So – here’s something I wasn’t quite expecting when I decided to fulfill my life’s ambition and get braces – that others wouldn’t be entirely supportive (or at least wouldn’t really understand why I got them).
It’s well known in my family that I hate my teeth, have always hated my teeth and, because of them, have never done a good toothy grin in a photo – ever! My sister and I went for a make-over/photography session in London 10 years ago as a treat. Hair and make-up were done to the nth degree (to be honest I didn’t really look like myself any more) and we were plied with champagne and compliments. MANY photos were taken and then, after the session, we were shown oodles of digital photos of ourselves and asked to pick out the ones we wanted to save. Without even taking a breath I said ‘get rid of all the photos that show my teeth’. They showed me one of the ‘toothy’ photos in an effort to persuade me they looked ok but, to me, they really didn’t. They had to go.
The chosen photos were lovely on the whole (as I said before I didn’t really look like me anyway) but each one had me with my mouth firmly closed with maybe some slight turn ups at the outer edges to prove that I was kind of happy/tipsy! 😉
My point is that, even with professional photography, lighting and make-up (and a decent amount of bubbly alcohol in my system) I still wasn’t able to accept my teeth in a natural smile. Sad really isn’t it?
This is something that I’ve always felt and, to add to my discontent, I’ve realised that my teeth have been getting worse over the years too (I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s measured the movement of their teeth before? Am I?!)
So – my decision to have braces was a logical conclusion to my anti-grin stance and an attempt to get some confidence into my smile.
However, I’ve had a few people say to me since I had the braces installed, “why did you do that?” or “I didn’t think there was anything wrong with your teeth before”, “They’re not that bad are they?”
I know these things are said to genuinely make me feel better about myself and to reassure me that there was nothing ‘wrong’ with me before. Unfortunately what I hear is “That was a waste of money”, “What are you complaining about, there’s nothing wrong with your teeth” and “How vain you must be to care this much just about your teeth”. Thankfully I have enough people in my life who are (sometimes brutally) honest so I know that my teeth could definitely do with some improvement. I also trust my orthodontist not to sell me treatment I don’t need.
What I want to say to anyone out there contemplating having braces (and to myself as a bit of reassurance) is that, if your teeth are stopping you smiling, if you have to eradicate every image of yourself that might include your teeth, if you’re worried that they’re moving and may eventually look even worse than they already do – look into having braces. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – they’re not living with your teeth. If you can’t smile with confidence that’s enough of a reason (if you’re in a solid position to do it) to seriously consider investing in yourself.
Ex braces wearers are the BEST at reassurance. They have been through it, remember what it was like before and after and are the first to say what a difference it will make to your smile and to your confidence. I choose to go with them – and their lovely straight teeth – and stay focused on the endgame. There are few things we can change about ourselves but our teeth we can – and I have chosen to do so. Thanks for the compliments and the good thoughts about my previous pearlies but I want a beautiful smile that I’m happy to share with anyone – and that’s what I’m aiming to have 🙂
**Note to people who don’t know me – my smile does NOT look like this! 😉