Any health professional will tell you that dental health is a vital facet of overall health. While they’re often overlooked, the teeth, gums, and mouth are essentially the gatekeepers of what enters the body every day, meaning they also are exposed to bacteria and viruses regularly. Unfortunately, many people don’t have access to dental services in America, starting from a young age, which means they suffer from preventable and treatable ailments and conditions. There are also those who avoid the dentist out of trauma and fear, foregoing that overall wellness.
Due to dental practices noticing the inadequacy of dental insurance coverage and the number of people unable to receive even basic cleanings and checkups, many have instated their own payment care plans to help those who can’t afford it. These payment programs have changed people’s lives, and their stories are as uplifting as they are humbling.
Here is one story from user Superbell3 on Reddit:
I was utterly obsessed with getting braces in high school. Basically, everyone had them, and even my best friends started getting them. I even wrote in my journal of how much it sucked that I did not have braces. I believe it was enticing knowing that your teeth were working 24/7 to get corrected/straightened. I hated my teeth, for sure! They weren’t terribly crooked, but my “k-9” teeth protruded more outward than my other teeth. I would try to slip in my concerns and interests to my mom in our conversations, but she wouldn’t budge at all. I felt frustrated as though she is a single mom and did not know too much about it. So my 15-year-old self knew that I had to get proof I needed them and raise some money to get this started.
I researched and somehow scheduled an appt with a nearby orthodontist for a consultation with my mom. It turned out I had a cross-bite and over-bite, to my mother’s surprise. I even scheduled a 2nd opinion elsewhere to make sure. I opted for the first orthodontist and got more information about costs. This was going to be expensive, and I had to make money moves to show to my mom I was serious.
I got a job at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which only lasted for three weeks as they told me, “You are not old enough to work here, come back when you are 16”. That was confusing, but ah well, I got enough money for a down payment. I locked it in, and my dreams came true. I apologize to my mom that she then had to take over the monthly payments of $185, which totaled to $6,185.00 for my dental health and confidence. Having a palate expander was so odd and definitely hurt. No regrets on braces and thankfully got them off a week before college started.
My story is not about the actual braces experience, but mainly my determination and go-getter attitude was something I learned about myself. I often reflect on my actions to getting braces in times where I am in a rut, reminding myself that my dreams are obtainable if I work for it.
Many people must work hard to afford and have access to the dental and orthodontic care they need, which makes their results and satisfaction that much more gratifying for dental professionals. Most adult patients who undergo orthodontic care end up learning a lot about basic oral health due to the required amount of brushing and flossing when wearing braces or aligners. In fact, those who elect to pursue orthodontic care often have better periodontal health and fewer cavities than the average dental patient.
Reddit user BathBombsNFacePalms says:
I spent a good deal of my adolescence trying very hard to be okay with my misaligned teeth. I wanted very much to love them and to adopt the mindset that they were what made me unique. The truth was, it always bothered me. I was excessively conscious of what angles people would see my teeth from, as from either side, it made my crooked front tooth very prominent and noticeable. Now that I’ve been in treatment, I love showing off my smile. I’m not even finished yet! But I enjoy showing people how my teeth are progressing and I feel confident no matter what angle people see me at. I just don’t worry about them at all anymore! I’m overall just proud for making this step and accepting that if it’s okay to feel insecure, and that if it’s something that can be changed, there is no shame in changing it to improve your confidence!
There’s a common misconception that adults must deal with the cards they have been dealt with when it comes to oral care and the state of their teeth. The truth is there are many options for adults, including braces, both metal and clear aligners. For those who aren’t candidates for orthodontics due to various factors, there is also cosmetic dentistry, which can change the appearance of teeth without the wait time and process of shifting and moving teeth around. Implants, crowns, and veneers, as well as dentures, can significantly improve someone’s smile, face shape, and overall confidence and happiness.
User devkm43 shared:
Undergoing adult braces has been a significant journey that challenged me to grow and improve in ways that will positively impact me for the rest of my life. Not only has it improved my overall self-esteem, it forced me to implement excellent overall oral hygiene, challenged my decision making as a fully responsible adult, humbled and strengthened my perspectives on self-improvement and self-worth, and pushed the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of. While the journey isn’t over, I can now confidently go forward with a new smile that I know I worked so hard for and was fully worth it!
Going to the dentist is not just a routine health requirement that should be overlooked. Visiting an oral healthcare professional regularly can significantly improve a person’s perception of themselves, leading them to strive for their goals and ambitions. Scary and intimidating dental visits are a thing of the past, and there’s never been a greater time for self-improvement and care for long-term happiness and health.