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midlife mouth crisis

Brace Face

Through their orthodontic treatments, I watched as my kids’ smiles got gorgeouser and gorgouser.

And I got jealouser and jealouser.

So then I got braces.


Yes, at my age.

adult braces

I decided it wasn’t a sin to treat myself, so I had a consultation, signed a contract with Dr Vyas (love her), and got my seat in one of her reclining chairs.

Adult Braces: A Growing Trend

The tech set up a delightful contraption that held my lips open and caged my tongue while she soaped, rinsed, and dried my teeth, affixed brackets, and threaded the wire. Dr Vyas explained that this wire has a memory of where it’s supposed to be, and over the next 6 weeks it will take my teeth along with it as it returns to its natural state. We’ll do movement in stages.

After we’ve made some space on the upper jaw (oww — moving teeth and sockets is a little painful, and I belatedly have more empathy for my kids), I’ll get orthodontia on the bottom set of teeth. That’s where more of the crooked is.

crooked teeth

I wasn’t a candidate for Invisalign (more on why), but this course of treatment, which seems not overly noticeable, will be shorter anyway. If I have good habits (I will!) and if those wires keep remembering where to take my teeth, I should no longer be a Brace Face by Halloween.

Have you ever considered getting adult braces? Or gotten them?


Find more on my adult braces story at Mile High Mamas.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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12 Responses

  1. I have noticed this growing trend! I have a growing number of friends and coworkers who are embracing (ha HA ha ha) orthodontia in their middle age. I have noticed that my teeth are moving more, and someone told me that your jaw shrinks as you grow older (unlike other parts of the body, ha) and so your teeth crowd more. My bottom teeth are so much like yours, but I haven’t thought about braces yet, even though I do feel like my mouth is getting crowded. I have time to decide if I’ll join the trend though! I bet you’ll feel amazing when it’s all done. I’m sorry it hurts. I still remember the pain from having braces in middle school, so unless it starts interfering with function, I think I will embrace the bottom snaggleteeth. For now. 🙂

  2. Good for you! It’s so empowering to read about people going out of their way to take care of themselves. Teeth are a big deal. It takes courage to say “I matter. My teeth matter.” Thank you for setting an example. Xox

  3. Midlife mouth crisis? LOL!

    I’ve had a hate/hate relationship with my teeth for as long as I can remember (I’ll spare you the details), and when I finally did something about it (end result – dentures at 40something), I felt SO much better. Kudos to you for taking steps towards making your smile gorgeouser!

  4. I think it’s awesome that you’re taking steps to make yourself happy. I see a lot of adults in the orthodontist’s office. Like it comes down to half and half in terms of whether it’s kids or adults in the chair.

  5. I have a couple of crooked teeth, and actually had the hygienist at my dentist’s office suggesting that I could do something about it if it bothered me. I think the braces would bother me more! But that’s because we are not a land full of “American smiles” as I refer to them, and teeth are just something unique along with our eye colour or whether we have curls.

    And I think you have a beautiful smile already.

    Forget all that though – I applaud you for doing something that is important to you!

  6. My brother got them because of his CPAP and then he and his wife will also get his teeth whiten and all other stuff, I definitely noticed this trend, especially the very whiten teeth, when I go back to the US but here in Berlin, not so much.

  7. You are the 4th adult I know who has gotten braces recently. Yay for you! Do they have braces for my wrinkles? 🙂

  8. I had ’em when I was a teenager. Then after multiple encounters with car doors and wall corners, my top front teeth were out of alignment again. Let’s not talk about my bottom teeth. 🙁 So my dentist said he could make me a retainer to put them back in place. And it worked! The only problem is that teeth continually move.

    Enjoy your new look – you won’t be able to stop smiling at yourself once those braces come off!

  9. I know quite a few adults who have had braces, including an executive who was probably in his 50s and already fairly high up in the ranks of the company where I worked. He got a promotion after he got the braces off, so I guess it was worth it for him. 😉 I have thought about it in passing a few times… I used to have a gap between my front teeth when I was a kid; since then, my teeth have moved and the one front tooth is now kind of overlapping the other one. But it’s not hugely noticeable, and it’s not really something that really bothers me — and it IS a lot of money (& time) to invest — although I understand they’ve improved the process significantly since my best friend went through it when we were tweenagers, back in the early 1970s. 😉 (In her case, it took several years, including a night retainer for years afterwards, and regular trips into the city by bus — four hours one way! — and she often made the round trip in one day!! — to have the braces tightened and checked by her orthodontist.)

    I’m so glad you only have to wear yours until the fall! Enjoy your new smile! (although, as others have already pointed out, it was already great!)

  10. Dang I want braces so bad! I never needed them when I was young, but my top front teeth have started pushing together and overlapping, more noticeably in the past 5 years. It would be purely cosmetic so I can’t justify the cost, and I have terrible tmj problems and everything I’ve read suggest that braces can throw your entire bite into disarray and make TMJ worse. My dentist keeps trying to sell me on veneers but that just seems to … fake… or something, i don’t know! Just know that I am super duper jealous of your soon to be straight teeth!

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