On Becoming More Confident

Posted in Beauty, Writing.

Generally speaking, I’m quite a confident person. As soon as I finished university and realised confidence doesn’t have to be tied up with academic success, I found my voice and started using it. At 28, I feel quite self-assured – I’m happy with who I am, how I look and where I am in my life. That’s not to say I have it all figured out or every day is a joyous chorus of twittering birds, but I’m pretty content with my lot.

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Despite being a confident person, though, I’ve always been unhappy with my teeth. I was offered braces at 14 but by then I was tall and lanky, with massive boobs and a pair of NHS-prescribed glasses. Adding braces would’ve been the straw that broke the camel’s back, so I refused them. I’ve cursed my 14-year-old self many times since for that decision and wished I’d been told I HAD to have braces, like my younger siblings were.

My teeth were only slightly crooked – not enough for others to notice but enough that I noticed, in every photo and every mirror. So after 12 years of smiling with my mouth closed, I decided to do something about it. Last year, I had a lingual brace fitted.

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A lingual brace is exactly like a regular, ‘train-track’ style brace, but it sits behind your teeth. It’s totally invisible, there are no trays to remove and apart from a bit of lisping when it’s first fitted and an inability to eat apples, it doesn’t affect your daily routine at all. I’d been to see a dentist about Invisalign before but it wasn’t suitable for me, and I didn’t want to wear a traditional brace as I do quite a bit of public speaking for my job. I’d never heard of lingual braces until I read an article about Kate Middleton’s wedding preparations (I was in the bridal zone, alright) – apparently she had a lingual brace in the run up to her big day. SOLD.

I wore my brace from November 2013 to July 2014. It was fitted to my 6 top front teeth and tightened every few weeks until I was happy with the results. Now I wear a permanent wire behind my teeth – it’s covered with a plastic mould and means I never have to wear a retainer, and my teeth will never move back. The total treatment including whitening cost £2,000, paid in instalments.

Honestly, it’s the best investment I’ve ever made.

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I didn’t really realise what a negative effect my teeth had on my confidence. I remember going to America in 2012 and feeling so supremely self-conscious, because everyone around me had the most beautifully straight, white teeth. I went to New York in May this year – right at the end of my treatment – and didn’t even think about my teeth, despite being surrounded by perfect American smiles.

Before having a brace fitted, I felt ridiculous for even wanting one. I was a perfectly happy, content and confident person – my teeth were just a niggle, something I’d frown about for 10 minutes while applying my makeup or taking a selfie. But a lack of confidence doesn’t always come from one huge problem. It doesn’t always show up as shyness or a reluctance to try new things. I could stand up in front of a packed lecture theatre and deliver a presentation without a second thought, but I couldn’t smile properly in a photo.

When I look at the photos in this post, I wonder why the hell I waited so long.


Emma O'Reilly

I feel exactly the same as you described, my teeth aren’t awful but I feel so self conscious about them. Did you just go to your normal dentist or a cosmetic one? x


I went to a private dentist – City Dental in Leeds, they were amazing. I think if you have a dentist you’re happy with though, it’s worth speaking to them about options and what’s available and suitable for you.

I can’t recommend it enough – it’s honestly quite life-transforming! x


I have an at-home whitening treatment that I used regularly after I’d just had my brace off, and now use every now and then when I want a brightness boost! Thank you 🙂 x

Terri Cheshire

it was so good to see this post. I am also quite conscious about my teeth (front tooth knocked out years ago and not right since) I am planning to have the new false one replaced and the one next to it reshaped, all cleaned then whitened. I CAN”T WAIT! recently when through a massive breakup (house sold & wedding called off etc) Decided that it was the right time for the confidence boost i need. Thanks again 😉


Fantastic post Jen, it all sounds very familiar to me! Your teeth look amazing. Did you have to have a referral for it? Have been looking into Invisalign but this sounds like it might be an option for me too!

Heather x


I felt just the same as you! I did get braces as a teen but the end result wasn’t perfect and they have shifted slightly over the years. I’ve gone for Invisalign at Andrea Ubhi in York and just had them fitted today. When I told people they said “but there’s nothing wrong with your teeth”, but it’s a confidence thing. I know when the treatments over I won’t hesitate to smile or pose for a photo.x

Lauren Aitchison

I had braces at 14 but my teeth have started to go squint again. So glad there are more options nowadays so I don’t have to have train tracks again. Your teeth look great! x


You have the most lovely smile! I did have braces for years but my teeth could definitely do with some more work!

Maria xxx


This is such a lovely post Jen, and one I can relate to completely! I’ve been self conscious of my smile for as long as I can remember, I did get braces when I was younger but similar to you I opted for the removable brace rather than the train tracks because I was 16 and didn’t want to be even more self conscious at school. I now wish I’d just got them sorted at that age as I can honestly say I’ve never teeth smiled for a photo in my whole life. I’ve been thinking about doing something for a while now and recently just had the realisation that enough is enough – I’m almost thirty and I need to be able to smile, it’s ridiculous. So I’ve booked in for a dental consultation to see what my options are. I’ll definitely be asking about the lingual brace as it does sound like the perfect solution, but I fear mt teeth are much more problematic than yours! I think you look FAB and your smile is beyond perfect so I’m super happy that your now happy with it too!

I may come back for advice once I get on my way!



What a great read and you teeth look amazing! I have the same issue with my skin (acne scarring which means lots of make up). Until I find the cure worth investing in – I think that there’s still that 5% of insecurity will always remain in me! Don’t want to wear so much make-up all the time… PS – love your hair and styling! 🙂

Tatyana x
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Ally // Digital Diva

Love your teeth Jen. I was similar..had a bit of crookedness (not too bad, but bad enough for me) and my teeth would never go a lovely shade of white). In around 2008, I decided to get non-prep veneers. Best thing I ever did for my teeth. The process was hideous (the injection needles were as big as my arm, I swear!), but it was worth it.

Here’s to having nice teeth 🙂 xx


This is definitely on my ever-increasing to-do list – I had braces as a teenager and while they made my teeth a lot better they were never “perfect” even after four years! At the time I was just relieved to not have braces anymore but I wish I’d said something! Your teeth look amazing! x


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