From Self-Conscious to Confident Smile with Clear Aligners
Thinking about straightening your smile with our at-home treatment, Impressions? Hear from real Impressions patient, Audra, to see how her confidence changed forever.
We’ve all been teased. Some would say it’s a right of passage in junior high and high school. But I can still remember how mean teenagers can be. It doesn’t feel like a right of passage – more like torture.
I mostly got called a nerd. Second in the running was “Jolly Green Giant” because I towered over most of my friends and peers right up until graduation. I also occasionally got picked on because my one front tooth edged out just a little ahead of the others, like it was trying to win a race. It was only one tooth, but that was all it took for the other hormonal high schoolers to make me feel like an outcast.
I didn’t mind being called a nerd, because I liked being smart. I didn’t mind being singled out for being close to six feet tall, because it made me better at sports. What I didn’t like was the one bucktooth. That was something that could have been changed. I could have had a set of braces slapped on my teeth, like so many of my peers, and then come out the other side with teeth lined up like soldiers in a regiment. But, I didn’t get braces.
“We can’t afford that,” my parents said. I said that was okay, even though it didn’t feel okay. After that, when I opened and closed my mouth I could feel that delinquent tooth rubbing just slightly more against the inside of my mouth – a reminder that I didn’t have a straight smile like my friends, or even the bullies. It was also a reminder that my parents didn’t have 5k or more to fix my teeth.
I smiled less at graduation because of that tooth. I smiled less at my friends, family and new acquaintances. I smiled less when I got my first job. All because of that one tooth.
Ten years later, I finally decided to straighten my teeth. I was pretty dang sick of talking out of one side of my mouth – the side of my mouth where my teeth looked perfectly normal – and was tired of the weird face I made in pictures.
“Your teeth are pretty straight. Have you had braces before?” Dr. Roberts asked me.
I was shocked. No, I hadn’t had braces before. Couldn’t he see that one tooth that was sticking way out in front of all the others? Couldn’t he see that it had caused kids to pick on me?
No, he couldn’t see the insecurities that the one little tooth had caused my whole life, but he listened when I told him. He also listened when I told him I didn’t want braces because, while braces may have been acceptable in high school, I didn’t want them as an adult.
I embarked on my new smile journey. The clear aligners straightened my teeth right up. In 14 months, that tooth was back in line where he was supposed to be. No one was going to pick on me about my smile ever again.
When I finished my treatment and looked at the before and after photos, I couldn’t believe what I saw. Looking back, I could see that my tooth wasn’t actually that far out of line and that my smile wasn’t actually that crooked. I guess to me it had felt like it was really crooked because I harbored so much insecurity about it. Had I needed clear aligners at all? Then, I realized something. Confidence gives you a whole new perspective. Once I had a straight, beautiful smile that I wasn’t insecure about anymore, I couldn’t imagine tolerating anyone picking on me for one tooth. I was so comfortable with my teeth that I almost couldn’t imagine a time when I was uncomfortable.
I think that’s the power of truly feeling good about yourself, and that’s why orthodontic treatment – like Impressions – is so important. Having insecurities and being self-conscious are real things. Whether you have one tooth out of line, or a whole mouth of crooked teeth, the effect of feeling insecure about your smile can do the same damage. From a medical standpoint did I really need my teeth straightened? No. From a self-confidence perspective did I need my teeth straightened? Absolutely.
I can tell you Impressions treatment made a world of difference for me. I like smiling now, and that changes everything.