and pins put into my jaw to help pull it forward. Or a full on jaw break and realignment with invisalign. All these options came in at around Β£5000. He was very good, and basically said that if he was me, he’d be glad of the fact I have such good solid teeth, and put up with the fact that they are quite squint as he said I have a nice even smile, my deformed jaw is not disfiguring, and it would alter the shape of my face to have the surgery. All quite scary, so I agreed with him and put the money towards a new car instead! My teeth will always bother me, but when I consider the cost, changing my face shape and the potential pain, I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got an enjoy my new Audi!

    You have a beautiful smile Charlotte, worth every penny! x

    1. M-J I think your orthodontist sounds very honest and trustworthy, I’ve mentioned in a few comments on this thread that perhaps we see a lot more than anyone else ever would i.e. we think our teeth are wonky when they are possibly reasonably straight to begin with!

      Having a brace generally changes your face, I don’t know why there isn’t more info on that. I have a much more of a defined jaw/chin now which is much better, but I do wonder if some people don’t like the changes to their entire face, even though they may like the change to their teeth – if that makes sense. x

      1. Yes, I agree, we do tend to pick fault with ourselves and others probably don’t notice as much as we do. I think a change to my face wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing (although not disfigured, I do have a very obviously short bottom jaw, which can lead to some awful double chin photos!), it’s more the uncertainty of it that I don’t like. With the jaw breaking surgery option, I worry that it would change the look of my face entirely, and without knowing what I’d look like afterwards, that scares me a bit. At least with braces it’s more of a gradual change and likely to be less dramatic. Either way, I agree with many of the comments above, if it bothers you and you can afford it, then it’s a good investment as it’ll totally change how you feel about yourself. Interesting post, and it highlights how many other people are bothered by their teeth too, it’s not just me! x

  19. Hi Charlotte
    Thanks for sharing! Wheres the before and after pics lol

    I’ve just this week booked for adult braces. I have forever had crooked wonky horrid teeth despite having a plate brace as a teen.

    I have chosen a Damon partially clear brace for the top and good old traditional train tracks for the bottom. It will cost me Β£4200 and two years of my life!
    Have been hesitant but also excited I’m hoping my front teeth will make an initial quick improvement as I’m conscious the brace will make this area even more prominent.
    Also hoping they don’t cut my gums to shreds!
    Does it hurt at all having the brace applied!? I really dislike going to the dentist πŸ™

    1. Emma if I had some I would have shared them honestly! the truth is I don’t seem to?! I used to always have a closed mouth in pictures πŸ™‚

      Braces are not comfortable, the wax they give you definitely helps (especially at night) so make sure you apply it to the brackets if your skin becomes sore. Two years will seem like a long time but it will pass so quickly and it’s amazing how soon your teeth will move – the straightening you will witness will motivate you to put up with the discomfort, honest! x

  20. Glad I’m not the only one that has obsessed over teeth more than The Dress pre-wedding. Our wedding is in January and I started invisalign a couple of weeks ago. I left it a bit late, so will be 2/3 into the treatment (total 8 months) by the date of the wedding. However I’m also about to start using a machine called Acceledent, which basically vibrates your teeth and by doing so, speeds up how quickly you can move the teeth and have them re-set in the new position (that’s the untechnical explanation!). It can be used with all kinds of braces as well as Invisalign and can apparently cut the length of treatment by 50%. Some people also say it helps with the pain of putting in a new tray or getting braces tightened. It does sound pretty miraculous, so we’ll see – if it works, I’ll be thrilled to have nearly straight teeth come wedding day! When telling people I have Invisalign (most people don’t seem to notice until I tell them) I have had lots of people say ‘oh but your teeth are fine’ or ‘but your teeth are straight’ which made me realise I very rarely open up wide with a smile and show them. I look forward to feeling confident enough to do that. I went with Invisalign as I didn’t want the full on train tracks (people at work often think I’m younger and more junior than I am) but lingual braces (that sit behind your teeth) were more expensive.

    1. Hi Louise! good luck with it – invisalign are not noticeable at all. That machine does sound rather fabulous! 50% cut in time is great.

      I had the same reaction with my teeth from others – but it’s because I never showed them either!!!! x

  21. I’ve never bought of getting braces ever again but think this is down to having been a brace wearing teen. Small mouth and milk teeth that wouldn’t fall out led to me having over 21 teeth out so far. (Good gums apparently?!) my overcrowding meant my brace wearing experience was horrific. I had a head brace!! That is hardcore brace wearing especially as a teen wearing NHS specs!! They are moving but not sure I could relive those years again!

    1. Helen I’m sure you wouldn’t have to wear a head brace this time around – there are many options available x

    1. Thanks for the tip Kirsten! By looking at them you wouldn’t think they would be very effective?! I’m going to order some though! wearing bleach over night isn’t exactly a pleasant experience x

  22. I didn’t see a dentist from the ages of 11-22, after being petrified by my childhood dentist during a filling. Hence I missed out on all the freebie dentistry, and got left with a smile which I wasn’t ashamed of, but was never happy with.

    I started investigating orthodontic work, but at the time couldn’t afford it. Fast forward a few years later, and I decided to take the plunge. No it’s not cheap, but I agree with you Charlotte it’s the best investment I ever made. I didn’t realise how much work I actually needed doing until I had my consultation, where they identified problems with my midline and bite, as well as the obvious overcrowding. I went through 22 months of fixed ceramic uppers, and metal lowers, and now have a smile that I am proud of every single day. My husband proposed 14 months into my treatment too, so I had my perfect smile on my big day too πŸ™‚

  23. I am exactly the same! I have a retainer exactly like that and have done since I was twelve! I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

    My teeth were naturally so bad I couldn’t close my mouth, so when mine broke in November I instantly had them fixed. Even though it was Β£200 a month before Christmas… Like you I had to have a mini brace for three weeks to close the gap that had developed; needless to say I didn’t smile for the entire three weeks! Some teenage insecurities die hard.

    The funny thing is, having had my teeth straightened, when people meet me for the first time, they instantly assume I am American! As weird as it is I kinda take it as a compliment, it means the pain caused by the braces was definitely worth it, and it helps that the thing most people remember me for is my smile, so definitely my best beauty investment.

    And yes, I too store the tiny tepes everywhere, including my wallet, drives everyone insane when they explode out every time I go to pay for anything!

    1. Amelia I am one of those annoying folk who tell my friends off for not flossing daily. How can anyone not floss?! brushing only gets rid of half of the daily build up of plaque so there will be all sorts of nasties in between teeth that haven’t seen dental tape in a few weeks let alone ever!

      It makes me feel queasy just thinking about it.

      I buy the blue Tepe’s, Sometimes I use them after meals too…..x

  24. I had braces as a young teen, removable then fixed, but only on my top jaw. I also have a small jaw and too many teeth, but they looked ok afterwards.

    When I was 19 I kept waking up with a locked jaw, and got a referral to the TMJ clinic at the Manchester dental hospital, and they said it wasn’t my jaw joint causing the problem but that my jaw was wonky so they referred me over to the jaw surgeons. I had top and bottom metal train tracks put on at 20, then after a lot of very complicated and fiddly adjustments over around 3 years by my orthodontist I had my bottom jaw broken and fixed in a better position with titanium (all on the NHS too!). I’m very happy with my smile now, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend braces to anyone who wasn’t. Even with the jaw surgery, it was a small time cost to pay for something that made such a difference.

    1. And there was me thinking wearing braces twice was quite a feat, having your jaw actually broken?! Jeez Charlotte, you are so brave, and I’m so glad it was worth it. x

  25. uh i always seem to be a few days ‘late’ to the party – sorry!
    I am currently sporting beautiful train tracks (Aged 28) they are white ones, which make them slightly better.
    My little girl calls them mummy’s beautiful shiny teeth (i love that pickle so much!)

    This is my second round of treatment, having my first braces in the UK aged 14 and then having only a plastic retainer which broke and was never replaced, this time has been very different – paying for the experience in NZ means both my orthodontist and my (older)self seem to be taking much greater care in the results. Eating fruit is literally a military operation and curry – my go-to food is only allowed near my next appointment due to the potential discolouration of my wires and bands. HOWEVER they will be off early next year and my confidence levels are soaring every day. I have even inspired a few other colleagues to look into braces, it appears it is catching.

    I don’t think about the financial side of it all really. It is something i HAD to have done, i hated my teeth. Luckily my husband is very supportive.

    1. Hi Jess!

      It’s never too late πŸ™‚ It seems as though orthodontist treatment has moved on leaps and bounds since we were teenagers, thank goodness. Roll on next year eh?

      My husband was also very supportive having worn a fixed appliance himself, he did have to put up with me moaning after every appointment mind x

      1. I just had my wires changed on Monday morning (they don’t ‘tighten’ anymore! WIN) and i am still eating soft foods! It is Thursday evening now…. 4/5 more months togo!
        Did you ever book your holiday? We are off in 10 days! I can’t wait!!

        1. Hi Jess! Yes I did thanks – we booked two in fact πŸ™‚

          I’ll write a review on here soon, hope you have a lovely time!!!! x

  26. Like you Charlotte, I suffer from a very overcrowded mouth! I have one tooth in particular that is like a vampire fang that is often the butt of my sister’s jokes! I have been considering braces for over a year and I am now starting to save save save!! I should have got braces when I was younger but my baby teeth were very late in leaving my mouth so the vain teenager in me skipped out on the brace option – big mistake! It is very reassuring to hear that others are doing the same well into their 20s! and I really look forward to being able to look into my options in the future!!

    1. Hi Vanessa, the saving is worth it, I think once you have a goal is much easier – I don’t find general “saving for a rainy day” as simple πŸ™‚

      I know what you mean about having braces when you were younger but I do think the methods and end result are far superior these days, technology and equipment is so advanced x

  27. Hi everyone,

    Like Jess I’m a bit late to the party, and also like Jess I had some amazing work done on the NHS.

    I had fixed grey standard braces for 4 years whilst I was a teenager 14-18 in preparation for this jaw breaking business. Due to a really unfortunate genetic combination I’d inherited a big bottom jaw and a tiny top one, which I’d inadvertently masked by years of intensive thumb sucking (an orthodontist’s worst nightmare!).

    However by the time they’d straightened my teeth, my bottom jaw stuck out 12mm more than my top. Not sure if you can imagine it but hardly attractive at 17.

    I then had a similar operation to Jess, bottom jaw broken and made smaller, top jaw broken off, widened and stuck in further forward. Sound brutal, and was a bit but it enabled me to eat properly, gave me a whole load of confidence I’d never had before and I don’t regret it for a minute. All on the NHS and retainers for a year after to help keep everything straight.

    I now have a slightly squiffy incisor in the bottom but it doesn’t bother me too much!


    P.s I’ve just ‘taken up’ more regular flossing Charlotte-it makes such a difference!

    1. Bloody Hell Faye, what you went through sounds hardcore! It’s amazing what they can do these days. And this was clearly not just an aesthetic change but actually one in terms of eating properly that was really important for you.

      I like the floss “floss” rather than tape, I also rate Boots own brand – they often have 3 for 2 (Which is a good job as I buy it by the bucket load) x

  28. I booked my appointment a couple of days ago to go down the Invisalign route. I only have one tooth that needs correcting really (my upper right canine sticks forward and catches on my lip giving me an annoying lop sided smile that I’ve always hated). Will hopefully wear it for just a few months and then switch over to a permanent retainer behind the teeth. Then comes whitening. As a photographer I always feel sad when people say they hate their smile – I know exactly how they feel and even though I and other people may think their smile is ace, if you yourself hate it then it’s hard to smile naturally in front of a camera. So I decided to finally take action. Bye bye annoying pointy tooth of doom. Bring on the pretty smile!

  29. I have been thinking about braces for a few months and went for a consult yesterday, 12 months before my wedding. My upper teeth look fine to the un-trained eye but I have severe over-crowding on the bottom. Will need an extraction and braces top and bottom. The orthodontist said that they may just about be out before my wedding or worse case scenario I could have them removed the day before and put back on after the wedding at a cost of 500 euro!! I don’t know whether to get them or not because of the expense before our wedding. My fiance thinks it’s crazy as he thinks my teeth look fine (you can’t see my bottom teeth when I smile!) and feels that it’s a complete waste of money.. so now I’m still undecided! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  30. Hi Charlotte, I know this is a post from a while ago but I would love to ask you a few questions. I’ve just had a lingual brace fitted on my top teeth. I’m really struggling trying to speak properly with it on, any tips to help with this? Also, when the brace was removed did you speach return to normal right away or did you have to retrain your tongue to sit correctly? I’m finding the speaking and difficulty eating thing really tough and am almost thinking about having them removed already. Any tips welcome xx

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