Give Me Back My Five Bucks

An update on my braces

I’ve had a few of you ask for an update on my braces, so here we go…

It’s been about 2.5 months now, and it has taken a long time to get used to them. At the beginning, I literally wanted to rip them out of my mouth. I thought I looked hideous, they were super uncomfortable, and they were always cutting up the inside of my mouth. They still do sometimes, but my mouth is now a lot tougher than it used to be.

This will make me sound like a total dork and maybe I’ll regret telling the internet this secret about me, but when I first got my braces, I spent a lot of time having conversations with myself in the mirror. I wanted to see what I looked like when I talked, how I sounded, when my braces showed the most, and how noticeable they were. At the beginning, I was very self-conscious about them. Especially because I was newly single, and panicking that I would remain that way for the next 2 years of my life. But it’s really not as bad as I thought it would be.

Here are a few observations:

  • My braces are not that noticeable. You can’t actually see my braces unless I smile or laugh, according to the mirror conversations I had with myself. I have full lips which help to hide everything pretty well. So to put that theory to the test, I had coffee with two friends who didn’t know I had gotten braces. Maybe it was because they were both guys (and perhaps not as observant), but they didn’t even notice I had braces on until I pointed them out and smiled widely. They were shocked. And then perhaps blinded by the sun reflecting off the metal.
  • Dating is significantly less awkward than anticipated. As a friend told me when I first got my braces, if a guy is willing to dismiss me because of a temporary thing like braces, then they aren’t worth my time anyway. So true. Apparently I’m still somewhat appealing to the opposite sex, since nobody has walked out on me in disgust. Krystal 1, Mouth of Metal 0.
  • Eating in restaurants or in social situations is lame. I love food, so I hate having to consider what I’m eating. When I’m out with friends, I really need to scrutinize the menu. No salads (in public), no food with little bits of stuff in them, no meat, nothing chewy, nothing too crunchy, or gooey. I eat sandwiches and burgers with a knife and fork when there’s nothing else available to eat, but mostly find myself sticking to soup.
  • I have lost weight. Since I got my braces on, I have lost about 12 pounds. Which is a lot for someone who is only 5’2″ and wasn’t big to begin with. This is partially due to ramping up my running over the past few months, but mostly because of my diet. I am more aware of what I eat now, consume very little meat, and rarely eat any junk food. I also don’t eat unless I’m actually hungry, which is something I’ve struggled with for years (I’ve always been a snacker). It’s not that I have the willpower now, it’s just that brushing and flossing after eating every single time is a huge pain, and I’m an inherently lazy person.

Overall, I’m still happy that I decided to get braces. As much as I dislike them, I know it will be worth it in the end. Good things come to those who wait, right? I think that rings true with almost everything in life. The money it will end up costing me ($6,980) is no object when the end result means less dental problems in the future. Oh, and nice teeth. I still wish I had gotten them a lot earlier in my life, and my advice to anyone who is thinking of getting braces is to get them as soon as you can afford to.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. supermomboots says:

    How long do you have to wear them?
    My recent post My weekend was ALLCAPSAWESOME

  2. petitengineer says:

    If you have non-metal braces on top (and I think you do) avoid Tim Horton's Steeped Tea. It seems to stain them really bad after just one cup, and no amount of brushing will clean them. I had braces (again) in third year university, and learned the hard way. Yellow braces are just not attractive and having to get them polished at each visit is frustrating for you and your orthodontist. If you must have Tim Horton's tea, ask for a tea bag instead.

    Also, pick up that burger, eat popcorn, live a little :D Obviously avoid sticky, hard, and super chewy things, but in my experience of almost six years (not a typo) of braces, mine only broke once on a un-toasted slice of Wonderbread. If you want to chew gum, pick up some Freedent (it's for people with dentures). You can find it at Dollorama. Why are you avoiding meat?

    Lastly, did your ortho give you the little stick brush to go between the wires? I kept them in my purse to clean up quickly after meals instead of brushing and flossing when I'm out and about.

    • gmbmfb says:

      Thanks for the tip on the Tim Horton's steeped tea! :)

      Yeah, at the beginning I was trying to follow the eating rules they give you, but lately have been straying. It's hard to stay away from my favourite foods! :) But in restaurants or out with friends, I'm still not going to pick up a burger and eat it normally … or eat a salad for that matter. It's just way too much effort to clean up my teeth afterwards. Not worth it. I'll save it for when I'm eating alone at home.

      I'm avoiding meats because most of it is pretty chewy and I find it just ridiculously obnoxious to clean my braces afterwards. Especially because I always have to floss after eating meat (even when I didn't have braces), and flossing these days takes at least 10 minutes.

  3. Vanessa says:

    Getting braces was the best decision I ever made, and I thank my parents every day for paying for me to have them as a kid. Glad to hear they're going well for you!
    My recent post That whole person vs half of a couple thing

  4. chipsforsupper says:

    I want braces. But I don't want to wear them or pay for them. Just fix my teefs!

  5. gmbmfb says:

    Yeah… good luck with that! haha

  6. Guest says:

    Braces are definitely worth it in the end. I had braces for over two years as an adult (ceramic on top only) and while I also found eating to be more restricted (and requiring a discreet tiny mirror when eating out!), it was all worth it when they were removed! Just make sure you wear your retainer once they're off – so many people slack off on that part and often end up getting braces a second time!

  7. munchkin says:

    yeah I had braces when I was a teen…at first i didnt eat as much or eat all the normal stuff I would normally eat. But then eventually I just didnt care. Honestly you will get used to it and be able to eat anything. I eventually stopped wearing the retainer…i mean did they really expect me to wear it my whole life?? I hope not. Even after i had the braces my teeth were never perfect, i still had a tiny over bite, and I still do. I think they have moved a little since, but it doesnt even bother me and I couldnt see myself getting braces again.

  8. TLC says:

    I got them when I was about 12, had them for 3 1/2 years. It was awful, but worth it looking back on pre-brace face photos!
    My recent post Bucket List

  9. Renee says:

    Although I have never known the joy of having braces, you totally made me laugh out loud.
    My recent post 20 Something Personal Finance Goals

  10. Diva says:

    I've got braces on my lower teeth. I've had them for over two years due to the one year out of work. But just something to note, whenever you get an adjustment your mouth will be raw again, your tongue will twist as you get used to where everything is in your mouth again. Cheers!
    My recent post Carnival of PF- The Surprise Mid-Week Edition

  11. tampa says:

    Some would recommend using dental wax, but personally, putting it is such a hassle. i just let it be, and eventually the mucosa(skin inside the mouth) will thicken due to the rubbing action of the brackets and wires to your mucosa.

  12. Amy Turner says:

    The one other good thing that happened to you apart from the beautiful teeth later, is the weight loss, and I really envy you that! Losing 12 pounds (for me) is a great feat. Though I have never, as yet, come to that, with all the years of struggling to trim down a little. All I’ve succeeded is around 2 or 3 pounds, nothing more. Conclusion: getting braces is one certified method of weight losing, and don’t let the diet experts refute this fact!

  13. Caitlin P says:

    How old are you?

  14. Isarian says:

    I currently have a self-activated nickle-titanium expander to fix my arch, and then braces going on a few months. I’m glad to see someone else my age-ish going through the same process!

  15. Tashia says:

    So glad you posted this blog. It’s nice to get a womans perspective on adult braces. Like you, I thought I was sold out to Invisalign, however after having my consultation I decided to go with the ceramic braces also. I have a fairly good idea of what it will entail because my son is currently in braces also (for a little over a year now) but it was nice to read things from your point of view! It’s a lot different being 13 with braces, or 33! Ha which is what I’ll be come March 30th 2012. A 33 year old single woman with braces….and proud! =D

  16. Rachel says:

    This post is old, but I feel like commenting on it – I got braces about four days ago and aside from feeling like I’ve been making out with a bear trap, I totally hear what you’re saying about the weight loss.

    The way my brace (top row only, ceramic) sits because of my current bite, I cannot actually connect my upper and lower jaw, and I don’t have a bite guard. So basically, I cannot at all chew (and it isn’t a case of getting used to it, either, my teeth won’t connect for 4 months).

    Liquid diet for me! I’m finding that I’m not eating enough though. Like today, I think I consumed about 500 calories before I went and ate a massive bowl of ice-cream just to make it up. I just can’t stand mushing up my diet!

  17. cynthia says:

    I will be turning 40 in 3 months and I got braces 3 months ago. I has been hell. I had to get a tooth pulled because there was not enough space and it has been embarrassing having no tooth. But I look forward to the future and I’m excited. I also have lost some weight because of the diet. But I think we all can endure some pain if we just want a great smile. Good luck to everyone . Cynthia .

  18. colleen says:

    Cynthia, thanks for your post. I’m 48 and have a baby eye tooth that I’m having removedn new tooth to be pulled down and going with the tin grin. Of course this is also drivers lic. Photo year and 15th anniv. Pic at work. Really bummed…like a middle aged teenager…oh good times. Nice to know I’m not alone.

  19. Putuplu says:

    I’m still on the fence. I’m in my early 30s and the prospect of bling in the mouth, 10 minute flossings and wicked pain, PLUS I get to shell out about 7k for all that is just daunting.

    Although I must say that the fast track diet side effect has me thinking…

    Thanks for sharing. There should be a site for brace-folk (pre / post / and scared-$#!tless to share/vent. If nothing at all, it would be an interesting time waster :)

  20. Leona says:

    How much did you pay for the initial down payment for your braces?

  21. Laura says:

    Hi Krystal-good for you with the braces! I know your post is old, but as a veteran of braces (age 12-16), I have one piece of advice: make sure you wear that retainer FOREVER! I stopped wearing mine and, at 24. had crooked bottom teeth again! I paid my dentist to do some enamel shaving between my teeth (sounds worse than it is), retainer fitting, and with a little effort, he got the two or three on the bottom to straighten out so they are MUCH better than they were. This was when I was 24; I am 48 now, and guess what? I am still wearing my retainer (just got a new one made) and I notice that most adults my age around me have that same crowding problem but never did anything about it. My daughter got her braces off a few months ago, and her ortho gave her a permanent bottom retainer (already attached to her bottom teeth) for that very reason – that crowding of the bottom teeth is practically inevitable as we age!

  22. Kathy says:

    I’m 58 and taking the plunge in less than a week…Im super nervous about what to expect as far as the discomfort and the whole process in general.I hope I’m making the right decision!

    • Ralph says:

      Hi Kathy,
      I’m a 57 year old male. I just got ceramic braces upper and metal braces lower in early January 2015. Teeth are moving fast – I’m getting adjusted every two weeks. Bottom back two teeth aren’t hooked up, yet (I don’t have wisdom teeth). Initial estimate was 12 to 18 months, so looking like I’ll be more toward 12 months. Lost some weight so far, mainly due to the awkwardness of my upper back four teeth having a composite buildup to keep my upper and lower teeth/jaws from hitting each other. So, I basically eat on my four upper and lower back teeth. Feels like eating with marbles attached to my four back upper teeth. Braces cost about $7k. I live in expensive northern suburbs of NYC. Bottom teeth are damaged, so I’m looking at crowns, composite work and possibly veneers. Big bucks. Sad part is I had braces in second grade and got best smile in high school!! I’m a grinder and the original orthodontic work angled my front upper teeth in too much. But, your teeth and digestive system are probably the most important bodily systems…

      • Hilda says:

        Hi Ralph, are your ceramic upper braces easy to maintain? Do they got stained?

        • Ralph says:

          Yes, I just brush my teeth twice a day with optic white toothpaste or ultrabrite and rinse with listerine healthywhite. It’s probably the rinse with hydrogen peroxide that keeps them the same shade. In fact, the 3M ceramic brackets look slightly whiter than my teeth now. Most people get a bleaching when they get their braces off to get rid of a brighter spot where the bracket was attached. I’m entering my fifth month and my upper teeth are almost all alligned, but the rear uppers still need to come down. My orthodontist says I’m two months ahead of where he thought I would be. That’s a good thing!

  23. Steve says:

    As a 32 year old MALE going through this process myself in March reading this and the comments have somewhat comforted me knowing I’m not the only adult metal mouth out there


    • Andrea says:

      Yea, I just got my metal put on 3 weeks ago. I’ve already inquired about switching to Invisalign but I don’t think I’ll be compliant. Looking at my teeth you wouldn’t think I would need braces either the tips are near to perfect, but my bite is causing other problems. So, for the health of my teeth I’ve opted to put on traditional braces. I had them as a teen but it didn’t fix my bite problem. So here I am in braces at 30. I’m having weight loss, problems keeping my lips over my teeth and when I smile I suddenly want to not smile because I remember I have those damn brackets protruding. My doctor said it will only be a year and I can get them off. I need to be a little more confident as an adult with braces. I hate them!!!!! I’m counting down the days until I get them off.

  24. hilary says:

    I’m 35 and getting my braces in, the next 2 weeks. Just got x-ray done. I’ve always wanted perfect straight teeth and yay, finally on my way to it!

  25. Sumayya says:

    This was a nice read and made me feel some better after reading all the comments. I;m a 36 year old mum of 3 and just had metal braces fitted. Eating is proving to be a battle and I think soup will be the best option. If i lose weight i’ll be thrilled! Ive been told 14 months. All the best everyone :-)

  26. Danielle says:

    I’m really curious about braces primarily for the bite correction. What it feel like to have a properly seated bite?

    My dentists have reccommended braces but I’ve avoided it until now, thinking they just wanted to separate me from my money since my oral health otherwise has been great. Now I’m noticing clenched jaw and headaches and I wonder if it’s because my bite is off-center.

  27. I’m getting braces @48 only on top are they going to charge me for a set

  28. I’m 48 and getting braces in 2 weeks only on top. Are they charging me for full set or top only?

  29. Kelli says:

    I am 56, and my Mom 76. We are both thinking of getting braces, since our teeth seem to become more crowded as we age. I had my consult yesterday, and Orthodontist said invisalign would not suit me, since my bite needs to be fixed. So….I would have to have good ole regular braces. My mom is 76, and will have her consult Dec. 9! We are both excited!

  30. Grace says:

    I am 60 and getting my ceramic braces in 2 weeks. I have crowding but have learned to live with it over the years. What I cannot live with is an uncomfortable bite. I have concerns about pain, damage to existing crowns and bone growth. I feel I have no other choice but to give this a try. Wish me luck.

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