My Breezy Braces Journey
After 14 years of trial and error with traditional braces, Kristina Rodulfo, content creator and former Beauty Director of Women's Health, finally has the smile she’s always wanted.
I’ve worn braces for nearly half my life–14 years on and off, to be exact. That’s a fact that often shocks people (dentists included!). After countless trial and error, I’ve finally come out the other side overjoyed with results from Tend’s Breezy Braces. Before I dive into everything you need to know about them, I want to share more about my overall smile journey because when I say I’ve tried everything, I mean it. Breezy Braces have been my best experience with orthodontics, period.
I was seven years old when my baby teeth all fell out, and my permanent teeth settled in. My two front teeth grew inward (like two covers of a book closing halfway) and I had a significant underbite. I started wearing traditional braces at eight years old, with a Hawley wire retainer in the bottom row that eventually was replaced with braces at 10 years old.
After one braces-free year at 13 years old, my teeth totally relapsed, and I was back to two rows of braces from the age of 14 until 20! It’s hard to find pictures of myself smiling with my teeth those years. Even if I felt enough joy to warrant a giant smile, I often glued my lips together and mustered a close-mouthed smirk, self-conscious about my mouth of metal.
I desperately wanted to feel and look grown up in college, especially as I started building my career studying journalism and interning at magazines. I worked in newsrooms for big-name publications with assignments like fashion week reporting and red carpet interviews where I’d be face-to-face with A-list celebrities. I was thrust into an image-driven industry. Appearances were paramount. While I’d eventually learn that my skills were far more important than my looks, as a young aspiring editor I couldn’t help but worry I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I still looked like a kid. I felt like a real life Ugly Betty! After all, America Ferrera’s iconic character had a full mouth of braces (same), grew up in Queens in an immigrant household (same), and wanted to be a magazine editor (SAME!).
While my braces didn’t stop me from making all my career aspirations come to fruition, I have to admit I was elated to finally have them removed in 2012. My smile was far from perfect, with my stubborn front teeth still crooked and the bottom row crowded, but I was okay with settling if it meant being braces-free.
By 2017, I was working full-time as a beauty editor at a digital publication, testing anything and everything the beauty world had to offer. I reported on oral health, so I was always first to know about exciting innovations. At the time, companies offering clear aligners (the process all done from the comfort of your home) were trending, and I jumped at the opportunity to tweak my smile again. I wore them for a year. I still had more to go, but one necessary tooth extraction later, my retainers no longer fit and my teeth shifted, once again.
This brings us to 2021, when I decided to give orthodontics one last shot with Breezy Braces. Working now as a full-time content creator, and also now a bride-to-be, appearing close-up in photos and videos was top of mind. I teamed up with Tend to document my whole Breezy Braces journey. Here are some big takeaways after wearing them for a year:
Breezy Braces are the only totally invisible option for teeth straightening.
They were attached behind my top and bottom rows of teeth, so when I spoke, ate, and smiled, no one could see them. They weren’t even visible in videos I’d shoot! This was the main reason why I decided to go with Breezy Braces–even though options like clear aligners are not as obstructive as traditional braces, you still have a sheet of plastic in front of your teeth that’s obvious (especially when we’re talking about a 4K camera capturing content).
They are low-maintenance.
I knew that I’d be unreliable if I had Invisalign, which requires compliance to keep them in 22 hours a day. They also have to be removed during eating and drinking. Having used clear aligners before, I knew I’d personally find it annoying to constantly pop them in and out. Breezy Braces, on the other hand, are bonded to your teeth so once they’re in, they’re working at all times to shift your teeth and you’re not responsible for them. As I progressed, I would come into Tend’s studios to get my wires replaced and those appointments with my orthodontist, Dr. Reem, were only necessary once every 6-8 weeks.
There’s definitely an adjustment period for talking and eating.
The first thing I’d tell anyone interested in Breezy Braces to know, is that you will have a lisp. Your tongue needs to adjust to having braces behind your teeth and it takes some time. It varies person to person, but my lisp faded after two weeks and was fully gone after one month of wearing the braces.
You might experience soreness on your tongue and gums like I did – the Tend team provided dental wax to cover parts of the wire while my mouth got used to them. By the end of my treatment, I was so comfortable with them I barely noticed they were there. As for eating, you just have to avoid really hard nuts, gum, or anything that could pop off a bracket. I ate soft food for the first couple of days, and just ate regularly after that. Make sure to floss and use a Waterpik to maintain peak hygiene because food will inevitably get stuck! I walked around with GUM soft picks in my purse.
Retainers are complimentary.
Once your treatment is complete, you’ll get clear retainers. I was instructed to wear them at night and also opted to have permanent retainers installed behind my teeth for extra security. I’ve loved the combination of both to ensure my teeth remain straight over time!
The process is smooth.
I think what I appreciated most about Breezy Braces is that the entire Tend team made my experience enjoyable from start to finish. The studios are clean, come with entertainment (watching Netflix while getting my wires put in made appointments fly by), and a calming space to be in. My orthodontist Dr. Reem was incredibly friendly, accommodating for my crazy schedule involving tons of travel, and always willing to answer my million questions. Plus, there’s an app where you can track your progress so you can really see results as they happen.
Overall, I wish Breezy Braces existed sooner because it would’ve been my first choice if I had known about it before! I topped off my experience with Tend’s whitening treatment and I couldn’t be happier with the final results: My smile is totally aligned, the crowding in my bottom row of teeth is resolved, and I am no longer insecure about flashing a big smile. If you’re on the fence about Breezy Braces, definitely book a free consultation to see if it’ll work for you.
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