What It's Really Like to Have Braces: Are They Worth It?


March 21, 2021

So, you have been blessed with braces. Ugh, the joy of the frequent canker sores, the restrictions from eating delectable foods, and the everlasting brushing routine. Are braces really worth the disadvantages they cause? Do the results triumph any of the pain?

Why braces?

“Dental braces are devices used in orthodontics that align and straighten teeth and help position them with regard to a person's bite” as defined by Wikipedia, and they look something like this:

Why are braces commonly known as a “teenager” thing? For this it's important to remember the main purpose of braces, which is both cosmetic and health-related.

As is common knowledge, teens are very conscious of their external appearance, of which smile is a major determinant. And I, like my fellows in my baby teen years, gave in to the belief that outer beauty matters more than anything because your face is what a person sees first right? Now, I was lucky and naive enough to believe braces were "cool", but countless rom-coms would prove otherwise. Media has always associated braces with an awkward, ugly and embarrassing phase in one's life. It's universal knowledge that braces + glasses = a complete nerd, who has never touched a makeup brush, hasn't heard the word "fashion" since the Barbie phase and has their nose buried in books. You don't believe me? Well, Katie Perry's MV "Last Friday Night" justifies all these claims.

Despite these stereotypes, I tempted fate and begged my parents to get me braces.

The Journey

My first appointment resides vividly in my memory, because that is when my dentist used this awfully corny line: "Now, this treatment is not something I give, but something you take, okay?"

But before I knew it, there they were resting on my teeth like they always belonged there. I had never felt so accomplished in my life and I could already imagine that beautiful smile with the perfectly aligned teeth.

So when the dentist told me some pain in the first week was normal, I thought, “Huh, how bad could it possibly be?” Future me would probably describe it as “hell in your buccal cavity”. My mouth became a reservoir for ulcers/canker sores, linea alba inside my cheeks and constant throbbing pain. Although some people do not experience any discomfort in the beginning at all, if you do undergo this obnoxious agony, it does not mean you have a “low threshold for pain."

As the first week passed by, my mouth became accustomed to the presence of little pieces of metal on my teeth. The pain disappeared, and I could eat whatever I wanted (as long as no one ratted me out), even though the orthodontist had clearly advised me to steer clear of dry fruits, bagels, gum, candies, bread, chips and anything that involved a biting motion by my front teeth i.e. literally everything. The only time I felt half of the affliction I had felt in the beginning was when I had to get my braces tightened every month, but that only lasted a day.

The real deal comes at night, when you saunter into your bathroom and pick up your super-soft bristled toothbrush to brush those jewels. It begins with a set of motions in which you brush your teeth followed by intense flossing.

This might sound like nothing, but when you've had a day full of teachers getting on your nerves, parents who can never understand you, and friends who're too cool to care about you, it seems next to impossible to spend 10 whole minutes in the bathroom when all you really want to do is hit the hay.

The Verdict

So are they really worth it?

Yes, because when I started seeing my teeth shifting and aligning after some months, I couldn't describe the excitement I felt. People started commenting on how they were really coming along, and the feeling was uh-ma-zing.

So go ahead and pick that floss up no matter how tired you are, because one day it will all be so worth it!

Rutvi Mevawala
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Rutvi Mevawala is a high school junior and a fervent bookworm (YA, mysteries, psychological thrillers!). When she isn't reading, you can find her writing, listening to music, or binge-watching movies.