Nearly 75% of all kids and teenagers need braces at some point in their lives. People need braces for a number of different reasons; the teeth could be crooked, too far forward, too far back, have too much space in between them and many more problems that might lead to needing orthodontic treatment.
There are also lots of different types of braces; the most common being fixed (train track) braces, twin block braces, Invisalign braces and lots more that are too many to name. Depending on the condition of your teeth and your treatment you could need a combination of any of these types or maybe just one.
Sometimes, it is necessary to have braces because otherwise your teeth cause trauma and damage your mouth and gums. Most of the time, the reason people get braces is for cosmetic reasons. Teeth can be a huge insecurity to many people and having braces can make you feel a lot more happy and confident in the long run once the treatment is over. Depending on which one of these you fit in to, you may or not be eligible for free dental care. Hopefully by the end of this article you will have made your decision on whether to get braces, and you know a lot more about what having braces is like.
For most of my life, one of my biggest insecurities have always been my teeth. I had an ‘overbite’ which is when the lower and upper jaws and teeth are not aligned.
The risks of having an overbite are much further than just cosmetic reasons. Overbites can cause jaw pain, health issues to the tooth and gum, speech issues and more. To treat this, there are various methods, usually depending on the severity, however I was given ‘twin block braces’.
Twin blocks are basically two big blocks in your mouth. They are removable, but you are supposed to wear them at all times apart from sports and meals. I found them a lot worse than fixed braces as they gave me ulcers(mouth sores) , got dirty easily and also affected the way I talked. Because of this a lot of people don't wear them as much as they are supposed to. If you really need to take them out, that's fine, but I would honestly recommend keeping them in as much as possible because the more you wear them, the sooner you get them out. My friend got twin blocks almost 6 months before and never wore hers, but I wore mine as much I could and got them out much sooner even though she had already had them longer than me.
One of the main problems I had with twin blocks was that they got dirty and smelly really easily. As you get further on in the treatment your dentist will probably recommend you to try eating with your braces in. The only way I could keep them clean was to brush them separately from my teeth everyday and also to soak them in a cup of mouthwash. As for the speech problems, the more I tried speaking with them the easier it got and by the end I was basically talking normally. You just have to persevere.
I am in no way trying to scare people who may be getting twin blocks, but they do come with a lot of problems. Despite all of this, twin blocks are one of the quickest ways to get rid of an overbite and the end result was definitely worth it for me. I would recommend them to anyone who needs them.
After my overbite was fixed, I was moved onto the most common fixed ‘train-track’ braces. I found these a lot easier than twin block braces however they do have a fair share of problems too. Getting them put on felt quite weird, but I didn't experience any pain. In short, they clean your teeth, put on some glue and stick the brackets down on each tooth, put in a wire and tie it on with the coloured bands of your choice. There are some videos on YouTube showing how they do this if you are nervous about getting them put on. At first, it felt strange to have some alien piece of metal in your mouth, and it's a feeling I can't explain. Some people say it feels having sweet corn stuck to your teeth. Overall though, I really didn't find it a bad feeling. Unlike most people, I didn't feel pain right away. In fact, it wasn't until about 3 or 4 hours later that I felt anything at all. The pain can be bad but is usually manageable, it just makes it hard to eat. You will probably have to eat more soft foods and things that don't require a lot of chewing. It also helps to take some pain relief. Every time I get my braces changed, it usually hurts a little, but always less than the first time. Every time the pain seems to be a little less. After a while, you won't even feel your braces there. The pain usually only lasts a few days, if that.
There are also some foods that you aren't supposed to eat in case you break your braces, and you need to be careful with any sporting activities as brackets can come loose and bands can snap very easily. The foods you shouldn't eat include chewy foods (particularly sweets), food you have to bite into including apples and corn on the cob, sticky foods (like gum and caramel), and crunchy foods (like ice, certain types of crisps and popcorn).
If you do break your brace, don't worry as it's not a huge deal. However, it can sometimes delay your treatment. You will have to ring up your orthodontist and make an emergency appointment so that they can fix it. The sooner you get it put right, the less it will delay the process. Most people break their braces at some point in their lives, so it's definitely not something you should feel bad about.
Despite braces sometimes being a pain, they are worth it. My teeth have changed so much already. It's a long journey and it's easy to give up but if it's going to enhance your confidence and make you feel proud of your smile, is it really such a bad thing? All of these bad things I have mentioned in this article might make braces seem scary, but they really aren't as bad as you think and some people don't even experience all of these things. I wish everyone luck with their brace and teeth stories, and if you don't decide to get braces, that's okay too, having crooked teeth isn't something to get upset over. However, if you do have the option of braces, I would say to go for it!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.