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When Mom Gets Braces

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My daughter got her braces off last year and my son will get his off next year. I look at their gorgeous smiles and get jealous.

I had straight teeth once upon a time. Like my children, I had braces when I was in middle school. Like them, after I got my braces off I was instructed to wear a retainer to, uh, retain the position of my newly straight teeth. I dutifully did so for decades — not every night, but at least every week.

Until I didn’t.

After too many weeks, I was unable to fit my retainers into my mouth. Since that discovery several years ago, I have watched with dismay as a few of my teeth turned and my bite shifted. I resigned myself to living with the gradual march of my pearly whites away from order and toward chaos.

Adults in Braces: A Growing Trend

But wait. There’s no law that says you can have braces only once. There’s no rule against a mom taking care of her own wants once in awhile. And according to the American Association of Orthodontists, I am not alone in my desire to have a stunning smile at midlife.

So I raised a trial balloon with my kids’ orthodontist, Dr Deepa Vyas. “Do you ever work with adults?”

“We do!” she said, showing me her own dazzling smile.

“Is it weird?” I probed. “I never see anyone over voting age in your chairs.” I sweep my arm indicating each of the reclined chairs in her state-of-the-art office in Arvada.

“Not weird at all,” she replied. “We are seeing more and more parents coming in for treatment.”

“Really??” I asked, incredulously.

“Yup.” she said, “Lots of adults are thinking about the appearance and long-term health of their teeth and their bite. Just like we take care of their kiddos, we can help adults fix issues of crowding, spacing, tooth wear, bite, and periodontal problems. Eating well and smiling well are not luxuries.”

My Orthodontic Treatment

With that, the seed was planted. I began dreaming of once again having a stunning smile, of straightening out a rogue tooth on my lower jaw. I arranged for Dr Vyas to do a series of x-rays and measurements, right in her office, which led her to design a plan of treatment for me.

Because of the crowding on my lower teeth, Invisalign would be an option for me only if I were willing to “shave” my teeth (I didn’t even google to find out what that meant) and extend the term of treatment. I decided on regular old braces for a shorter period of time, understanding from Dr Vyas that they would be minimally noticeable thanks to clear brackets affixed to my teeth.

Last month, I once again got braces. I went into the orthodontist’s office with one look and came out with another. In 9 months or so, I’ll have something different to show you.

Call me brace-face if you will (as one of my students good-naturedly did at my classroom unveil), but still, I am excited to be treating myself to the gift of eating well and smiling well through the coming decades.

In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

See also: When Should You Make Your Child’s First Orthodontist Appointment?

Looking for an orthodontist in Arvada, Wheatridge, Golden, or Westminster? Find Dr Vyas on her website or on Facebook. To find an orthodontist near you, visit the American Association of Orthodontists,

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adoption bookLori Holden, has worn quite a path to the orthodontist’s office over the years. She is mom to a teen daughter and a teen son and she blogs from Denver at LavenderLuz.com. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available in paperback, hard cover, audio and e-book versions. It makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.

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