My Journey with Braces

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Picture this: I’m 14 years old. I just moved to a new state, new school, new surroundings. I’m still mad at my parents for plucking me from all of my friends to a place where I had no friends. Not only did I move with my braces on, but my new orthodontist set me up with a bag full of mini rubber bands that I was supposed to attach from one tooth to another. As I sat in my 6 am early morning seminary Bible Study class, I tried to attach the rubber bands with no success. Over and over, they went flying across the room here, there, and everywhere. I didn’t look around to see if anyone noticed. I pretended it wasn’t happening.

{I’m on the left. It’s hard to see my clear braces, but they are there–stuck out a good half an inch!}

I’m grateful that I was able to straighten my teeth at a young age. I was 13 when the braces came on, and got them off a few months before I turned 15. Luckily, I didn’t have to wear head gear (though my sister in law swears hers was COOL), and I was also lucky to choose clear braces. I was horrified at the idea in general, and my parents consented to the extra cash it must have taken to get the clear. It was a new option at the time.

With clear braces came problems, too. It was MUCH more noticeable if I got food stuck in them, and after a while, they began to stain. Not to mention the annoying wires poking into my gums and brackets breaking.  Major pain!


{It’s hard to tell in this pic, but trust me, I had braces on}

I know many adult friends that are either getting braces on for the second time from teeth moving, or because they never had them as a kid. One of my high school bestie’s, Nicole, showed me her Invisalign recently. She is one that never had braces–though it never occurred to me that she needed straightening, she had a jaw problem that needed help with some movement.  With her Invisalign, she could eat whatever she wanted (no restrictions like the braces) and she just pulled it out while she ate. To see more benefits click here.


{Look closely, you can see the Invisalign barely in the front smile picture.}

I was curious the cost difference with Invisalign vs. braces and it seems about the same. You can also use money from  your Flex medical account, but for a full breakdown, see here. Take a Smile Assesment survery HERE to see if it’s an option. I didn’t realize, but I guess you have to get a few different molds taken, as your teeth move.

Did you know that Invisalign has effectively straightened two million smiles?!?  Tell me, did you have braces as a teen? As an adult? Know anyone with Invisalign? I’d love to hear.

For more information, please visit Invisalign. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. I still am a teen, but I had them a couple years ago. I actually miss having braces, because I love how the look, and to tell the truth, I loved all the staff at our ortho, and miss going in every month! I do think that if I had to get braces as an adult, I would go with the invisiline though.

  2. I had braces as a teen/young adult for six long years (8th grade through my freshman year at college). Needless to say my teeth were a nightmere to begin with and I was more then happy to see them finally go!

  3. I never had braces but both of my sisters did. I probably could have benefitted from them since my top and bottom teeth do not touch in the front and I have a little space between my front teeth. Oh well. Since I am almost 50 now and they are very expensive, I doubt I will ever have them. Your smile is so nice even though having them caused you so much pain and mortification!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Ha, thank you! I’ve seen a few 50 year olds with braces, it’s never too late, but if it doesn’t bug you, don’t worry about it!

  4. I don’t really mind my braces, but I hate my little rubberbands! And I had the expander which was really annoying (but didn’t hurt) because you got food stuck up and under it. I’m so lucky that I am able to have them, and my teeth already are looking so much better!

  5. I had braces twice – both times as an adult! The first time I was in college – got them when I was 20 and had them for about 2 years. Then about 5 years later, I called an ortho in our new city to see about having a retainer made (I grind my teeth at night and knew it helped). When I went in, he was not impressed with my previous ortho and with my insurance coverage and the deal he offered – it cost about $500 the second time and made a big difference (9 months this time). I had clear on top both times and definitely had to be careful with what I would eat – spaghetti sauce ALWAYS stained the rubber bands almost instantly! Definitely glad I did it, at least once anyways!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      wow, that’s interesting that your second ortho didn’t like the job of the first, and great that your insurance covered so well the 2nd tme!

  6. I had invisalign 12 years ago, just after getting married and am sooo glad I did. It was so easy, pretty painless and took less than a year. In fact I ended up moving across the country about halfway through my treatment and my ortho just sent me with all my trays, I popped them in the right times, never having to see another ortho again, and my teeth are perfectly straight now. Wouldn’t do it any other way!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      that’s awesome that you didn’t have to see another ortho when you moved! I love the option of popping them in and out…

  7. I never had braces before, but after the birth of my last baby, I had had metal braces put on. They were on for over two years and after being overly patient (and dealing with migraines as a result)I had them removed and started with a new orthodontist about two months ago. I only have bottom brackets for now but will soon have tops again. This round is allegedly under a year to complete treatment. I chose braces because the ortho said it was easier to maneuver the teeth and get a better finished product. If its ever complete, I’ll let you know how it turned out. ;b

  8. I currently have Invisalign. I am 36 and was tired of my crooked, shifting teeth. My bottom teeth were always crooked when I was younger and I wanted to get braces, but my parents didn’t agree with my thinking. As I got older, my teeth were gradually becoming more crooked and beginning to push my upper teeth out. After speaking to my orthodontist about the pros, cons and my lifestyle, I opted for Invisalign. I am currently on tray #17 of 26. It is fun to see how much my teeth have changed since I started the whole procedure. I would definitely make the same choice again if I had to do it over.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Tray #17 of 26, that is very interesting! They know when you start how many you’ll need? What about your lifestyle did you have to take into account?

      • Actually, when you start the program, the first thing they do is take 3 minute molds of your mouth/teeth (3 mins on top and 3 mins on bottom). They send the molds in to the invisalign company. From there all of your “trays” are created for your entire program. I’m sure each orthodontist is different, but I go in for a check up every 6 weeks. At that point they do any required adjustments. For example, they have had to sporadically “shave” a few of my teeth down to create room for movement ~ this is technically called inter proximal reduction ~ IPR, it doesn’t hurt at all and only takes maybe a minute to do. The teeth that need to be IPR’d and when it needs to be done is all layed out in the beginning of your personal designed program. Also at my ortho appts. they check to make sure my teeth are moving as they should be, make sure my invisalign trays are fitting well, and if all looks good, send me home with 3 more trays, which are worn for 2 weeks each. Once I’m finished with my 26 trays, there is potential for “refinement” at which time new molds will be made as well as new trays. When I started the program they told me it would take 18 months. I only have trays for 13 months, so I am anticipating refinement.
        As far as my lifestyle, I am a busy mom of 3 kids. We are constantly running from this sport to that. With invisalign, you can pop them out to eat ~ anything you want, but once you are finished, you need to floss, brush and put them back in (wearing them for about 21 hours per day). If you don’t floss, and brush the chance of cavities greatly increases. So I was concerned about being at a softball tournament for my daughter for example, and only having access to a port a potty ~ That doesn’t work so well for brushing teeth if you know what I mean. Basically the orthodontist said I was a perfect candidate for invisalign, and to relax about the whole brushing thing ~ swish with water, brush as soon as I could. So far, I haven’t run into any problems, minor inconveniences perhaps (like not being able to taste my cookie dough as I am making it ~ but I suppose my waist appreciates that ~ ha!, or having to hit the restroom when we get to a restaurant so I can pop them out to have a drink or eat dinner). Like I said before, I am happy with the choice I ended up making and I began my journey planning on having regular braces.

  9. I am 20 and still have never had braces. I *desperately* need them. I have been debating about braces or invisalign for a while now, my insurance doesn’t cover orthodontics so that makes no difference in my decision. I would love more positives/negatives!

  10. I would be really happy if I could buy invisalign for my sister. All I hear from her are so many complaints on how braces hurts her gum. Its her 1st time so I know she will feel pain, but I think invisalign is better than braces, right? What do you think?

  11. I couldn’t help but read and comment about braces…I had braces two years ago (yes, you have another teen reader), and personally, they were the “old-fashioned” kind. I had them taken off (thank heavens!) and I don’t see the difference with my mouth. I had beautiful teeth before, but some baby molars were missing, so they had to be removed and they shifted my teeth forward. As a once upon a time metal-mouth, I don’t like braces because they hurt. In addition, I can’t stand retainers. Those are nasty things…. As for embarressment, I didn’t have any except in the process of shifting teeth, they gave me an underbite. That was horrid. Additonally, I had a really neat trick with the rubber bands…I could stick my tongue through and contort my tongue. It had quite a few people startled….and scared…I thought it was a fun prank…I suppose I miss that unique feature.
    Anyway, perhaps that will give you something to chew on…(no pun intended)

  12. I’ve been meaning to blog about my braces since I first got them two years ago. It was something I was going to talk about often, photograph weekly and just generally journal about. But I ended up not doing that…at all. I barely have any pictures of my braces at all, but I have even less before pictures of my teeth. Great to read yours.. Great blog!!~