On being a bride-to-be with braces

What I really love about all of the wedding related submissions we have here at AOW, is that they often cover topics that other blogs just don’t. And not only that, they take these topics and really delve into them, and explore the emotions and feelings that they bring up. Then we all have grown-up, sensible discussions about how we’ve been affected by something similar and resolved it, or just lending support, and, well, basically, you guys rock and I love you all. 

Before I start getting all embarassing and hugging people, I give you Helen…


Growing up, I hated my teeth. Actually it was only one tooth that I really couldn’t stand. For anyone dental-savvy (or interested) it was the lateral incisor on my right and it stuck out at an angle. I would take a bite of an apple and look at the impression my teeth had left and feel loathing at the stupid tooth that stuck out at a jaunty angle as if it were shouting ‘look at me!!’. I would desperately try pushing it in with my fingers as if that would make it pop back into its rightful place and would try sucking my lips to hold it back.

I went through all of my teenage years like this. You may wonder why I didn’t have orthodontic treatment as a teenager (er… like everyone *else* did) , but my parents firmly believed that it was wrong to interfere and that wonky teeth are ‘characterful’. While I’ve wished many, many, MANY times that my parents had insisted on me having my teeth straightened as a teenager, I don’t blame them at all for their decision and I respect their point of view. I totally understand that they felt they were doing the best for their child – and that they never saw it as a problem in the first place (my Mum has crooked teeth and it doesn’t bother her, besides which I don’t think they had any idea of just *how* much I hated that tooth).

Fast forward more years that I’d really like to admit (OK, until I was 37) and I’d met the man I knew was the one for me, had a good job and was generally at peace with myself – and surprisingly fairly ok with my teeth (still hating all photographs of myself and scrutinising every single one to look at how sticky-outy the thing was, but kind of used to it). I was lucky enough to be financially stable, living in my own house and earning enough to have some savings. It was at that point that I thought about getting my teeth straightened.

I went to see an orthodontist to find out some more details – and it was at this introductory appointment that I discovered that there was reason to hate more than just the one poor vilified tooth. With shock I realised that *all* of my upper teeth were in some way wonky or gone astray and it took the orthodontist to point out to me that I also had a large overbite (er… thanks for that).  All these years I’d been directing all my hatred at one poor wayward tooth when in fact all of them were at it!!

I was told that treatment would take 12-18 months to straighten just the upper teeth and 18-24 months if I also wanted to correct the overbite. With no small amount of fear and trepidation I decided to go for it (initially opting for the 12-18 month option).

For the first ten days I wondered what I had done. My teeth hurt, I couldn’t chew anything properly, food got stuck all around my mouth and worst of all I *FELT* like a surly teenager. There’s really nothing like having train track braces in your mouth to take you back to feeling like a teenager. I felt very unattractive. I was mortified.

I started ticking off the days, one by one (I still have the Post-It note on my desk – I stopped counting after nine weeks).

Eight months into the treatment, on the first night of our summer holiday, S proposed to me. I was thrilled, over the moon, excited beyond belief. Then I remembered I had braces. S suggested that we delay the wedding for two years – both in order to save enough money but also so that we could be sure that I would no longer have braces. I felt slightly deflated – I was SO excited, two years seems a *lifetime* to have to wait, but I knew he was right – he usually is.

My orthodontic treatment has continued – once it had been pointed out, the ‘overbite’ issue gnawed away at me and I was persuaded to go for the full 18-24 month option, meaning that I’ve suffered the pain and discomfort  of having had two teeth removed (not to mention the humiliation – think toothless old woman with teenage braces), so many painful ulcers that I’ve lost count, and the gut-wrenching disappointment of the two-year mark passing WITHOUT the end in sight.

I’ve been wedding dress shopping and back for my first wedding dress fitting – exciting days trying on beautiful dresses but dampened a little by seeing a mouthful of metal grinning back at me from the mirror. Yuk. It’s hard to feel beautiful, graceful or bridal with a gobful of springs and wires!

Now, with 15 weeks until we leave for the wedding (abroad), I have *approximately* 10-14 weeks until my orthodontic treatment will end and finally, after 2.5 years, I will be free  from my ‘Metal Mickey’ teeth! (That’s not to say that I’m not currently stressing about the tightness of the schedule and still worrying about whether they’ll be off in time!)

I know that I will soon forget all the heartache and discomfort, but, boy, these have been a tough couple of years. Honestly, if I’d known it would have taken this long and been such a pain (physically and emotionally) I’m not sure I would have embarked on the treatment, but I’m pretty sure that I will be pleased with the end result and very glad I’ve done it. (A bit like climbing Mt Kilimanjaro – but that’s another story!).

I am blessed to have a kind, generous, loving, patient, gorgeous man want to marry me – my wonderful S has been there to listen to all of my woes and has put up with me looking something less than my best for the last 2.5 years (and STILL he wants to marry me!). Now I just have to try to re-learn how to smile in front of a camera in time for our wedding photos!

Categories: Any Other Wedding, Body Image
5 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted March 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I had braces when I was 12. After having 3 teeth taken out at the same time I spent 2 years with those bad boys on. Not so great when you’re that age and starting high school. But my teeth came out very nice and straight. Fast forward 13 years, my wisdom teeth came in and moved them all and now my front teeth overlap slightly. It’s not massively noticeable but I can feel it and see it in pictures and am thinking about looking into braces to fix it -again!
    It’ll be so worth it when they come off and you won’t be able to stop smiling, running your tongue over your teeth and enjoying the fact your lips aren’t cut to shreds all the time! Good luck with the wedding x

    • Posted March 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Linsey, I’m exactly the same! So frustrating that having gone through all that once it wasn’t lasting.

      Has anyone on here had invisalign?

      • Kate
        Posted March 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        I’ve had invisalign, I didn’t finish my orthodontic treatment as a vain teenager but I always hated my teeth as an adult. I don’t think invisalign is suitable for all problems though. It isn’t a pain free option but is less embarrassing and now I have a wire on the inside of my upper and lower teeth (totally invisible) that will hopefully prevent anymore wonkiness!

  2. Posted March 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    In my early teens I had four teeth taken out and years of mouth metal to bring my Bugs Bunny style overbite back into line (I have a very small jaw, apparently). I completely sympathise with the pain and discomfort, I’m certain the reason most people have it done during their teenage years is because they’re already so full of angst and moaning, that the addition of some extra mouth-related whining just blends in. And oh my goodness, the joy of eating an apple without cutting it into cubes when you get them off. Best apple I ever ate.

    Unfortunately they didn’t take out any of my lower teeth, and now my wisdom teeth are through my lower jawline is overly crowded and it’s all gone a bit wonky. I don’t have time to fix it before the wedding, so I have practiced smiling so it doesn’t show. Of course this won’t work because on the day I’m certain I’ll be grinning like a big old loon. Don’t worry about relearning to smile, on the day you’ll be so full of joy that it will come naturally. And braces or not, you will look stunning.

    K x

  3. Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    There is a viable alternative to braces called Invisalign. They are great and my friend got married wearing them.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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