I Was a Brace Face … at 30

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What’s it like having adult braces?

Interesting, to say the least, but also much more than I expected.

I’m a flight attendant, so I consider a great smile essential to my job. I’d always wanted perfectly straight teeth, but where I grew up in Greece, braces weren’t common -- even among kids. When I moved to the United States in my mid-twenties, however, I noticed a lot of people wearing braces here. I found the courage to do it at age 30. I originally considered invisible braces, but they were too expensive, so I opted for a white porcelain setting.

At first I was naturally a bit embarrassed of my new appearance. There I was, front and center, standing exposed among a sea of seated passengers. I’d look down the aisle and feel as if everyone was staring at me and my mouth. But almost immediately, I recognized that my braces actually attracted people in a good way. Those who’d had braces themselves or were considering them would approach me with compliments and questions. It was as if we belonged to the same club and shared some special understanding. My braces even turned out to be a great guy magnet. Men used them quite often as a conversation starter -- and I actually ended up dating one admirer for a while!

My adult braces also turned out to be my new favorite fashion accessory. At first, I only used clear rubber bands to avoid any extra attention. But after a while, I decided to test-drive a splash of color: light blue, then pink and eventually fuchsia. I even started to coordinate my rubber band colors with certain significant events: When I went on an island vacation, I’d wear light blue ones to match the sea. In October, I’d wear pink bands for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I had my braces on for three years, and I honestly grew to love them. I encourage any adult who is considering braces to set their fear aside and just go for it. My teeth are super-straight now, and I love my new smile. And I can honestly say that I actually miss my braces!

by Angeliki Karamberi