When the Braces Came Off

Thank you Dr. K
Thank you Dr. K

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. 

Dolly Parton

I changed my profile picture on Facebook this week to the one above. Boy, did I get the comments. I was blushing. 🙂 You probably don’t know this about me, but I wore braces for what felt like half of my life. It really wasn’t half of my life but to me it seemed that way.

The radiant, lovely smile I possess now I never take for granted. It took me years to get it and so, in gratitude, I want to pass along my story for anyone who might be wishing for a change.

Yes, this is really me!
Yes, this is really me!

First, let me tell you I smiled all the time as a small child. In looking at pictures of myself at a young age, I was always happy and showing teeth in all my photos. When my permanent teeth came in, that was when things began to change.

I must have inherited a small mouth and large teeth. When my two front teeth came in, they were pointed in a V shape. Most of the rest of my front teeth were crooked as well. My mouth was a train wreck of sorts and my parents took a very conservative approach to this problem.

Since my Dad had lost all of his teeth after the second world war (poor nutrition and lack of a dentist in India where he was stationed), he didn’t want any of my teeth pulled. And since orthodontics was not really in vogue yet, we ended up at a regular dentist who was trying to move my teeth using very traditional methods. Mostly, he used a plain retainer and wired my teeth to that retainer.

I believe I wore this retainer for approximately four years or so (with very little change) until a friend of the family graduated from dental school, specializing in orthodontics. Dr. K. took one look at my mouth and told my parents I had to have four teeth removed. I clearly remember my mother saying “Those spaces had better close up afterwards!” to which Dr. K. replied, “Don’t worry, they will.”

I had the four teeth pulled and Dr. K began his work. He put “railroad tracks” on the teeth in front of and behind the then open spaces in my mouth. I swear it was less than a year later that my front teeth straightened out completely. I continued to wear full braces during my senior year in high school, and then through three years of college.

Braces off- One happy camper
Braces off! I was one happy camper that Christmas!

The timing was amazing. I graduated from college and Dr. K. took my braces off. It had been years since my teeth saw the light of day. I began smiling with a full on, bright smile. I couldn’t smile enough. It was like the sun coming out after a long heavy rain.

If you are thinking about fixing a problem in your smile, and whether you are young or old, I want you to go for it. The temporary inconvenience is worth the permanent improvement. I had my son and daughter in braces at a young age to save them the hassle of having it done later. Plus, it’s worth it for the self esteem alone. No one wants to go through life with crooked teeth.

Thank you to Dr. K. and his staff (Mrs. S.!) for what they did for me. My life was changed by their dedication and knowledge. I’m grateful every day for my beautiful smile.

My kids, Michelene and John and their beautiful smiles
My kids, Michelene and John and their beautiful smiles

You might not hear from me for a week or so. I’m headed for vacation this Saturday!

Join me on my graceful journey.

17 Replies to “When the Braces Came Off”

  1. Hi Joanne, you have a beautiful smile and so do your kids. Your smile was the first thing I noticed when I first met you. I am sure you make alot of people feel very comfortable & happy when you smile.

  2. A wonderful story of endurance, Joanne! I do love the way you write. Your smile is beautiful and I can see why you are so proud of it.

    Maybe teeth bigger than the mouth is a Mediterranean issue, as I have the same thing. Though my teeth weren’t very crooked, they did have to “make their stand” in my mouth. And my bite isn’t in the best shape. Now that I’ve lost a couple I do my best to love them just the same.

    Your orthodontist did a great job!

    Blessings for many things to smile about,
    Marianne xo

    1. I never thought of the Mediterranean angle. Maybe that is so!
      I will be smiling big time by the weekend when I stick my toes in the sand in Florida. It’s been three years since a real vacation and I am ready.
      Blessings to you!

  3. Such a gorgeous smile, Joanne! Beautiful lady, too!
    I was 35 when I decided to get braces–full mouth–and my high school students were great, giving me advice and encouragement. Eighteen months later I had straight teeth and a better bite that relieved a lot of pressure on my jaw. I’ve never regretted the process, but there were a few broken wires and dental payments along the way that were pretty difficult!

    1. Yes, it is a bumpy process to straight teeth. Still, it is worth the effort in the long run.
      How nice that your students were supportive. I had a co-worker a few years ago that got braces in her early 40’s. I’m sure that was no fun but her smile now is gorgeous!

  4. It did seem like we were in braces FOREVER! But, even with braces, I think we both smiled A LOT! Enjoy your blogs Jo. Have a great time on vacation!

    1. Hi Kathy, I forgot that you had braces too! We were all in braces!
      I will have a good time in Florida. Going with my mom and sisters. We are all looking forward to the getaway.
      xo Jo

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