Updated: Mar 22, 2021
The headline sounds pretty dramatic, right? I couldn't possibly be serious...but I am.
Having straight teeth really did change the trajectory of my life and had benefits I couldn’t imagine.
In my ugly duckling stage (around 8 years old) I had what many would call ‘fang teeth.’ You know them as the pointy anchor teeth that are slightly higher in the gumline than the rest of the teeth and stick out, giving the appearance of a vampire. When you’re a pre-teen, the last thing you want to be likened to is a blood-sucking mystical creature.
I went through that phase for several years, and then around the age of 12, my parents thought that it would be a good idea to look into straightening my teeth. They themselves never had their teeth straightened and my older brother was blessed with reasonably straight teeth, so it was a new process for my parents that required some research on their part. After talking to several of their friends with kids, my parents decided it was worth the investment. More than 15 years later, I’m so glad they did.
I got traditional braces (think wires and brackets that have colors) when I was 13 and had them on for nearly 2 years. If I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten Invisalign. The metal brackets frequently cut the inside of my lip, forcing me to carry around a little plastic case full of dental wax that would provide a cushion. I also often got food stuck around the brackets (I remember a particularly paniced time in middle school where I had to run to the bathroom to remove food around my bracket before giving a speech in front of my class).
Fortunately I survived traditional braces and that’s when I reaped the rewards of straight teeth. While I was never a shy kid, when I got my braces off I was much more gregarious and found myself smiling more. I developed a heartier, toothy laugh that I didn’t have previously. I noticed the compliments came soon after. As I’ve gotten a little older, more strangers comment on how nice and healthy my teeth look.
Not only do they look healthy, but they arehealthy. Now that I don’t have those fang teeth (and other malalignments that I didn’t even know I had), it’s easier for me to brush and floss, which means that I have healthier gums. This is a turn leads to easier, less painful visits to my dental hygienist (hi Myra!). Having straight teeth had also saved me money because due to my improved hygiene, I don’t get cavities and have fewer visits to the dentist (but I still get my biannual cleanings!).
All of this plus the improved confidence I felt served as an impetus for me to become a dentist and help others achieve this for themselves too. It’s such a joy for me to pass it forward. I highly encourage all my patients to look into straightening their teeth for all the numerous benefits.