Ksenia and Louise tell us how those sparkling metal wonders surrounding your smile might just be the best thing that's ever happened to you!
How many people have you seen with braces? What if we were to ask you if you ever had braces yourself? Yes? And how did they feel? ‘Painful’ and ‘irritating’ are common complaints, not to mention that these shiny devices can be the cause of embarrassment or shyness.
We are two friends who have endured the braces train, and we want to tell you about our journey, and the ups and downs involved with the train tracks that ran along our teeth.
Teenage years can be a strange and daunting time. We are constantly trying to fit in and follow the latest trends, which for us was… getting braces, because we just wanted nice teeth. Although there were stories about the pain that would be involved, the desire for the final effect – the ‘perfect’ smile – was far too tempting (plus the excuse of having jelly and ice cream for dinner every day of course).
The downside of wanting a perfect smile, of course, is the one to three years involved with having metal in your mouth. And this is where self-esteem can plummet. You have to constantly remind yourself why you got them in the first place, and that they are perfectly normal, and kind of cool to have!
But we are constantly comparing ourselves. Many teenagers and young adults have turned to social media for entertainment, especially while trapped inside due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media is known for its ability to generate positivity; however, it is also a platform where people show off their best selves, and this sometimes creates false representations, leading to the development of unwanted stereotypes and dangerously high standards.
These standards supposedly have to be reached to become ‘popular’ or ‘relevant’, which can have a negative impact on us all. But it’s important to remember that we are all beautiful, braces or not. Everyone’s journey is unique, just like how every individual is.
HERE ARE OUR PERSONAL STORIES OF BRAVING THE BRACES…
KSENIA: For me, I struggled to get used to braces. My thoughts on them were negative: the constant scratching and cutting of the sharp wires against my cheeks, and the funny look they created annoyed me. The only thing I could look forward to was the relief of one day having them removed.
When the orthodontist finally unfastened those vexing metal wires, I felt like a large weight on my shoulders had been lifted. I honestly felt free. It was a bit odd at first though, not having to wake up to pain in my cheeks, not having a lisp, and not having people continuously asking me what it’s like with braces. I realised I had got used to them as time passed. Now I look back on my journey with those pesky braces, and I realise how important my friends and family were. Being supported by those who loved me, I learnt that I should accept myself and learn to love my smile, even if I had braces on.
LOUISE: Contrary to Ksenia, I enjoyed my experience with braces, and the blue spots on my teeth, experiencing almost no pain. However, when I first got my braces removed, I remember the feeling of wanting to hide away, and missing my quirky metallic smile. My new slimy and ‘flawless’ smile annoyed me – I felt so bare without my braces.
However, that feeling soon went away when my friends saw me and commented on how nice my new straight teeth looked, assuring me that I was just not used to them. Now, almost half a year after getting them removed, I’m finally starting to understand how much my braces journey has taught me about growth and sacrifice, and how I should love myself and my smile whether with braces or without.
After going through this experience, we’d come to accept and to show off our braces without allowing anyone to drag us down about our looks or lisps. We have to admit that there were times when they really affected us in a negative way, but we didn’t allow it to continue for long. Braces are not the end of your life. They’re just an obstacle on your hiking trail that you have to get over. With the support of friends and family, you can continue on your journey up the mountain and reach the top with a great smile for every celebratory photo!