Still Rocking My Braces. Just Three More Years to Go…

Hey there, my friends! Several of you followed along last March when I wrote about my experience getting braces at age 32. It was not an easy decision, but I explained my reasons for going through with it in that post.

About four months ago, I updated you here and explained how happy I was with my decision. So I thought it was time for an update after I got my most recent school picture taken (teacher life..we will never escape the dreaded school picture day… ha ha).

As many of you know, I moved from Iowa back to central Illinois in August, and that meant getting my kids into a trusted daycare, selling our house, settling into a new job, finding a new home, and the list goes on…the braces upkeep was not a priority. My last adjustment in Iowa was in late July, a few weeks before I moved. Once I got to Illinois, I went to a local orthodontist who was recommended to me, and the office staff told me I would have to pay the full amount of treatment, even though I had been in braces for six months. No thanks. So the search continued.

Eventually, I ended up at the orthodontist who treated all three of my sisters: Hudson Orthodontics in Decatur. And though it will be a little farther of a drive for me, I will end up saving over $2,000 in treatment costs, as they are thankfully honoring the fact that I’ve been in braces for now eight months. Praise hands.

My orthodontist in Iowa told me that in the fall, I would need teeth extracted and that it would be the second phase of my teeth straightening. Well, here we are. My orthodontists here agreed with the teeth being extracted and said I am looking at about 30-36 MORE months of treatment for a lot of different reasons, one being my age. I am like in the geriatric category at the orthodontist’s office…it’s really uncommon for someone my age to enter into the extensive orthodontic treatment I’m getting. Yes, I’m only 33 years old, but since I’m not in my teens, my teeth are more stubborn, as I understand it.

I completely trust my new orthodontists, as I have seen the work they’ve done on my sisters, but hearing that I will have to be in braces that long was not great news.

Then the next day, I saw my school pictures in my mailbox.

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My school picture in 2016. 

I remember the days when I was afraid to have one-on-one conversations with people whom I didn’t know very well because I just knew they were caught off-guard by the crookedness of my teeth. I remember telling myself that my less-than-perfect smile wasn’t a big deal because I had several other good qualities that counteracted that imperfection. But I could never shake those feelings of self-doubt, no matter how many affirming conversations I had with myself.

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My school picture from 2015. 

By instinct, I still shy away from close-up pictures, but a school picture is pretty darn close-up, am I right? I looked at the picture and was pleasantly surprised. My braces, though I have the clear ceramic ones on top, are clearly visible but so are my straighter teeth. I know I have a long way to go in my treatment, but as I’ve said before, I feel like my braces communicate to people, Hey. I know my smile isn’t perfect, but I recognize that and am working on it!

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Side-by-side comparison

So though I have tons upon tons more months in braces, I am content in the journey. I am teaching my kids that it’s never too late to change something that pulls you down and that nothing worth having in life is super easy to obtain. And I still am comparing braces stories with my students, which is awkward and fun at the same time. I don’t ever really think about the end result (what my smile will look like when my braces are taken off). I really just honestly focus on the changes that take place and celebrate those as I go along.

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