Somewhat Rough As an Adult, but Worthwhile - Los Angeles, CA

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I had braces as a kid, from the time I was 13 to...

I had braces as a kid, from the time I was 13 to 15, and it wasn't a big deal at all, I barely remember having them. After about six years, I started slacking off on wearing my retainer, which made it fit less and less well, until I stopped wearing it altogether. I should have trekked back to my old orthodontist, and gotten a new one before that point (as there is some minor correction that can be made just via a retainer), but I was off at college and figured after 6 years, my teeth should pretty much stay in place right? Sadly, no.

Over the next 7 years, my upper front few teeth drifted back towards their original positions, and my smile started to bother me. At some point I stopped chewing on the left side of my mouth as well, since my bite on that side had become so much worse than the right. This resulted in the beginnings of TMJ, which is what really prompted me to do something about it.

I was at first convinced I was going to go with Invisalign. But after going to two consultations, both orthodontists said the same thing: I was looking at no less than 18 months with Invisalign, and my bite correction couldn't be accomplished to the same degree as with braces, which would guarantee 100% results in under a year. Much to my despair, I just couldn't imagine dealing with the hassle of trays for a year and a half or more--I tend to eat and drink a lot throughout the day; that much constant tooth brushing for such a length of time was daunting. A couple friends of mine had also far exceeded their original Invisalign projections just by not wearing their trays here and there, so I was well aware that the time frames given on the trays were no joke.

Thus I took the plunge with braces. It was definitely worse than the first time around, just for the social aspect. But when they came off 9 months later, my bite and smile were back to where they were at 15, if not even a bit better. The new clear essix retainers are a huge improvement over the old thick plastic and wire hawley retainers I got as a teen too. Wearing them at night is no big deal, much easier. So I can't say I enjoyed the experience, nor did I end up liking my orthodontist much personally, but I'm definitely glad I got it done!

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