Sunday, September 22, 2019

Remembering the Braces Experience

My purpose for this blog was (and still is) to remember and celebrate the braces experience throughout the years. Orthodontia has changed dramatically over the decades, but throughout every era, the experience of having braces on one's teeth has been a memorable one with both positive and negative aspects. I'm going to take a break from posting, but while I'm resting, I encourage visitors to explore the blog and check out all of its posts regarding braces and orthodontia.

As a start, I'd encourage you to read the first hand accounts of experiences with braces.  When I had braces back in 2003-2005, I blogged about it, and I've archived all the posts I could save from it here: Foureyed Metalmouth.  I also wrote further about it on this blog, including these posts:

My Braces

Told I Needed Braces

Getting Braces at 33

First Day at Work With Braces

My Retainer and Other Artifacts

I am also appreciative of the contributions of various readers, including these great accounts:

1960s Braces Journey

Kilian's Braces Story

Observing Braces

And there are also the interesting surveys I took from blog visitors, including these:

Braces In the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s Survey

Liked Wearing Braces/Disliked Wearing Braces

Braces Fan Survey

There is so much more. Check out all the blog posts, and the links to various braces-related subjects on the right hand side of the blog.  Thank you to all my readers for visiting and contributing.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Athletes and Entertainers With Braces

Some athletes and entertainers with braces.  

Gwen Stefani

Serena Williams (above, both pictures) and her sister Venus Williams.

A young Chris Pratt

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Braces Discussion on Alumni Message Board

In one of my recent internet searches for all things orthodontic, I found this interesting discussion on a high school forum for for alumni of that school. The discussion was all about braces and orthodontia, and involved posts from alumni who went to that high school during years from the '50s to the '80s. Lots of entertaining material here, if you have an interest in braces.

A graduate from the class of 1979 started the discussion with this post:
Re: Braces Does anyone remember having to wear braces on their teeth during school? If so, any funny stories to share? I had to wear mine for 3 1/2 years, 5th grade thru summer before my 9th grade year. It seemed like an eternity. I didn't get too much teasing other than being called "Tinsel Teeth". Every now and then, I'd have a rubber band break and shoot across the room. They sure have changed a lot since I had them, now you can get them white ones that glue on to your teeth and just have a wire or there is a clear mouthpiece that you can wear. My son is going to need them, as he gets older, we found out through x-rays that he's missing two top lateral teeth. They are the teeth between the front tooth and canine tooth. The dentist said it is very common.

A member of the class of 1960 posted:
I can remember only two classmates who wore braces and have often wondered if that's because (1) my memory is faulty; or (2) orthodontia was not "in vogue" in the olden days (!) and crooked teeth went untreated; or (3) the human jaw was still large enough to preclude crowded teeth? Both of my kids had to have teeth extracted prior to receiving braces, yet neither of their parents had crowded teeth. Seems a major change in just one generation, but look at the number of kids in treatment these days. How many orthodontists practiced in Richland during the '50s versus the '70s and today? I'm a little skeptical of the hereditary factor claimed by some. I remember waiting in the orthodontist's office with a puzzled mother of four adopted children, all of whom were in braces. She related a conversation with the doctor wherein she lamented four out of four kids requiring braces, and he responded that "it tends to run in families." I'd say it tends to run in generations since the 50s! Now that I'm beginning to feel like Neanderthal Woman, I think I'll leave this topic...

A member of the class of 1981 posted:
Yes, I remember having braces AND glasses! Actually, I got the braces when I was 9 (kept them on until 14, then retainers until 20). I had a horrible overbite (I could fit my entire thumbnail under the space between my upper and lower teeth). Getting teased because I was a "bucktoothed beaver" was bad enough. Then, I got more teasing once the "railroad tracks" were attached. In those days all you got was a full metal jacket for the mouth! I had a couple of months overlap between the time I got my braces off and the acquisition of my glasses. Of course, by then I was used to the braces (and all the teasing that came with them). Maybe it was the fact that my mother insisted on impairing my social life by choosing the frames I wore (they were olive green, huge ovals, like something my grandma would wear). Enough of the reminiscing. In all practicality, I had a great smile for graduation and into my wedding pictures. Then when I was 26, I tripped and fell on my face. After all this time and healing (3 root canals, and several stitches later), the dentist says I need braces AGAIN! Of course, they are quite a bit more expensive now. But, at least I'll only have to wear them for 18 months - 2 years. And, they are fashionable. Unfortunately, I don't qualify for the "Invisilign" (sp?) braces. Looking forward to having railroad tracks soon (it'll be worth it!).

A member of the class of 1961 posted:
Having braces on one's teeth became more available when this expense was covered under medical insurance provided by employers. That is why the increase in patient loads having teeth straightened. At age 40 I had my overbite corrected and needed 4 teeth removed. I would have had to have more removed but my wisdom teeth had already been removed. My husband's employer provided us with dental coverage for braces. My dentist stated to me that the number one reason for dental braces was too many teeth crowded into a small space, which causes various dental problems. If one has ever been around anyone with bridge work in their mouths you will hear them mumble and complain and then remove the bridge several times in a day. A bridge would probably be my last choice in a dental decision.

A member of the class of 1964 posted:
Re: Braces I never had them, but my two daughters had something called "activators" (they looked like "retainers) and were supposed to work better than braces and be less expensive! Well, am not sure that they were either! Traci was 12 and Ronda was 8 when they started wearing them and was told the whole process would only take 2-3 years to straighten their teeth! Since Traci was just starting 7th grade, she did not want to be in braces in high school, so the thought of only being in them 2-3 years didn't seem like a such a "bad" thing... needless to say, the dentist kept dragging out the time and finally she was beginning her sophomore year and refused to keep wearing them!!!!!!!!! had less "fighting" with Ronda over wearing the "appliance", but for the amount of money and aggravation we all went through, I would "opt" for plain old braces any day!!!!!!! and, no their teeth are not straight!!!!! they shifted right back to where they were before I spent the time and money on the "activators"!!!! These "activators" had a "roof" piece that had a small opening and we had a little "key" that we inserted into the "slot" and turned the wire three times every day! they also could not eat with them in; cannot tell you the number of times they were "fished" out of the trash cause they would be wrapped in a napkin and then accidentally thrown into the trash!!!!! Of course in Traci's case, I was not always convinced that it was accidental!!!!

A member of the class of 1967 posted:
All this chat about braces sure brought back memories. I, too, wore braces. Dr. [name redacted] in Kennewick was my orthodontist. I had to wear one of those contraptions that goes around your head AFTER I spent time using a tongue depressor for 30 minutes every hour to try to push one of my teeth forward enough to have the braces put on. Ugh! The best memory, though, was getting them off just in time for the big dance at Carmichael and having the best looking guy there ask me for the first dance! He shall remain unnamed so all of you Cougar males can think it was you.

A member of the class of 1968 posted:
I never had braces growing up even though I needed them. The price for braces for one in a large family prohibited the purchase plus I think straight teeth weren't a high priority to my parents. They got dentures in their 30s and expected we all would. I got braces in my 30s along with major jaw surgery (both upper and lower) because my teeth were dying from not having contacted another opposing tooth in my mouth. That's how far out of alignment they were and progressively getting worse. Upper jaw tilted up and out and lower jaw back. This could have been solved by braces in teen years from what my doctor told me. I made sure my daughters got their braces on early and the jaw adjustments with spacers, head gear, etc. forced the teeth and jaws to conform. It is interesting that my orthodontist said my youngest daughter was the only one who didn't get the same jaw problems. He didn't know she was adopted. Guess it may run in families.

A member of the class of 1972 posted:
You had some interesting thoughts on orthodontics. So let me throw in my two bits. I got my braces when I was 29, long after my RHS days (though we're Bombers to death, right?!). The first time I went to a dentist outside of Richland, he accused me of not having been to a dentist in years. I had been to my childhood dentist in Richland just a year before, and he couldn't believe me. When I insisted, he asked if my dentist had been older, close to retirement age, and he was. Apparently the dentists of the previous generation were more into filling cavities than preventative dentistry. So I guess it could be a generational thing. That first trip was a shock to the system. The young and thorough dentist recommended four caps, four fillings, and four wisdom teeth extractions -- to begin with! Thank God for dental insurance! I don't know if others had similar experiences with any Richland dentists. I won't mention any names -- to protect the guilty!

A member of the class of 1957 posted:
Re: Braces I never had braces, growing up in the era before they were popular. But our youngest son did and they were a pain in more ways than one. After an eternity of battling the braces, he graduated to a retainer which held the two teeth which replaced the ones he was born without. One warm summer evening we were driving along and my son was leaning out the open window. He sneezed and the next  thing I saw was that $2000 retainer rolling down the highway embedded in the tire of an 18 wheeler. That was Friday evening and we were leaving on vacation at 6am the next morning. We called the dentist at home and he said not to worry about it because it should be OK for two weeks. Well, two weeks later the dentist saw the situation in a different light. He told us the teeth had moved much more than he had expected and we would have to start the whole process over again. My son is still toothless in Seattle.

A member of the class of 1971 posted:
I had a similar device called an "Appliance" that my dentist provided. It was great, you could take them out and clean them. Each tooth had its own wire to force the tooth in or out. The day I got them (Spring break 8th grade) I was riding a mini bike by Jason Lee and flipped it right in front of two guys in a car parked at a stop sign. I wasn't hurt, but when I was flipping through the air all I could think of was that I was going to save all that money on braces and have my teeth knocked out. The guys wanted to know if I could do that again? No thanks. Technology has improved substantially in the past several years in this field. My youngest son had braces that were guaranteed to fix his teeth in one year or less, and they did. The only problem was he failed to wear his retainer and his teeth shifted back so he's in braces again. The technique is called "Fast Braces" and was invented by an engineer that became a dentist. They consist of small triangles bonded to the tooth and wires applying stress at key points. The results are staggering, people that had teeth in sideways and backwards are in a semi normal position in three months or so. No pulling teeth either. Pretty impressive. He's patented the process and tours the world half the time giving seminars on the technique. Probably coming to a Dentist near you in the near future. Hey, [name redacted], remember "Brace Face" and "Tin Grin"?

A member of the class of 1957 posted:
I, too, had a bad experience with two Richland dentists. In my teen years not one of them ever said a word about my crooked teeth to my parents or myself. It was after I was married and had moved to Las Vegas that an oral surgeon, after removing my wisdom teeth, wanted me to see his brother who was an orthodontist. We were in the process of a move to another state so I put it off. After the move to New Mexico the dentist there said nothing could be done, It was after returning to Richland that a wonderful dentist here said yes it could be done. It took two years and a retainer from now on. I was determined to have straight teeth before I leave this world. LOL After reading about the young ones and all the pain, I'm glad I waited. I think you can stand more pain as you get older. I was 52 when I had mine done.

A member of the class of 1978 posted:
Yep, had braces too, from ninth grade until junior year of high school. Unlike the dentistry I had experienced, my mom managed to find a WONDERFUL orthodontist, Dr. [name redacted], who had a very new practice in Kennewick. This was in 1975. He had a great "bedside manner," which included communicating directly with ME, not just talking about me, in front of me, to my mother. As a teenager, that was something I appreciated very much. Like many (most?) people, the problem was more teeth than jaw, overcrowding that had my lower front teeth displaced to the point of teeth-behind-teeth, so that meant four teeth to be pulled, the full tracks on the bottom, and only some tracks up above. All in all, I was VERY appreciative of having my teeth straightened, and didn't find the experience at all traumatic, especially when compared with going to the regular dentist. I wore my retainer faithfully, had my wisdom teeth pulled as soon as they even hinted at coming in, and have nice, straight teeth to this day. Makes me stop and count my blessings! Now we have an eleven year old son who is certainly going to need braces. Boy, did that kid inherit my mouth! He's had some teeth pulled to alleviate overcrowding; based on my own experience, that can be a great preventive measure. His teeth are not nearly as crowded (no teeth-behind-teeth) as mine were. So when the time came for him to start seeing the ortho, who did I find but Dr. [name redacted], still practicing in Kennewick, albeit in a much larger, nicer office! We Bombers may not name names when saying something negative, but we're happy to do so when we like what we get! It gives me a nice feeling to take Tyler to the same orthodontist as I went to, especially when I'm so happy with the results. So that's my way-more-than two cents worth. As I said earlier, dentistry is a topic just about everyone's got something to say about! Thanks for "listening...!"

A member of the class of 1957 posted:
All of this talk of braces surely brings back memories for me, having worn them in my sophomore and half of my junior year. I do recall that I had four teeth pulled in order to make room for my other teeth to move correctly into place. I, too had Dr. [name redacted], and I still to this day brush my teeth an average of three to four minutes having been drilled upon arrival in his office for checkups to brush my teeth until the sands in the 5- minute egg timer ran out! Other than snapping rubber bands and aching teeth for one or two days after each wire tightening, the whole affair didn't seem too bad, although I remember smiling with a closed mouth in order to hide them. I realized later that after a while, nobody noticed that I had them - they were just part of me and no one gave them a second thought. However, I did not know this until the braces came off - I went to school the next day and smiled at everyone, and no one noticed that my braces were gone!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Braces on 1939 Life Cover

Here's a braces sighting dating back to 1939, on a photo on the cover of an issue of Life magazine from that year.

The cover featured a young braces-clad footballer. Inside the front cover, a brief blurb notes that "The braces on his teeth were put on last May to straighten his new front uppers."

Here's a closeup of the '30s era metalmouth.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bad Luck Brian's Braces

"Bad Luck Brian" has become one of the most well-known internet memes: a nerdy-looking teenager in a school photo sporting a geeky sweater and a goofy braces-clad smile.  The pic has been accompanied by slogans describing the nerdy kid's frequent bad luck: "Takes Driving Test . . .Gets First DUI," or "Trip to Grand Canyon . . . Falls In."  

The kid in the photo, Kyle Craven, was a high-school prankster who intentionally made his appearance extra-nerdy for the photo, getting a thrift-store sweater and rubbing his face to make it look red. His braces are the real deal though.

In honor of the famous metalmouth, I came up with my own version of the Bad Luck Brian meme.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Freaky Friday Braces Memory

Here's Annabel Andrews from the 1976 Disney movie "Freaky Friday," about to get her braces off.  (She's played by a young Jodie Foster, and the braces were actually just a movie prop... but still.)

A few updates:

Her braces get quite a bit of attention in the movie.

Some '70s era school dude asks about them.

Her little brother thinks she looks beautiful in them.

And he wants some braces for himself as well!