Braces: Are they worth it?

Alice Webster, staff writer

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If you walk down the hallways of any middle school or high school, you will likely see at least one brace face. Many teenagers and unlucky adults get braces at some point. Most people who have braces wear them for about eighteen months to two full years filled with tightenings, rubber bands, power chains, and more. The two big questions for prospective brace faces are: how painful are braces and are they worth it?

Braces can range from mildly annoying to straight up painful depending on the severity of your bite and tooth alignment. Your braces will be tightened about once a month, although this too depends on your circumstances. After tightenings, don’t expect to be able to eat anything hard for a few days, especially if you have power chains, which many braces wearers get a few months after the initial braces application. And it isn’t just chains you have to worry about. Although this isn’t a regular occurence, wires can pop out of place and poke the side of your cheek or your gums, sometimes causing bleeding. Luckily, orthodontists usually have space in their days to squeeze you in for an emergency appointment, but for many areas like Jacksonville they aren’t around every weekday. Rubber bands are less of a hassle, but if you run out, the same access issue applies. However, if your bite does not need adjustment rubber bands are not necessary.

So, are braces worth it? The answer is: it depends. If your teeth are particularly warped or there is a medical reason, yes. The same goes if you are particularly self-conscious about your appearance. But if you have only a few imperfections in your smile or do not care much one way or the other what people think of your looks, the negative aspects of braces will likely outweigh the benefits.