No, they're not medieval torture devices...
Braces have been around for centuries, and mummified remains have been found buried with dental aids. Braces in their modern form did not come around until Pierre Fauchard, a French dentist, was credited with creating the first dental brace that expanded the arch of the mouth. It was a piece of iron that was molded into the shape of a horseshoe, similar to the shape of the mouth. This was known as a bandeau.
Whether normal, lingual, or clear, if you ever had braces, you know that the struggles of wearing these metallic pieces from hell are something no one understands, nor empathizes with. Imagine having a huge bulky, pokey, hurtful and inhibiting piece of metal in your mouth for periods sometimes as long as four years! The experience of wearing braces alone can toughen anyone up for life.
Struggles That People with Braces will Know
The Hunger Between Meals
Once you've brushed after your meal, it's a pain to reject chocolate from benevolent people whom you have to curse for putting the idea of chocolate into your head for the entire day. Come to think of it, you've lost a lot of weight after having eaten nothing between meals lest it gets stuck in your clean braces... again. And with the restrictions on eating certain foods, you know you're indirectly on a diet anyway.
People Pointing Out Your Latest Meal in Your Teeth
Especially when you're just getting used to the braces, you forget that there will always, ALWAYS be bits of food stuck to your braces that crude, daring people will sometimes like to point out to you so that you run and hide in embarrassment. People shouldn't even get you started on spinach. You avoid it like the plague, unless you are caught unawares, and then have to make an emergency trip to the bathroom.
The pains of putting in and removing your rubber bands (in front of people) are the worst part of braces, aside from the constant pain in your teeth from moving them around for two years. There have been times when you have mistakenly swallowed those little painful rubber bands or the brackets themselves, and been worried for your gut, but everything passed just fine (pun totally intended).
The Brushing, Oh the Constant Brushing!
What with brushing after every meal you have, you are inclined to think that you have wasted a fourth of your life brushing your teeth. And after removing them forever, you still automatically go to the bathroom and reach for the toothbrush until your mom has to stop you from doing so (yes, this happens sometimes!).
You're One of the First Kiss Virgins
When everyone around you zoomed past when it came to first kisses, you were busy trying to feebly smile back at your first crush without showing your braces or getting your upper lip painfully caught in them. Enough said.
The Constant Fear of Cavities
You brushed and flossed and cleaned every corner of your mouth with such religious zeal, because the fear of cavities was put into you by both your parents and the dentist. You clearly did not want to spend more than a single minute more in the ortho's chair than was necessary.
You Haven't Really Gotten Over the Embarrassment
No matter how invisible they are designed to be these days, of course everyone notices your braces when you first get them. The embarrassment of having everyone you know come up to you and ask you unending questions was something you could never forget. There was a special black mark that you reserved for the most obnoxious and intruding questions that certain people asked, and learned to avoid in the future.
You Learn to Sleep with Pain
People with braces will understand that it felt like someone was ripping their teeth out that first week. And all the tightenings after that, where torture was inflicted on you every few months. But you learned to ignore the pain and carry on in a week.
You Couldn't Do Much on The Field
The ortho had told you to avoid every sports activity that results in any impact to your face. That meant those who aspired to get selected for a football/judo/boxing/whatever sports team were automatically disappointed without even trying. Until the ortho mentioned a miracle called a mouthguard. Even getting accidentally slapped in the face was so &%$#^%* painful. Those who hated sports had a legit reason to skip gym class. Especially dodge ball. That stuff hurts everywhere!
Speaking was a Pain
When they were first installed, your couldn't find any room in your mouth to move your tongue enough to speak. Repeating yourself so many times to be understood was routine. Now your tongue is so used to the acrobatics that speaking seems too easy, especially with the braces finally off.
Wires, Wires Everywhere
You were speaking one minute and the other you were incapacitated and doubled over with the pain of having the wires spring out into your inner cheek, which was mind-numbingly painful, to say the least. That also meant emergency trips to the doctor to fix and nip and tuck whatever was hurting you. And, at times, your mouth was so sore with the braces that dental wax was your biggest savior!
Being called this was just annoying, whether it came from someone close or your newly-appointed "bully". You probably were guilty of having done that to children in the past. You secretly made up your mind not to call anyone else that, and to always stop someone from saying it to a kid with braces.
Everyone Had to Wait for You to Finish Eating
You struggled to eat your food with braces. You always chew slowly, assessing each bite for bits of metal and plastic, just waiting for something to snap. All your friends would finish eating and watch you chomp agonizingly slowly. Until the day came that you felt you could eat properly, you were happy that you had friends who waited it out with you.
But Your Perseverance Led You to Amazing Pearly-Whites!
Your unwillingness to succumb to all the teasing from the bullies and close ones alike finally paid off! And now your teeth are the most beautiful and well-kept of all, and you flash your million-dollar smile wherever you go. You even got that first kiss!
The experience that came with the braces was free of cost. Wearing braces taught you to stand up for yourself and be unafraid of being different. It taught you that people are beautiful no matter what their external appearances are like, and now you actually know how to empathize; an important quality. Braces were a lesson for life, to not take what you have for granted, and to be disciplined about your body. It was probably this discipline inculcated in you that helped you succeed at work, though that is taking it too far. So be proud of your braces and flaunt them with verve!