The Struggle Behind My Smile (Braces, Hardship, and Despair)

You see these white shiners and you think it’s all genetics; that I was born with such perfect teeth. Sorry, but that isn’t the case. As pretentious as this sounds, I actually sacrificed a lot for the sake of my now great teeth. And no, I have no regrets about it. I don’t feel vain or narcissistic in the slightest. For me, this is nothing short of a quality of life issue.

My Youth of Crooked Teeth

Even as a kid growing up in Virginia, amongst what the liberal elite would term ‘hicks’, we knew that straight teeth equaled good and crooked teeth equaled ugly and horrible. I could see the slight disappointment in my parents’ eyes every time I smiled at them. Even in the boondocks, social judgment based on evolutionary instincts is strong; or perhaps stronger.

I was a hyperactive kid. I was funny and outgoing. This didn’t last long because as soon as kids got old enough and mean enough to begin to start learning how to climb their local dominance hierarchy, the bullying started. And my crooked teeth were just the weak point they could exploit to knock me down a peg or two.

What happened next will shock even the most hardened clickbait writers. My redneck parents, seeing how much I was suffering, decided that they would send me to a nearby orthodontist. For this intention alone, I am forever grateful for them.

My First Visit to the Aesthetic Dentist

My parents, though not so wealthy, understood my pain and suffering. The dental professional, on examination, as I recall, informed my parents that yes, my teeth were indeed very fucked up. The issue could be solved, it would just take money, more money than my parents had. Hey, what could I say, we were minimum wage earning trailer trash after all. It was a huge blow to my spirit, and I became a depressed person in a depressed town. Verdict: total bummer.

But with time comes acceptance, and I finally accepted that until I was capable of earning income on my own, I would have to live with the state of my mandibles and the negative repercussions that came with it. It wasn’t pleasant, but it made me emotionally tough.

Quit? I Don’t Know the Meaning of the Word!

Years of insults taught me the stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman emperor. My skin became as thick as a rhinoceros’ hide. To put it shortly, I endured. And I saved money wherever I could. Money; the barrier which I perceived to be my ticket to a better life. So I never quit in my pursuit and I did what I could to hustle.

The Benefits Are Clear

As I built up savings, I started researching all the benefits that braces and orthodontic treatments would give me. And what I found was that braces were more than just cosmetic, but it came with tangible health benefits as well; both physical and mental.

For one it actually made more aware of my oral health. Because of all the food that got stuck between the braces, I had to be meticulous in brushing. Further, once they were off, food no longer got trapped between my crooked teeth, yet I still maintained my super detailed brushing habits. This made for really good dental health.

And once I got my braces from a qualified orthodontist in Sutton Coldfield, I discovered even more benefits. Here are the other benefits that I found:

It Gave Me Elevated Self-Esteem.

I was no longer the butt of people’s jokes and cruel insults. I did not have to do that stupid close-mouthed smile during photos, but could show off my teeth proudly and happily. It was liberating in a way that I could not have imagined as a child.

It Gave Me Stronger Teeth

I know this sounds weird but I think my teeth actually got physically stronger. Just the stress placed on them over the years of braces simply made them more physically resilient. That’s what I feel anyway, when I bite down on food, I have no worries at all.

Eating Was a More Enjoyable Experience

When you have crooked teeth, especially as crooked as mine were, eating is not a very enjoyable experience. Once I had nice straight teeth, I was surprised at how much more I enjoyed the actual process of eating.


For those who’ve asked me whether I regret getting braces; you must be crazy. Getting braces not only made me happier, but it also taught me discipline and goal setting. Because I so desperately wanted straight teeth and knew that it was only money that was holding me back, I became a maniac. I saved diligently and worked hard. And what I learned about myself during that process was ultimately invaluable.