Getting braces as an adult: why I decided to go for it

Getting braces as an adult: why I decided to go for it

Yesterday, I went through the process of getting braces fitted.

I have a list of things as long as my arm of what I dislike about myself but right at the top is my teeth. I’m not going to say they stop me smiling because they don’t. However, they do make me feel incredibly self-conscious when I’m smiling and I cringe when I see them in pictures.

My teeth and I have never been friends.

When I was younger, I had to have most of my baby teeth removed. I don’t remember the details of it, apart from having to live on spaghetti hoops following the procedure. I’m going to assume my laziness and reluctance to look after my teeth caused all sorts of issues which left my dentist with no option but to refer me to have them taken out.

My adult teeth decided they weren’t going to play ball, either, so they grew in in a messy way. They are fighting for space where there isn’t any. So, I am not too keen on these ones, either. Well, actually, “not too keen” is a very gentle way of putting it. I despise them.

As a teenager, I had one visit to an orthodontist, who I vaguely recall being rude and unpleasant. Then again, I was maybe overly sensitive. I’ve noticed there’s a pattern in my life: I will fixate on one negative comment for a very long time. So, when this orthodontist told me my teeth were in a terrible state, I decided all orthodontists and dentists were nasty and vowed not to return. What an idiot.

I stuck to that for years. Eventually, I grew up and matured enough to realise I was being unreasonable. I finally faced the dentist, had several teeth removed and many fillings put in. I asked my dentist at the time about getting braces. Her response was “there are long waiting lists, and I don’t know how much it will cost you.” The fact she couldn’t provide me with an estimate caused me to conclude that I probably couldn’t afford it, so I tried my best to accept the fact I was going to hate my teeth forever. I suppose, at least, by this point, they were being checked regularly and were somewhat healthier.

Let’s fast forward to around six months ago when I decided I was getting braces.

I asked my new dentist in Aberdeen about getting braces, and she referred me to their in-house orthodontist. So, I went for my appointment, full of hope that this was going to be it. I would finally sort my teeth out and let go of hating my smile.

The price quoted was over £4000. I knew braces were expensive but, unless I had a lottery win, there was no way I could pull that money out of the air. Out of disappointment and frustration, I went home and cried. A lot.

Rather than give up, I decided to get a second opinion.

My boyfriend suggested I should try another clinic. I was reluctant because I hate making phone calls and going to appointments and I didn’t want to do it all again. Then, when I stopped to consider the alternative – many more years of misery about my teeth – I decided it was probably worth a try.

I booked an appointment at another clinic. Within the first five minutes of my consultation, I felt at ease. If I was going to get braces, this was where I should get them done. The orthodontist was friendly, and asked all the right questions to get to know me and what I wanted to achieve. Then we got to the pricing, and I readied myself for another shock. I did get one, but it was a good one. They wanted half the price. It’s still a lot of money, don’t get me wrong, but the deposit was manageable, as were the monthly repayments.

There and then, I had all of the preparation work done. I stood awkwardly and had pictures taken. An x-ray was done. They made a mould of my teeth out of putty which tasted like strawberries. I was shown all of this and, faced with the horrible truth of the state my teeth were in, used all my strength not to sob in the consultation room. I didn’t let it stop me, though. That was, after all, why I was there.

My journey was beginning.

A couple of months later, I had elastics fitted at my first proper appointment. These were in place to make space for the braces. They were a little uncomfortable, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I spent a week with them in and skipped to my next appointment, ready for them to come out.

No such luck. They replaced them with another set. It’s like having something in your teeth constantly. Every time I caught them with my tongue, I would consider taking them out myself. I knew it probably wouldn’t be the best idea.

Getting braces on was an interesting experience.

Prior to my appointment, I was very emotional. This was partly because I was anxious about the procedure, but also because it was a huge deal. I had been waiting for around 11 years to take action to sort my teeth, and the day was finally here! I had done some research online, so I had some idea what to expect. The last thing I wanted was a nasty surprise.

When I entered the room, my orthodontist explained what would happen from start to finish. I then lay back, had a tool placed in my mouth to keep my lips out of the way, and it began. It started with a cleaning process, which was very straight-forward.

In my case, it wasn’t as simple as the braces alone. I had to have another instrument inserted to anchor two of my teeth so they didn’t move. As one of my teeth sits high up in my gums, this needs a chance to move down first. So, this was the first step.

Then, the glue and brackets were applied before the wire was threaded through. Due to my overbite, props were put in as well. These are tools to stop me biting down on my brace. Of everything, this feels the strangest. When I bite down, it doesn’t feel natural. I am sure I will adapt to this, though, and they may not be necessary for the entire duration of my treatment. The finishing touch was my purple elastics. I opted for purple because I thought I may as well have fun with it!

Getting braces was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be. There was actually very little pain or discomfort. As soon as the process had finished, I felt different. I think this is because I’m finally done something about an issue which has bothered me for so long. Now, if people are looking at my teeth, I can assume it’s my braces, rather than the mess they are in.

I have to wear them for around 18 months. There are lots of changes I need to make during that time. What I eat and drink needs to be different. I’m no longer allowed to bite my nails. Plus, I have to be extra vigilant with my oral hygiene. Still, I’m feeling confident it will be worth it. I already can’t wait to see the end result!

Getting braces as an adult


  1. 20th June 2018 / 11:18 am

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re looking great. It must have been so difficult getting braces so much later, it will take some time to get used to but soon enough it will feel like they aren’t even there anymore 😀 I’m so glad you’re feeling confident, wishing you the best of luck on this little journey

    • ruthinrevolt
      20th June 2018 / 11:29 am

      Aww, thank you, gorgeous! I’m hoping you’re right – I know the first week or so is supposed to be the worst so, fingers crossed, after that, they will stop bothering me quite so much!

  2. 20th June 2018 / 12:04 pm

    Congrats on taking the plunge, Ruth. It’s more than just getting braces, it’s looking at something you despise (as you put it) about yourself and deciding to regain control over it.

    My best friend had similar problems and got braces when she was about your age. It was a painful process at times (she’s a crybaby, that didn’t help), but the only thing she ever regretted was not doing it sooner.

    • ruthinrevolt
      20th June 2018 / 1:29 pm

      Thank you! Yeah, I know that will be my only regret by the time it’s done. I’m just very weak when it comes to pain in my mouth – I can handle it most other places but sore teeth/gums and I crumble! Never mind, gotta be strong!

  3. 20th June 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Wooooow I’m so happy for you! That’s really cool. I’m dreaming to get braces, but my teeth are not that bad and my parents don’t give me money for that 😀

    • ruthinrevolt
      20th June 2018 / 1:30 pm

      Awww, as long as you know your teeth aren’t bad!! Maybe one day, but at least you’re not in a rush 🙂

  4. Lyndsey
    20th June 2018 / 1:11 pm

    Congrats on going for it! I did the same last year (I’m 28 and had felt the same about my teeth as you since I was a teenager) and now that I’m 8 months in I’m so happy with my decision and although I found the first month pretty hard I do not regret it one bit. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your teeth move. I already feel so much better about smiling even though the braces are still on!
    Just out of curiosity, did your ortho offer to apply for NHS funding for you? Like you, I was worried about the cost and that was a big help for me.
    Best of luck with your journey!

    • ruthinrevolt
      20th June 2018 / 1:32 pm

      Thank you! I can’t wait to see how things change, even though I’m definitely suffering a little bit just now.

      Nope, that wasn’t offered to me, but it’s fantastic that yours was able to do that and help you! Good luck with the rest of your braces journey, too! 😀

  5. Benny Biddulph
    20th June 2018 / 1:54 pm

    great post lovely so proud of your bravery i’m very self conscious about my teeth also I had a phobia about dentists until I made myself go to one, they turned out to be amazing and I got to like my dentist and all the issues I had were fixed although I had to go into hospital to have three teeth removed I am a bit nervous about going back in case i have to have more removed.

    • ruthinrevolt
      20th June 2018 / 3:01 pm

      Thank you! Aww, I’m glad you were able to find a good dentist, though, I do think that’s half the battle. I know what you mean about going back – every time I visit, I’m worried I’ll be told I need another filling or another tooth taken out and it fills me with dread. Better to go and get them checked/sorted sooner rather than later, though.

  6. 20th June 2018 / 4:13 pm

    This is awesome! You must do quarterly comparison pictures so we can see the progress!

    • ruthinrevolt
      21st June 2018 / 2:54 pm

      I will try and remember!

  7. 20th June 2018 / 8:32 pm

    Congratulations Ruth! I’m so happy for you – it’ll be worth it, I promise. If you ever need to rant about anything brace-related to someone who gets it, I’m always here! Sending you good vibes!

    Nati x | | @NAfterCoffee

    • ruthinrevolt
      21st June 2018 / 2:55 pm

      Thank you so much, Nati! 😀 x

  8. 21st June 2018 / 7:38 am

    Congratulations Ruth! Well done for not giving up and looking around for a more affordable option. I’m glad you found the right orthodontist in the end. All the best with your journey and keep smiling, you look great! ☺️ xx

    Bexa |

    • ruthinrevolt
      21st June 2018 / 2:55 pm

      I’m so glad I looked somewhere else! Thank you very much, Bexa! 😀 x

  9. 21st June 2018 / 2:30 pm

    I had braces as an adult and had them on for four years! It is worth it in the end, I promise!

    • ruthinrevolt
      21st June 2018 / 2:58 pm

      I’m sure you are right! Thank you 🙂

  10. 21st June 2018 / 7:14 pm

    Ohhh I remember braces! I had mine for 5 years! It wasn’t fun for me, but I did enjoy picking different colours for the brackets! It is definitely worth it though and it sounds like you’ll love the outcome! Best of luck for the next 18 months 😊

    • ruthinrevolt
      22nd June 2018 / 9:18 am

      Thank you very much! 🙂

  11. 24th June 2018 / 10:13 am

    Girl i can understand how it feels.. all the best for it.. i am sure you will get used to it. 🙂

    • ruthinrevolt
      24th June 2018 / 5:39 pm

      Thank you!

  12. 12th July 2018 / 8:20 pm

    Congratulations, Ruth!
    Sharing your experience will no doubt help someone else in a similar situation.
    My husband just got braces and he’s nearly 60! Teeth start to move on their own over time, especially if there isn’t enough room in the mouth.

    • ruthinrevolt
      12th July 2018 / 9:18 pm

      Thank you. Aww, wow! Go him! It just goes to show it’s never too late to make the change 🙂

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