DEAR HARRIETTE: I have to get braces, and I am upset about it. The orthodontist says I am going to have them for four years. I am nervous because I am going to have them for the majority of high school. I am scared I am going to look so bad with them. I don’t want braces. How should I prepare myself? -- Braces for Life, Detroit
DEAR BRACES FOR LIFE: First, take a deep breath and look around. If you look carefully, I bet you will see a lot of students wearing braces. It is virtually a rite of passage between middle school and high school. Even some adults get them in later years. This is because it is healthier for your teeth to be in alignment. Many people’s teeth grow in incorrectly, which can cause a host of dental issues.
Rather than obsessing over how you will look, talk to your orthodontist about options. There are clear braces that are virtually imperceptible. Find out if you are a candidate for those. You can likely work with your orthodontist to select braces that best fit your personality and your dental profile.
Beyond that, do your best to think about the big picture. Braces now means straight teeth later. If you get teased about them, ignore the irritants, or respond with how happy you will be with straight teeth in a few years.