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Day 1 - The bottom wire looks like the 

Runaway Mine Train ride at  Disney World.


After only 2 months - why do I have to wear them for 2 years?

You Did What at Your Age?

I Got Braces!


Five weeks before I turned 65, I had braces put on my teeth to correct a major overbite that seemed to be moving my nose closer and closer to my chin every year. In my family that included four siblings, the worst two sets of teeth got braces, so my brother Joe and I were out of luck. My top teeth were fairly straight; the bottom ones were a mess. I shouldn’t have let them make me self-conscious about my smile, but they did. I can count on one hand the photos I am smiling with my teeth showing over the past forty-five years. I have a lifetime of photos where I look like I bit on a sour pickle.


Every time I mentioned to my dentist that I was concerned about my overbite, he just blew me off— I’m sure because of my age. But I finally decided to do something about it myself and found an orthodontist online, along with a new dentist. I told him I was probably the world’s oldest person to get braces, and he said, “Nope,” and that he’d put braces on an 82-year-old man from Georgetown. But that man wasn’t the oldest, I learned. One article mentioned a 92-year-old getting braces, and that more and more adults are electing to get them, so I didn’t feel quite so self-conscious about it. 


After 15 months into my 24-month time of wearing them, here are the pros and cons of getting braces at my age, which may not be so different for any age, and if that’s the case, I was definitely not empathetic enough towards braces wearers. 

Cons of Having Braces:

    • They made my headaches a little worse. 

    • The dental assistant built up protrusions on two back teeth to keep the top and bottom braces from hitting each other, so it felt like I only had two back teeth to chew food. [Cue Dueling Banjos music]

    • I regularly bite my tongue and cheeks since my bite doesn’t fit anymore. 

    • The protruding wires have turned parts of my mouth into ground beef. 

    • My bottom lip looks like I’m a serious snuff-dipper. 

    • The expression, “You have spinach in your teeth” has expanded to “Your entire salad is on your teeth.” In fact, the spaces between the brackets are perfectly-sized pockets for:

      1. Okra seeds,

      2. Grains of rice, 

      3. Grated carrots, and

      4. Everything else under the sun.

Pros of Having Braces:

    • It will eventually allow me to have straight teeth for the first time in my life.

    • It will hopefully extend the life of my teeth by correcting a bad overbite.

    • I’ve only had a few nightmares of the braces making my teeth crumble out of my head. Okay, that's not really a pro reason, but the nightmares could've been more numerous.

    • It will hopefully change my photo face from uncomfortable and self-conscious to a happy expression and natural smile.


Although the cons look like they WAY outweigh the pros, I’m hoping this will work like childbirth labor where you forget all the pain and discomfort after the results of having a baby, or in this case, the braces removed. But this situation will take 24 months of incubation rather than the usual nine. I’ll post ‘after’ photos when the braces are removed. Hopefully I'll be smiling. : )

Donna Van Cleve

December 2020

Self Improvement, Humor


This isn't a picture of my new hillbilly smile; it's a photo of a spinach-wrapped tooth

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