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Embrace Your Braces

by Ellie Shaddox

Photo by Maile School

I’ve had braces for just over two years now, so I’ve learned to accept that they’ve become a part of my personality and image. If you’ve just gotten your braces-or have had them for a while- it can be hard to accept them.

I’ll be honest, I was a little unsure about my braces for a few weeks after I got them. I felt worried and, frankly, a little embarrassed about my new metal-mouth. That was until I started seeing a difference. My mouth got wider (thanks to the palate expander), my teeth looked straighter and more even, and it even started making it easier to eat! I knew that if I wanted to get the full effect of the braces, I would have to learn to embrace them. 

With a lot of commercials and modeling shoots, they tell people with braces to close their mouths, and when enough people tell you that you start believing there is something wrong with the way your mouth looks. The key to solving that problem is to look in the mirror and be confident with your smile. It also helps to befriend other people who have braces so you can talk to them about any problems with braces and instantly receive support. 

Once you start embracing your braces, you are bound to have a more positive experience. After I started feeling confident and proud of my braces, good things started coming my way. I even booked a job because of my braces. And get this-they had me brush my teeth with blue powdered pixie stix candy! It was awesome. 

Aside from the cold sores and headaches, braces aren’t all that bad. It’s also important to remember that you're not alone. Over FOUR MILLION people in the US alone have braces, which means if you feel alone in your orthodontic journey, you can turn anywhere for support or empathy. 

Photo by Lenka Drstakova

Along with embracing your braces, there are also a few steps you can take in order to get the best possible outcome and also to let them coexist with modeling.

  1. Brush your teeth. You don’t want yellow splotches all over your teeth when you get them off! That would result in a stern talking-to from your agent, parents, and/or orthodontist.

  2. Follow instructions. If you don’t wear the gear you’re supposed to (like night gear or rubber bands), or wear it too much, your teeth could come out looking much worse than they did before the ordeal.

  3. Don’t miss appointments. Every time you miss an appointment, your due date gets extended! It’s already hard enough having them on for years, much less having them on for another extended period.

If none of that helps you feel free to take some advice from me, a seasoned braces veteran:

-Once you accept the fact that you are now an official member of the Brace Face Club, you’ll be generally more nonchalant about your mouth.

-Even if you don’t want to smile at first because you are self-conscious, smiling right out of the gate will help you be more comfortable with showing people your teeth. This ability comes in handy if you are a model and must do shoots that require smiling!

-Chances are someone you know has braces, had braces, or will have them. It’s exponentially better to talk to another metal mouth instead of keeping those feelings to yourself. More often than not, the feeling will most likely be mutual between you and your confidant.

And remember, if you ever feel lost or confused by the whole process, talk to your parents, orthodontist, or doctor for guidance.

Brace yourselves!


Photo by Rose Anduxar, Candid Artistry

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