Fits of Wit

The Story Of My Teeth And Why I Chose Braces At 29

I was in eighth grade the first time I was bullied for my protruding teeth. If being 978th chair in the clarinet line wasn’t bad enough, I was also being called names by the stout bully who sat a few chairs ahead of me. She and her squirrelly sidekick were upset that I had a boyfriend. According to them I wasn’t attractive enough to snag the schlubby first chair trumpet nerd.

“Good luck trying to make out. You’ll bite his face off!” they joked.

It didn’t bother me so much. Because while they were busy thinking up insults I was busy necking behind the local ice cream parlor.

A few months ago the same bully requested me as a friend on Facebook. REQUEST DENIED, BITCH.

My overbite continued to get worse through high school. The dentist suggested I get my wisdom teeth pulled and a full set of braces but my mother didn’t have dental insurance or much money. That still didn’t stop me from bringing boys to my yard because I assume my milkshake was phenomenal.

Ninth Grade. Angel shirts were all the rage.

Ninth Grade. Angel shirts were all the rage.

In my freshman year of college reality hit me, hard. While most people had their braces off before graduating high school, I began getting more nervous about if I would ever get the privilege of having perfect teeth. Was it too late? One weekend I went home and begged my mother for braces.

“PLEASE. I’m already in college. It’s now or never!” I pouted.

She said she still didn’t have the money and that I was beautiful just the way I was. I didn’t want to believe it. Maybe she didn’t think I deserved nice teeth, I thought. That summer I brushed after every meal and flossed non-stop. I wanted to prove to my mother that I could take care of my teeth and that I DID deserve to have an ideal smile. At the end of the summer I presented her with my progress.

“I told you, I DON’T HAVE MONEY! Don’t ask me again!”

I sobbed. I cursed. I pushed the idea deep down where I convinced myself to never think about it again. I accepted my fate as a pretty girl with crooked teeth.

About a year later in the middle of a questionable basement party, I met the love of my life. We salsa danced in a drunken stupor and our dance continued as he proposed marriage six and a half years later. Now that I was engaged questions about my appearance started to arise once more from “concerned” family members.

“Don’t you want to look beautiful in your wedding photos?” they asked.

“I WILL look beautiful,” I explained.

Six and a half years of being in a relationship with my fiance gave me all the confidence I needed. He fell in love with ME, flaws included, and I didn’t feel right changing who I was just for a wedding. I’ve always been bothered by brides who have been pale their entire lives and all of a sudden begin living in tanning beds. When I was engaged I’d buy wedding magazines only to discover they were full of ads for plastic surgery. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without having to worry about chemical peels and boob jobs.

I got married with my signature smile and I’ve never felt more glamorous.


December 7, 2013

The medical office I was working in at the time had a gaggle of catty women who began to hate on me for no particular reason. Not even being a happy newlywed could save me from the how deep their insults hurt. They would find any little thing to pick on me for; The color of my scrubs, my hair, and especially my teeth. I went home each evening and cried while probing the internet for a new job. A friend told me that her place was hiring and I ended up where I am today.

I have a great job, more money, and a laid back office atmosphere where we all get along. I work right behind a mall which can be quite dangerous, financially speaking. After years of spending money on things I didn’t need I thought, what if I didn’t spend all this money? What are the things I could afford? I also turned 29 which really fucked with my mind.

Since I’m approaching thirty, I finally decided to make an appointment for a consult with an orthodontist. He explained the two-year process it would take for braces to align my teeth. I was concerned about money since my insurance doesn’t cover orthodontics. Luckily, there is a payment plan. But first, I had to get all four wisdom teeth extracted plus a fifth tooth extracted to make room.

Wisdom Teeth

Absolutely high off of Percocet.

For about two weeks I looked like I got curb stomped in the mean streets of Baltimore. I lived off of butternut squash soup, chocolate pudding, and agony. WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF, I though for a split second.The pain was worth it because today, 19 days after my oral surgery, I got braces. (Click on photos for larger images).

Braces smile

Clear brackets on top, metal on bottom.

There is a stigma associated with adult braces but there is even more of a stigma associated with crooked teeth. And though I feel mostly comfortable in my skin it feels good to finally be able to do this for myself. I also get an odd satisfaction of knowing I can afford something that my parents could never give me.

And even if my sexy score has now dropped lower than the 1929 stock market, I feel empowered to smile even more. I also happened to snag one of the few men in the world who thinks braces on full-grown women are hot. PLUS, these bad boys really do make my gangsta face a tad more intimidating.

Don't mess with me and my grillz.

Don’t mess with me and my grillz.

Have you ever had braces? Did you love it or hate it? Did a rubber band fling out of your mouth and kill a pigeon? Share your experiences in the comments below.


  1. Mike G.

    Yes I had them back around 1970. I used to try to gross out classmates with my retainer. I remember pain when they were tightened. I also remember having 8 teeth pulled to expedite the process. Yes, I had 8 fucking teeth pulled. Given gas for surgery. Hurled thereafter. I had it easy in some ways especially compared to my daughter. Long story won’t bore you with it.

    I think you look fine either way. But your self-image is definitely more important than any third party affirmation — especially coming from old guys like me.

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      I feel like a rockstar all braced up. Years and years of wanting this and finally obtaining is such a happy satisfaction. I thought my teeth would hurt more from the braces but I think they’re hurting more from all the smiling.

  2. Jessie Reyna

    So exciting! My teeth actually grew in super late. The last tooth I lost was just before my eighth grade graduation. Which means I had a partially grown tooth going into high school. Therefore, my dentists always said my teeth were fairly straight and I wouldn’t need braces. But I do have two vampire teeth I’ve inherited from my family, and of course entering college, my dentist finally suggested braces. Since it isn’t a life or death thing, I’ve decided to pass. If health insurances actually covered dental care, I would possibly consider it. They make it too damn expensive. Along with eye care.

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      EYE CARE. YES.
      I haven’t been to the eye doctor in quite some time even though I’ve been out of contacts for the past two years. I just wear my glasses if I’m driving or watching TV. I really want lasik but eye stuff scares the ish out of me.

      1. Jessie Reyna

        It’s sad when you have to save up for years just to go. It took me 4 years to get back to the eye doctor!

  3. Queen Sylvia

    Oh you betcha I had some mouth jewelry but it was even scarier than braces. When I changed my milky teeth with the grown-up version, the second teeth on my upper jaw grew out crooked and my bite went reverse, a.k.a. my upper jaw went neatly and nicely behind my lower jaw (as opposed to normal jaw and teeth position). My family was at a pretty bad financial shape then and I didn’t really nag about anything but one day they told me it was time.
    I was in the sixth grade, braces hadn’t really come out yet as an option in my country and I was being turned down EVERYWHERE. They all said it was too late for me and my inverted bite since I was older than 10 years. Until… one mummified version of an old dental surgeon told my parents she would fix me but it would hurt like hell because my teeth have had 7 years to position themselves firmly comfortably in my mouth. They agreed.
    And that’s how I provided myself with two pieces of dental orthotic device, or as I used to call them, the modern Inquisition. The one for the upper jaw pushed against the inner area of the mouth expanding the jaw, and the one for the lower jaw pulled the lower jaw tighter, so it would compress. If you want to imagine the pain, think of Katy Perry in the ‘TGIF’ video. It was almost that bad.
    Oh I cannot express how that shit hurt, it was like I was having a two-year non-stop broken jaws, and I couldn’t eat solid food.

    Barbaric, I know but at the time that old mummy saved my teeth when noone else was willing to. They kept saying my teeth would move and position themselves back as they were but they didn’t. I’m glad that I suffered through that when I was 12 and not 27, like now.

    But you’ll definitely appreciate it when you have the braces removed. It’s totally worth it and realllllllly helps with a whole lotta other issues in the mouth area.

    P.S. Are blowjobs possible with them braces on?

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      That sounds terrible. I’m cringing.
      Not so sure about the oral sex. I’ll let you know…

      1. Queen Sylvia

        At least they didn’t perform any surgery on me getting out my molars. Not that I have molars.
        My story sounds pretty much horrible but it’s really not that bad. Just the orthotics looked very scary and medieval but they helped me big time. I couldn’t bite things properly because of my inverted bite and I chew on them with my back teeth, and I also was dying of headache because of these efforts and because my dispositioned jaws pulled on some face nerves. Not to mention I was called a bulldog all the way through elementary and middle school. But the medical issues were real and big, and I’m grateful I did it.

  4. bensbitterblog

    I had braces when I was in 5th grade, and now my daughter with almost the same teeth I cursed her with is not going through the bracing process. By the way, there is no stigma with adult braces. Tom Cruise got them when he was older. Oh never mind. Maybe there is. Just kidding. Congrats on your braces and I hope you love them. I really embraced mine. Get it?

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      Tom Cruise got them and then went onto make another Mission Impossible so all is not lost… maybe.
      I do love them, pain and all.

      1. bensbitterblog

        They are pretty awesome. I hope you enjoy every minute of them, because you deserve them. Because you are paying for them, you will appreciate them more. (At least that’s what my mom always told me.)

  5. DitchTheBun

    I think you were gorgeous in your wedding photo!
    I had them when I was a teenager and my teeth are awesome and straight though. The only thing I would say is remember that orthodontists don’t check for holes in your teeth. I assumed (as a teen) that they did and so didn’t go to a dentist other than him for the two years I had braces which meant when I got them off I had holes in my teeth eik!
    I am still totally glad I had them though as I had some serious fangs before 🙂

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      Thank you. I FELT gorgeous on my wedding day. No doubt about that.
      Some people rock the fang look. I find Ricky Gervais’s fangy smile oddly charming.

  6. Spoken Like A True Nut

    My friend’s aunt got braces in her sixties. When anyone asked her why she’d bothered at that age, she just replied, “Why not?”

    For the record, you look lovely in your wedding photo. Not lovely-despite-the-overbite, just lovely.

    The same cannot be said for me in my eight grade yearbook photo, when I had opted for green elastics (my favorite color) on my braces, making me look like my teeth were molding over.

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      Your friend’s aunt is AWESOME and I’m going to steal that.
      I have metal braces on the bottom and this time I chose silver elastics to blend in. BUT next appointment I’m going to YOLO and get a color. My husband suggested lime green since that’s my fav color but I was also thinking it may look like moldy lettuce.

  7. R. Todd

    Congrats! And I will add, one of the reasons I followed your blog was your smile (more to do with your witticism and snark that seems to thread through every blog (love that, don’t change, please)). Glad to see that through it all, they haven’t been able to steal that from you.

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      Thanks so much! Nah. My sarcastic manner is here to stay. I’ll just be spewing my nonsense through straighter teeth is all.

  8. Tracy

    i didn’t kill a pigeon with my braces. but i did once cut my rubber bands apart with a nail scissors because they hurt too much. My mother was too embarrassed to admit what i had done so she told the ortho they “broke”.

    another time i was wedging a pen under my brackets (why? who knows) and i broke off a piece of my (fake composite) tooth. i heard the crack but the grill held everything nicely in place so i kept mum. at my next appointment, a young ortho tech nearly cried when she took off my rubber bands and half my tooth fell off. bonus: they bonded that sh*t back together for me and i didn’t have to go to the dentist!

    1. FitsofWit (Post author)

      Bahahaha! Sorry I didn’t see this comment sooner. It’s all amazing. I bet that tech had a mini heart attack at first.
      Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Sara Stineback

    So-I’m 28 and I am getting adult braces TOMORROW! It’s something I have always wanted to do and like you, my parents couldn’t afford to pay to straighten my teeth. So I get to pay for it now! Yay! Anyway-I, too, was bullied in 6th and 7th grade for my crooked teeth. It crippled me with shyness and super low self esteem. This kid would call me “beaver” and then a lot of his friends chimed in too. It lasted a couple of years and it still haunts me to this day. It sounds soooo dumb that something THAT long ago and THAT trivial can still affect you-but sadly, it does. I am so ecstatic to be getting my teeth straightened! AHHHHH!

    1. Jamie Alvarenga (Post author)

      Good luck!!!
      Stock up on plenty of soft foods for the next week or two. All the pain will be worth it though! 🙂

  10. Annie

    I just got adult braces at 28 – same story as you guys – parents didn’t save up for braces :-(. I am grateful that my fiance is understanding, and that everyone at work only called me brace face for a few days lol. I’m just excited I finally get to do something for myself and my wedding next year; after losing 30 lbs and getting a new job I feel like a whole new person!


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