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What’s that expression? You know the one about having a mouth full of metal. Rows and rows of gleaming metal crammed in to a tiny mouth. Brace face! That’s the word!
I was one of those rare kids who wanted braces. Yearned for them. I was desperate for straight teeth and the perfect smile. Pestered to get braces. I wanted to have a Brace Face in the worst way. As a 6th grader in a middle school in New Jersey, I was very jealous of my classmates who had braces. I wanted them so badly. My teeth were very crowded. Front teeth overlapping each other…top and bottom. I was sure I would get braces. I had to have braces. Unfortunately, my mother was very vague on when I would actually get braces. I was so frustrated with her non-answers to my ever-persistent questions.
It wasn’t until some years later that I realized why my mother was so vague and noncommittal about when I would start orthodontia. The reason was money. Simply put, orthodontia back in the late 70s was often not covered by insurance. My parents, who were recent transplants to the U.S. from our home in England, were cautious with anything to do with healthcare and insurance. Not surprisingly, I only started orthodontic treatment when we returned to live in England towards the end of that 6th grade year.
My mother didn’t have to worry about astronomical orthodontic bills as England has the National Health Service where all health care was covered by the government. Sounds like a great deal, right? Well, it was for the most part, but orthodontic work was only available for children and teens with extremely crooked and overcrowded teeth. Consequently, while the majority of my classmates did not have braces, my crowded and overlapping teeth granted me admission to the orthodontist’s office.
The orthodontist had her work cut out treating me. First, I needed to have four teeth removed. Second, I was fitted with fixed braces on my top teeth. I loved having braces. I rarely complained about discomfort. The sad part — for me anyway — was that I only wore braces for one year and I never had braces on my bottom teeth. I suspect that limiting the time in braces and making decisions about whether to do the top, or the bottom, or both sets of teeth was a cost-cutting measure. In any event, even though I wore a retainer for a few years, my teeth have shifted a little since I had my braces removed in 8th grade.
I’m relieved that my older two children who are out of braces, still wear clear retainers on their top and bottom teeth. Our orthodontist insisted that both kids were fitted with top and bottom retainers. Teeth shift, even corrected teeth so it is important to do what you can to keep your teeth in alignment.
Alignment is the key word for Invisalign braces. Invisalign are an alternative to fixed braces on your teeth. The Musings from Me family has some experience with Invisalign as my husband was an early adopter back in the mid-2000s. He did not want to go through a couple of years of fixed orthodontia, so Invisalign was perfect for him.
What you need to know about Invisalign
- A how-to on how Invisalign works
- Learn more about Invisalign for adults and teens
- Follow @Invisalign on Twitter
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