Oral health is an important part of your overall well-being, but choosing the right dentist isn’t as simple as walking into the closest dental office. Lucky for you, we already did the heavy lifting: 5280 teamed up with topDentists, a company that creates nationwide dentist listings, to locate Colorado’s 598 best dentists. A healthy smile is just the flip of a page away.
Braces: Wimp Alert
Getting braces after 30 proved that I'm not as strong as I think.
I’m not a primper. I don’t have enough makeup to fill a cosmetic case, and I consider clothes shopping a chore. I also never had braces as a kid. And for the first 30 years of my life it didn’t matter that my teeth weren’t straight. It gave my smile some character. By the time I hit 31, though, things changed. I’m a worrier, which apparently causes me to clench my mouth and slowly squeeze my teeth together. That made close-up photos cringe-worthy, but the real reason my not-so-straight smile bothered me is because both of my older sisters got braces before their 30th birthdays. I’d like to think that I’m above a little family rivalry, but seeing perfect smiles on faces that look so much like mine made me jealous. (There, I said it.) The initial consult was painless enough: I would have clear braces for about 22 months; every eight or so weeks, I’d go in for an adjustment. No problem, I thought. I handle pain well. I was wrong. I couldn’t even eat risotto that first night because my whole mouth hurt. For lunch the next day, I had a bowl of mashed potatoes and beer. Enter the noncosmetic bonus of having braces as an adult: a legitimate reason to self-medicate with booze. The pain slowly subsided, but every eight weeks it returned when my braces were adjusted. At my most recent appointment, my dentist congratulated me on finishing a year with braces. Then he told me I had to wear rubber bands (again) and that we were entering the “fine-tuning” part of the process, which meant inserting a new wire, thus, thanks to my low pain threshold, removing solid foods from my diet (again). As much as I complain about being a metalhead, I love how my newly adjusted smile looks. Soon, I’ll be able to see the finished product: My doc says that my teeth have moved quickly enough that in a few visits we’ll start to talk about when I get these damn things off. I think I’ll celebrate with a beer. —Natasha Gardner