If you are anything like me and many other people in the U.S., you probably had braces at one point or another. I only had braces for two years which is not bad compared to the fact that some kids have to have them for four or five years. I remember I cried when the orthodontist told me I would have to get braces. I did not think that I needed braces. Unfortunately, the orthodontist said that I had crowding on my bottom teeth and a slight overbite and I could not just get bottom braces so I had to get braces on my top and bottom teeth.
I was so happy the day I finally got them taken off. I am thankful that I had braces because my teeth are straighter and I now realize that braces are just a part of growing up. Having braces is putting in your time as being an awkward middle schooler before you mature into an adult. Regardless of when you had braces or even if you still have them, you probably experienced or will experience the six stages of having braces.
1. Getting them on.
Getting braces put on for the first time is probably one of the most painful and uncomfortable experiences of your life. It feels like they put cement in your mouth. Your teeth are so sore that you can barely eat anything for a week. The metal rubs up against the inside of your mouth and cuts your cheeks. They give you wax to help but it does basically nothing at all.
2. Having people comment on them.
Even though it is extremely obvious that you have braces you still constantly have people asking you, "Did you get braces?" all the time. After having braces for months and still having people ask you this question it can get pretty annoying.
Eating with braces sometimes makes things challenging. Your orthodontist tells you that you can not eat corn on the cob, gum, caramel, popcorn, and basically anything else sticky or chewy that will get caught in them. Despite this advice, you still chew gum all the time. It makes you feel really cool that you can prove them wrong, until the dreadful moment where you get gum caught in your wires and it feels like you are going to rip your braces out of your mouth.
4. Visits to the orthodontist.
One of the bright sides to the visits to the orthodontist was that usually it means you get out of school for a bit and get to miss a few classes. You get so much joy out of picking out what colors you want the bands on your braces to be and sometimes even coordinated them with the upcoming holiday. The down side to these visits is that the Orthodontist Assistant tightens your braces so hard that it feels like they are going to rip your teeth out. Every time you visit you always asks your Orthodontist when you will get your braces off. Their reply is always three to four months. Then three to four months will go by and their answer is still three to four months... hmm.
5. Finally getting them removed.
The day has finally come! You thought it would never happen but you are finally getting your braces off. You have waited so long for this moment to arrive. Once they are finally off you make sure to post a selfie on social to document the occasion and show off your new smile. Months later you still can not stop smiling and are unable to hide your excitement.
Just when you thought you were done with the whole ordeal you get retainers. Retainers make it difficult to talk and were pretty uncomfortable. The hardest part of having retainers is keeping track of them. Everyone that has had retainers has probably gone through the terrifying realization that you accidentally threw your retainers away and now have to dig through the trash to find them... gross.