How to Survive Adult Braces
Having Braces as an Adult
I never thought I would have to get braces 12 to 13 years after I had them the first time. I remember getting the rubber spacers in the 5th grade on Halloween. I remember because I was pissed I wasn't supposed to eat Sugar Babies—they were chewy and would most likely pull out the spacers. I only had braces for a year, but I thought that was enough for me.
My orthodontist put the permanent retainer behind my top and bottom teeth and called it a day. About a month later, part of the bottom retainer broke loose, and instead of cementing it, he just cut it off. Over time, it caused two of my teeth to move.
During my senior year of college, I had an accident at the gym where I was essentially smacked in the mouth by a squat rack. This knocked a front tooth out of alignment and killed a nerve—I had to get a root canal to save the tooth and got internal bleaching so you couldn't tell the difference.
Well, I finally got my shit together and got braces to fix everything. I'm very self-conscious about my smile because it was once a perfect smile, and since it wasn't any longer, I felt a strong need to get it fixed.
Getting the Braces Put On
I must have been quite a trooper as a child because I've never been so uncomfortable as an adult, having to have my mouth stretched open and a parched tongue while the braces were put on. I didn't even get a full set put on—only a partial. I was the first person of the day at my orthodontist, and afterward, I went to work for the next 6 hours.
Because I wasn't in the 5th or 6th grade this time around, my orthodontist decided to give me ceramic braces on top. Ceramic braces are the "clear" ones, so they don't show as much as the pure metal ones.
I realize that it looks like I barely need them, but I'm the type of person that recognizes the little things. I also knew that if I didn't get them fixed, the two teeth would continue to move since there was nothing stopping them, and I don't have a removable retainer.
Foods You Can Eat
For the first week after you get braces, it's very painful to eat anything that you have to bite into or use a lot of pressure to eat. Some foods you can easily eat:
- Sliced bananas
- Cottage cheese
- Angel hair pasta in a meat sauce (as long as you cut it up and break down the meat so there are no big chunks)
You'll probably end up swallowing a lot of these foods because it's just easier.
Foods You Can't Eat
- Sub sandwiches
- Wheat Thins
- French fries (You actually can, but since they're primarily salty, and you'll need to shove back to the back of your throat, they won't taste like anything.)
- And many others!
Foods You Should Be Careful of Eating
- White bread
- Anything with herbs
- Anything breaded
- Salads - OMG, this food will get stuck in your braces like no other.
There's probably more, and I will always add them as I find them out.
All of these foods will get caught in your braces, and it's super embarrassing to be completely unaware of this. Always bring your picks with you!
Braces Friendly Quick and Easy Dish
I made a delicious mixture that I've eaten for several days while letting my teeth adjust to my braces. It's made up of:
- Israeli Couscous, peas, black beans (rinsed and drained), cannellini beans (rinsed and drained), and pan sauteed corn. It's so delicious and easily reheated.
Tips on Surviving with Braces
I seemed to have more room in my mouth when I was younger because all my braces did for the first week was rub against my mouth and create sores.
- USE THE WAX THEY GIVE YOU! A little goes a long way, and you can keep it in your mouth for several days if you don't brush your teeth.
Since your teeth are so sensitive, it makes sense to invest in a sensitive toothpaste. You can also easily remove the wax in your mouth by brushing your teeth.
- I'm using Sensodyne Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth with Fluoride, Maximum Strength Fresh impact. Never use a toothpaste with whitening properties because it'll strip away your enamel to "whiten".
You will get foods caught in your braces and that will be your reality until you get them off.
- I'm using DenTek Easy Brush Interdental Cleaners. They have caps on them so you can use em more than once and easily carry it around with you for when you're out of the house and have a need to clean food out of your braces.
Your mouth is going to be sore and there's no stopping it.
- Bring some ibuprofen if your mouth is particularly sore so you can have some comfort.
You may have a sensitively to hot or cold food items.
- Stick to room temperature foods to save yourself from an even sorer mouth.
When You'll Start Feeling Better
After about a week, the pain will have come down, and you will have built up resistance in your mouth. The spots that once annoyed you and required you to use the wax won't need as much anymore.
You can slowly test harder foods that require chewing. Most foods you'll have to eat with fork and knife or break into smaller pieces and shove into the back of your mouth to eat. It'll take long before you're able to comfortably bite into things using your front teeth.
You Can Do This!
Yes, braces suck, and it's probably the worst thing imaginable after a certain age because you usually see them only on small children. I was embarrassed at first, but then I realized after 4 to 6 months—I'm going to have an even better smile than I had before. I always get compliments about my smile, and I personally think it's my best feature. Now, I get the chance to make it better, get into that percentile for perfect teeth, and finally be fully secure with myself and not have to worry about teeth moving in the future. Better to be safe than sorry.