Braces are a part of life for most of us and the benefits they bring are very important. If you’re wearing braces right now, you know that eventually your smile will be brighter and you’ll feel more comfortable when you eat. However, feeling insecure because of the wires and brackets that cover your teeth is normal. If the possibility of visible braces stresses you out, consider looking for less obvious dental treatment options, minimizing the appearance of your braces or using tactics that take the focus off the braces.
Looking for Less Invisible Dental Treatment Options
Use ceramic or “clear” braces. While traditional braces aren’t as big as they used to be, they’re still made of metal that contrasts sharply against white teeth. Ask an orthodontist (a doctor who specializes in braces treatment) if ceramic braces could be a possible alternative for your orthodontic needs. Ceramic braces are made of ceramic material that is the color of teeth. Braces of this type are often referred to as “clear” braces because the ceramic provides an effective camouflage effect. Some ceramic braces even use wires that are the color of your teeth to further minimize the appearance of your braces.
Ceramic braces are not as strong as metal braces. This means that the orthodontist will need to make gradual adjustments and may take longer to treat your teeth.
The orthodontist will attach the wire to the ceramic bracket using a ligature or rubber that is clear or the same color as the tooth. Over time the color of the ligature or rubber may become slightly stained, reducing the invisible nature of the ceramic wire. However, since the components will be replaced every time it is checked, the stain will not be a serious problem.
Ceramic braces are usually more expensive than traditional metal braces. To minimize the extra cost, consider asking for ceramic braces to only be placed on the parts of your mouth that are visible when you smile — for example, on your upper front teeth.
Consider the use of lingual braces . Lingual braces , sometimes called hidden braces, are placed behind your teeth. The orthodontist will take an impression of your tooth and then send it to the laboratory for a special bracket to be made . This bracket is then cemented to the back of your teeth. Lingual braces then function much like traditional braces in that they apply gentle, continuous pressure to align your teeth properly.
Because they are completely custom made, lingual braces are much more expensive than traditional braces.
Lingual braces are near your tongue and roof of your mouth, which means they can sometimes irritate these areas. Using wax braces can help with this problem. Adjusting to the presence of a foreign object near your tongue can also make your speech a bit slurred. Over time, most wearers are able to adjust to the lingual wire they are wearing and can speak normally.
Use clear aligners . Aligners — sometimes called “invisible braces” — are a special, removable and transparent set of appliances that are usually worn for about two weeks each, as much as possible 24 hours a day. Each aligner slowly pushes your teeth into their ideal position.
Aligners are also more expensive than traditional braces.
Aligners are usually used only for minor repairs. Major orthodontic problems will likely require the help of traditional braces.
Consider whether you have sufficient self-discipline to wear aligners properly. Aligners should only be removed when eating or brushing and flossing your teeth.
Minimizing the Appearance of Braces
Avoid eating certain types of food in public. Avoid overly chewy foods such as bagels or licorice candies . Food like this can stick to your teeth, draw people’s attention to your mouth and embarrass you. Also, avoid any food that is too sticky. This type of food can be left on the teeth which will then attract people’s attention. Sticky foods can also cause damage to the wires and brackets of your braces.
Smile with your mouth closed. If you’re not confident about how your teeth look with braces on, teach yourself how to smile naturally with your lips closed. By doing this you will hide the braces from view.
Keep in mind that if smiling with your mouth closed isn’t natural for you, it can look awkward or forced. Trying too hard to hide your braces can have the opposite effect and draw people’s attention to your mouth.
Practice in front of a mirror and determine what you look like the most natural and confident. A confident smile draws people’s attention to your personality, not your braces, whether the braces are visible or not.
Change your hairstyle. This trick will draw people’s attention away from your mouth and cause them to focus on other parts of your face. Try a new haircut. Cut your hair shorter or switch to bangs or a layered cut. Try a new hair color — even crazy colors like pink, blue or purple. If you want something less drastic, just try a different hairstyle like curls or style your hair in an elaborate braid. If you’re a guy, try experimenting with new hair styling products. People’s attention will be focused on your new look, not on your braces.
Try adding hair accessories such as hats, headbands or ribbons. These accessories will draw people’s attention away from your mouth and add a nice accent to your outfit.
A new hairstyle can also boost your confidence which can be especially helpful if you’re feeling embarrassed about your braces.
Use bright colored eye shadow. Interesting new colors like blue, bluish green or purple can draw attention away from your mouth and toward your eyes. You can also try a smoky eye look that will bring out the intensity of your eyes.
If you don’t wear makeup, try wearing bright glasses or sunglasses. These objects also draw people’s attention to your eyes.
Use lip makeup products that give a matte finish . Lip gloss gives a radiant, reflective look. This will allow the metal in your braces to bounce and shine from your lips. Instead, try using a matte lipstick whose color almost closely matches your lip color. You may also not use lipstick at all. This way, your lips will look natural and normal, so people’s attention will be elsewhere on your face.
Avoid bright colored lipsticks like red. Lipstick like this draws more attention to the mouth which will further accentuate the braces instead of hiding them.
Focus on the Positive Aspects of Braces
Remind yourself of the benefits of braces. Braces are a problem in the relatively short term with long term benefits. Using the right perspective will help you deal with your current feelings, anxiety or embarrassment.
Imagine yourself after the braces are removed, smiling with a row of beautiful teeth.
Do a quick internet search for pictures of celebrities wearing braces. The list of famous personalities who have used braces is almost endless, including Prince Harry, actress Emma Watson and footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Remember that a milkshake is only a sensible dinner choice during one stage in your life — that is, in your braces years!
Decorate your braces. The wires of most traditional braces are held in brackets with rubber which are produced in a variety of colours. Using trending colors, school colors, or other festive color combinations will turn your braces into a stunning fashion accessory. If you’ve dressed up in a special color for your school birthday party, matching braces will only be part of your make-up.
Use your experiences to develop a sense of caring for others. Feeling awkward or uneasy about your braces can be a good reminder of how important it is to look at someone beyond their appearance. Your braces are a temporary nuisance with long term benefits. While some people persist with a permanent “different” appearance due to birth defects, physical disabilities, or other things that are beyond their control. Be a defender of kindness and you will help both yourself and others.