There is an interesting stigma around adults wearing braces, and so we interviewed an adult who had two different experiences wearing braces and what that experience was like for them.
“Oh sure. It was actually pretty funny in hindsight though at the time it was really, well, not so funny. At first, I got those metal braces. I was happy to have them because I had always really wanted to get braces but my parents couldn’t afford them when I was young. Once I was in my 40s, I decided it would be a good thing to do for myself since I was fortunate enough to be able to afford these treatments.”
What was your experience with having metal braces as an adult?
“I was just so embarrassed. It blew my mind how differently people looked at me. I kept noticing people’s eye dart nervously to my mouth, hoping I wouldn’t notice their jumping eyes. But they knew I noticed and it was just, well it was pretty darn awkward. I was more self conscious than I had ever been in my life, even with my very crooked teeth. I decided it wasn’t worth the time, money or humiliation. I felt like no one could take me seriously.”
Did you find a solution that felt desirable to you.
“Why, yes, I did. See how I am not afraid to smile from ear to ear? See how straight my pearly whites are? I found an orthodontics office that specialized in adult braces. They told me that I could get invisible braces called Invisalign that would be just as effective getting my teeth straight as metal braces are. I jumped at the opportunity to try them. And guess what? They worked! And no one could really tell I was wearing anything. And when people did notice that I had something on my teeth (it’s kind of like a retainer) no one had any second thoughts about me wearing them.”
Do you have thoughts on why people are more socially accepting of teenagers wearing metal braces over adults?
“Oh I think it’s all about the socialization of age. Forgive me, I was a Sociology major a long time ago. But really, adults are supposed to act in this pre-decided way, if you will, and if you step outside of that box, people have a hard time accepting you and being around you. You would think that young people would have a hard time wearing braces during that awkward time of development physically and even socially, but the norm is that adolescents wear metal braces so there isn’t as much push back. Kids who are the most popular wear braces, so really there isn’t a whole lot of room for kid’s to be bullied about it. Adults on the other hand, well, there is plenty of room for that. Unless you get Invisalign like I did. I would highly suggest it!”