Cosmetic Procedures

July 25, 2011

Two little stories and some questions:

1) The other day, I saw a picture of myself and remembered I need braces. I had braces as a teenager — it was actually my freshman year of college — but they have since gone a bit wonky on top. I confess, I was never good about wearing my retainer. : )

2) Our friend Olya came to visit last week. During one conversation she mentioned that eyelid surgery, botox and fillers were really popular where she lives — even for women in their twenties. I was shocked! I’m not sure I know any one in real life who has tried any of these procedures.

Both of these stories have me thinking. Yes, I would definitely be interested in having my teeth fixed and no, botox has never crossed my mind, but they are probably equally invasive. It makes me wonder, what do you consider cosmetic surgery? What’s okay with you and what’s not? Are botox and breast augmentation the same in your book? How about teeth whitening? Or laser treatments for spider veins? Are there any lines you draw when considering cosmetic procedures? Maybe nothing that requires general anesthesia? Are cosmetic procedures common where you live? If yes, are women secretive about it, or is it out in the open. I’m so curious!

Also, back to my teeth for a minute, are braces on a 30-something too tacky to even think about?

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{ 185 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiffany handshoe Bachman July 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm

My mom is 63 and just got braces last year. Why? They could only afford to put braces on my sis and I growing up. I think any age works if a little improvement will make you feel confident and happy… Especially as a reward to oneself for years of work and sacrifice. As for the improvements… a little nip and tuck here and there to lift saggy boobs that did their job nursing several babies or removing some nasty spider veins if you’ll feel great in a shorter dress. What i am personally against is when things get a bit obsessive and/or dangerous… And when thousands of dollars go to cosmetic surgery on a perfectly beautiful aging woman:( There are of course better causes $$ could go to…. But to each their own. We’re all on our own journey. Right now after two kids… I like my sags and wrinkles. I feel wiser, sexier and comfier in my skin than I ever have.

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2 Heather July 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I have to chime in here and say that not all orthodontics is done for cosmetic reasons. I work for a pediatric dentist, and orthodontics is use to correct jaw problems and help with grinding, TMJ and other issues. Also, I see parents all the time with braces on! Go for it!

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3 Emily Price July 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Go Braces! I must state that I am bias…my husband is an orthodontist. He has many adult patients, and yes, there’s many options. My advice is to go and get a consultation with an orthodontist (not a general dentist) when you get back in the states. An orthodontist has 2.5 to 3 years of additional training than a general dentist. He or she will give you options based on the type of treatment you need. I have noticed that a lot of people are suggesting Invisalign. Keep in mind that Invisalign is for limited types of treatment, in other words, they are not for everyone. They are clear retainers/trays that you have to wear 23 hours a day. Personally, the clear trays would drive my nuts. You can often get better results with metal or clear brackets.

Also, I don’t think braces should be put in the same category as other cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation, Botox, and lipo. Orthodontic treatments do not just take care of cosmetic concerns. In fact, most orthodontist are more concerned about tooth health and gums, not just straightening the teeth. Bad bites and crowding can contribute to gum recession, bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear on the tooth, headaches, and jaw joint pain.

So long story short, go for it Design Mom! I am not sure where you will be “landing” once you move back to the states, but if you end up in Utah or Colorado I can give you many recommendations for FANTASTIC orthodontists!

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4 Carrie July 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I’m pro botox. Done correctly it can make a subtle difference to the lines on your forehead and around your eyes. I know I look less aggressive now that those lines have been softened and that makes me feel more peaceful.

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5 P July 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I work at a surgery center that one of the things they do are cosmetic procedures. I think the most important thing that people need to be aware of when they opt for cosmetic procedures is to know ALL of the side effects and things that can happen. For instance, a breast augmentation can capsulate, which means the implants need to be replaced. Some people go a few years, some can go 10 years. Sometimes you need to get a scar revision or a lipo revision. Also, cosmetic surgery can be VERY addicting. I have seen it.
I’m not against it, I just think people need to be educated before they get it done. Also if it impairs function (like blepharoplasty for droopy eyelids-impairing sight), I think that is something totally different.
There is not a typical stereotype for people who get these procedure done. I have seen all different types of people, male and female. All different ages.
Too each there own. If someone has always hated their nose and been teased, why not? I would like to see more people try correct nutrition and exercise before they go in for lipo, though. I think a person should at least try for alternative methods.

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6 kroke July 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I have two adult friends at work that got braces recently. One of them is a female in her 60s, the other one is a male in his late 20s. Do they look better? I do not know, as I really did not pay attention to their teeth before they got braces.
My teeth are pretty crooked and I am missing upper #2s. Still, it never occurred to me that I need braces. I would rather loose some weight to make me look better, but it does not need a plastic surgery. Well, a plastic surgery would help with this but I would not do it. :)
I recently took my daughters for their first dentist appointment and happily we ended up with a pediatric dentist that thinks that braces are not really necessary unless there is an obvious problem with space for growing teeth. She recommends naturally grown teeth and I know she will not push us into braces.

One of my former bosses (male) did some kind of face lifting and we could hardly recognize him after he healed. He is from Columbia and I know that his family went thru similar procedures as this is apparently pretty common to do when you are wealthy.
Some of my friends did botox before their weddings to get ready for major wedding pictures. :)

I would not do braces nor botox.

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7 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay July 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Tacky? No. You will be showing your wisdom. Go for it, Doll!

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8 LH July 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Interesting discussion! I had braces as a teen, and once they were done, I started drooling every night and had problems with constantly biting my cheek. The cosmetic improvement was SO not worth it. I forgot my retainer when I went to the hospital to have my son and never put it on again! Now, 2 years retainerless, my teeth are a little less straight but I don’t drool or bite my cheek anymore. Hurray!

I’m opposed to cosmetic surgery except in cases like car wrecks etc. And yeah, I don’t wear makeup or dye my hair. So I guess I at least get points for consistency. Lol.

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9 Mandie Peckover July 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I am 29 and have braces. I am very glad I am doing it. I know several people quite a bit older than me who have braces- one of them is a lady who is almost 70!

The reason I decided to get braces is because my dentist told me that it’s actually not all cosmetic. Yes, they make your smile nicer and you feel prettier and more confident. But, if your teeth are really crooked it can cause jaw problems. My dentist also said people with crooked teeth have a lot more cavities just because it is harder to clean them. That’s why he told me to get braces. I am getting them off in just a few months and can’t wait to see what my smile looks like!

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10 Danielle Diehl July 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I was going to suggest Invisalign, but it seems 150 people just did!
Cosmetic surgery–a little goes a long way, methinks. Spider veins-yes. Botox-no. I think if you are older, and you look TOO GOOD, that looks bad. But that’s just IMHO :)

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11 Shara Harper July 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

I think that if it’s something that really negatively affects your life you shouldn’t feel bad about it…I have really large breasts and am currently BF my 2nd baby, after I have finished having children I would definitely love a breast reduction…I get extreme pain in my middle back from them being so large.

But I think anything that changes what you actually look like is not good….God made us to look that way and He loves us just as we are, we should too!!

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12 Laura Gaskill July 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Gah, good question! I personally would never get Botox (because I want to be able to express emotions with my face!) and I would definitely draw the line at surgery where anesthesia is involved…to me, taking a risk like having major surgery is too much for cosmetic reasons.
Anyway, I would rather spend my money on feel-good treatments like massages, facials, and great haircuts! ha ha.
I know that I may entertain thoughts about having “things done” as I age…but I HOPE that I can maintain my self-confidence and become one of those chic older ladies with charming smile lines and great style…and set a good example for my children, a lesson in aging gracefully!

In fact I just saw an incredibly beautiful 80+ year old lady on my walk this morning, she carried herself like a dancer, she was wearing wide-leg linen capris, a crisp boatneck top, ballerina flats, her white hair pulled up into a smooth knot, her face bare (and definitely no Botox!) except for creamy coral lipstick. Inspiring! xo Laura

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13 nikki July 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm

What great timing on this post. Just the other day I was wondering about my own teeth. I had various retainers when I was young but never kept up with them nor did my parents push me too (I wish they had now!) and was thinking about seeing a specialist for the Invisalign as here only certain dentists/orthodontists specialize in them. I;ll do it if you will! ;)

As for what I think is okay for keeping up appearances, I’m all for anything non invasive….something I don’t have to be put under for but I think I am also a little scared/opposed to Botox.

Good luck! Let us know what you decide with those pearly whites!

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14 DENISE. July 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm

What a doozy of a topic to try to tackle! I say to each his own. I’m not against anyone doing anything to feel better about themselves. As long as they are doing it for themselves and not anyone else. I do think it’s super sad that there’s so much pressure on women to be perfect and I wish it didn’t have to be that way. There’s such true beauty in everyone — sometimes it’s just hard to see it in yourself. And for you and your braces — go for it! You have so many options these days (clear braces, the braces on the backside, etc). If the end result will make you feel better, I’m sure you’ll still look beautiful!

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15 Michelle July 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Hi – I’m a relatively new subscriber, but just had to say, after a lifetime of crooked teeth and the associated lack of confidence, I had my teeth straightened using Invisalign – a system of clear trays which can’t be seen and worked on me in 20 weeks. I am SO thankful I had it done. I was 42 when I had them fixed :)

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16 Emily July 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm

First, about the braces, I say if Gwen Stefani wasn’t above braces in her adulthood, then I shouldn’t worry about it either. And when I’m done nursing this baby number four of mine (and any others we may have) I am most DEFINITELY getting a breast reduction and a lift. I don’t understand the notion of having implants, but I think that’s because I’ve always had bigger boobs than I would prefer. And I certainly don’t have any judgement for someone who would feel more comfortable with a little more on top.

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17 Yvonne July 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Wow, what a loaded question for a monday! We all have ‘imperfections’ don’t we? As someone who started graying in high school I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what we do to conform to a ‘standard of beauty,’ and it only gets more grueling after children. The real issue for me is not just how society views mothers and motherhood, and has strange ideas and expectations about what a woman is pre and post children, how she should behave, look, think, but also how we view ourselves. It’s hard not to judge others if we are judging ourselves, isn’t it? My friends are all imperfect, and all so beautiful to me. Why can’t we embrace the way our creator has made us? – which is in His likeness! Does confidence come from accepting ourselves as we are or changing oursleves to be more acceptable? Hmm….still thinking….

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18 Suzanne K July 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm

i had a retainer as a child, that i wore diligently, but now my teeth are even more crooked than before – i’m 35 and want to get braces soooo bad – if i could afford it i would get them in a heartbeat!
i see nothing wrong with any kind of cosmetic procedure as long as it makes the person happy – no matter what age!

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19 Wendy July 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I think braces at any age are fine and I’d probably even put them on a kid that “doesn’t really need them/has semi-straight teeth.” I’ve had veins fixed which is truly a wonderful thing, but not as easy as I thought it was going to be. Totally worth it though, since one of mine hurt every day after having babies. Having other things enhanced is out simply because of the cost. I love the idea of a boob job, but would have to heavily weigh the surgery risks, recovery time and thousands of other things I could do with the money.

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20 rachel July 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm

This has been very much on my mind these past weeks. So interesting that you would post it, and also interesting to read the comments as I’ve been contemplating the same things.

While talking to friends, I hear a lot of judgmental comments about women who chose to have breast augmentations (vanity, low self-esteem, etc.); yet I have a handful of friends who have had cosmetic procedures done and they all seem like confident, wonderful people on the inside and out. I think wanting to look your best (through dress and grooming) is a positive thing. How does that relate to cosmetic procedures? Totally NOT SURE. =)

Also, I’ve often wondered what the difference is between a breast augmentation and braces or something like lasik eye surgery (think of the risks involved with that!). The costs where I live seem to be similar for all those procedures, all with similar risks and mostly cosmetic things to be gained. I guess in my mind I tend to think of them all as cosmetic procedures, though some are certainly more invasive than others.

Is it right? Aren’t we just fighting a losing battle? What’s wrong with it if you have the money? I’m still not sure where I stand. I guess my opinion is this: in the long run, at the end of your life, it won’t matter much. There are happy, self-fulfilled positive people(which I totally think you are, Gabby!) who have cosmetic surgery, and there are crazy, perfectionistic vain people having it done too. Only you know when it’s right for you.

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21 Michelle July 25, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Funny, I had braces my freshman year of college, too. Didn’t have very many dates that year…

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22 cgReno July 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm

A definite vote for braces from me. I am a 62 year old woman who, in my 40′s, never considered that I would ever become high maintenance. It crept in slowly, first hair color (now I am a slave to it every 3 weeks), then teeth whitering, then botox (keeps my eyebrows in place) and now I am considering a “refresh” face procedure. If you had asked me 40 years ago, would I do these things, I would have said absolutely NOT. Well, life changes, and sometimes its not quite what we expected! I plan to shave my head at 65, and let the grey have its day. Ask me in 3 years!

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23 Rachel TF July 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I’m a dental hygienist and I see a lot of older (older than teens) people with braces. It’s not a weird thing! I would also put ortho in a completely different category than botox/boob jobs, etc… I think if you were getting a mouth full of veneers, than maybe that could be put into that kind of a category. Braces and whitening, nope.

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24 Stephanie July 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Me and my husband are both wearing Braces right now for a 3rd time and I would totally recommend it to anyone at any age who needs it.
My husband is a physician and treats patients with Botox so for the passed 5 or 6 years I have been treated on and off . He also does fillers. I recommend it for anyone who wants it.

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25 Heather July 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm

First, I apologze if you find multiple, unfinished comments from me. My computer is acting up.
I think you should get braces if you want them. One, you are taking care of your dental health, and two, you are sending a great message to your children: I care about myself/my teeth!
As for myself, I don’t think I’ll do cosmetic surgery. Two kids, breastfeeding, etc. have made my breasts saggy and my abs crepe-papery, even though I work out and eat healthy. I can’t sea correcting that with surgery. My face “aged” so fast. I really dislike the way I look. My husband travels on business and we skype to chat. I really hate looking at myself on the monitor…it puts me in a bad mood to see such deep lines on my face (plus, I have a naturally “angry” face). I have a “friend” who often recommends Botox to me (thanks, “friend”). She does it a lot (she’s also 10 years older than me!). I just can’t do it. I am tempted when I see myself on the monitor, believe me. But the idea of injecting something foreign into my body? No thanks. I hope that one day we will have some extra money so that I can get into a good facial/skincare regime at a dermatologist.
Thanks for allowing me to vent about my body/face! Good luck with your decision! I think your blog community will support you! :)

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26 Heather July 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm

ed: I can’t see correcting that with surgery.

Ack! sorry for the typos, too!

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27 Eva July 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm

My friend once included braces in a list of cosmetic procedures and totally caught me off guard. I’d never thought of them that way even though for me they were completely cosmetic. There was no benefit to my oral health involved in my decision to get braces as an adult. I don’t have plans to undergo any other cosmetic procedures though, aside from the removal of any protruding moles that may develop in the future.

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28 Heather July 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

LOVE these questions – these are things I’ve been wondering myself, and I’m loving reading everyone’s comments. It seems like a slippery slope, or a very blurry line, as you progress from teeth whitening to breast augmentation and beyond. I’m not sure where I fall along the continuum, though I am having my teeth whitened soon!

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29 Katie R July 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I think that as we get older, the procedures we were once adamant about not getting are now more becoming more acceptable to us. I found myself wondering how I would look with permanent eyeliner tattooed to my upper lids, so I wouldn’t look so blank in the mornings or when I had no time for makeup. My husband was mortified, of course. I also never would have thought that I would let an aesthetician zap my many broken facial capillaries with an electric needle, but I did. It hurt like hell, especially the ones I have had under my nose since I was a kid. But she also zapped the red moles I had in my cleavage that bothered me, and now I feel that I have a younger looking decollete. I still don’t think I would get botox or any kind of major facial surgery because I feel that many cases I have seen look unnatural, and I would be afraid I would be one of those. I am also too sentimental — the double chin I get when I smile is the only thing I inherited from my grandmother, and she died long before I was born. Can’t get rid of that. But as far as a tummy tuck, point me the way! I would do it in a heartbeat if I had the funds.

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30 Gillian July 26, 2011 at 1:27 am

You can get your braces on the INSIDE of your row of teeth. Takes a bit longer.
I wouldn’t bother though. I mean who cares? Lots of people have them.

Tell people you have a clicking jaw and the HEADACHES you got… watch their eyes glaze over and them lose interest immediately.

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31 Linnea July 26, 2011 at 6:58 am

Right – braces can be installed on the inside of the row of teeth. There’s also a retainer-like product called invisalign that fits over your teeth like a glove to do some minor straightening. I would go for the braces again if you have the opportunity!

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32 April-Living the Sweet Life July 26, 2011 at 2:15 am

Had my braces from 27-30 so worth it. Had botox when I was 31- HATED IT! I am an expressive talker. Had my spider veins lasered. Loved and need to do it again. Had laser hair removed on my under arms because I couldn’t get a clean shave. Hair came back but thinner than before. I have thought about doing it again and on my legs and arms too. I have thought about fillers but NOT around the mouth. It looks too fake. I am going in for an evaluation for lasik in 2 weeks. For my 40th birthday I decided I wanted my glasses gone. I would like to age gracefully with a little help from some good resources and not look fake. I haven’t colored my hair for over a year now. It’s the first time since I was 12 that I had my natural color. I was curious to see how many grays I have. Only a few maybe 5 or so. I am keeping it natural until they are more noticeable then I am coloring it! WOW I never really thought about all the things I have done. Guess when you add it all up it is quite a few. All non- invasive so far. The lasik will be the first.

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33 joe July 26, 2011 at 6:42 am

i thought retainers and braces are only worn by children, if they don’t have enough room for new teeth and such. i’ve never heard of an adult (in my country at least) trying to straighten their teeth with braces. however, i have heard of people having actual surgery to fix their teeth, which to me falls is the same category as cosmetic rhinoplasty. unless of course you fix your teeth in order to fix a health problem. breast implants and the like are a complete no-no in my book. stress management, some exercise, (padded bras and anti-wrinkle cream if you must), dressing for your body shape and flaunting the imperfections that make you unique is the way to go.

as for botox, i’m shocked by how many women think it’s not a big deal, since scientists are still only starting to discover all of its potential side-effects – not being able to lift your eyebrows is nothing compared to some other ones, which include muscle weakening in parts of your body not treated with botox (see http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2010/12/botox_could_make_you_flabby.html)

in light of that, in my forties i’d rather have wrinkles and the option of keeping my body tight through exercise, than a rigid face (for a few months at a time) and permanently flabby arms or thighs.

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34 Linnea July 26, 2011 at 6:56 am

As the daughter of a dentist, I know that braces are more than a cosmetic procedure – they can sometimes be lifesaving! Having teeth that align properly allow a person to chew food completely and easily, avoiding jaw pain and, yes, providing more confidence about one’s appearance. My dad also makes dentures – another cosmetic, but necessary, part of giving people a better quality of life. Other cosmetic procedures relying on chemical injections can be helpful as a confidence boost, but I don’t see a reason for changing the face God gave you simply because your smile has more wrinkles than at age 16.

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35 Melissa July 26, 2011 at 7:25 am

I was going to comment on how straight teeth have health benefits unlike (most) other cosmetic changes but i got beat out!

I say do what will make you feel the most comfortable with yourself.

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36 Mandy W. July 26, 2011 at 7:35 am

My sister, who’s in her late twenties and also had braces as a teenager, is doing Invisnalign (http://www.invisalign.com/Invisalign-For-Adults-And-Teens/Pages/Default.aspx) –it’s kind of like a series of clear retainers that slips on over your teeth, each one moving you back a bit straighter and straighter. Pretty non-invasive and perfect for someone who’s already done real braces at some point.

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37 Jess July 26, 2011 at 7:50 am

Does anyone remember when Tom Cruise got braces? He went on Letterman then and they were talking about them and Tom Cruise asked David Letterman if he had ever had braces, and Letterman just looked at him, with that huge gap between his teeth…

Also, this piece about celebrities who refuse dental care is pretty great:
http://www.slate.com/slideshow/arts/celebrities-who-refuse-dental-care/

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38 Stacey Meredith July 26, 2011 at 8:15 am

Hey there! I say go for the braces. David just got braces about a month ago to fix a crossbite, so I’m taking the plunge as well, TODAY! I think it’s become more popular for us 30 and 40, even 50 and 60 somethings to get braces nowadays. I’m dreading it, but I think it’s good maintenance for keeping youthful, along with a little teeth-whitening and laser vein treatment. Full on surgery to truly ‘alter’ your looks is just too much. I like to think that I’ll age gracefully, and look well-maintained, not like I’m trying to stop time.

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39 Babs July 26, 2011 at 8:18 am

Braces on anyone are just fine! It’s important for dental health that they are aligned, not just cosmetic reasons.

I don’t know if those types of procedures are common where I live, but they are common in my family. LOL! The way the aging process affects most of my family is that our eyelids eventually cut off our peripheral vision, so an eyelid lift is necessary to be able to continue to see. I know I am looking forward to this procedure at some point because my eyes are aging the same way.

And hey…while I”m there….might as well do a few other things as well, right? :)

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40 Jenny July 26, 2011 at 9:25 am

One of my favorite (and least flattering!) pictures of my mom and me is of us both showing off big, toothy, braces-filled smiles. I was in the seventh grade, and my mom was in her forties.

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41 sarah in scottsdale July 26, 2011 at 9:28 am

I had braces put on when I was thirty (it was my second time as well!) I’m glad I did it because now things are in alignment. If you want to have it done, I’d say go for it!

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42 celestematika July 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I had the full on silver braces from 29 to 31. It was actually kind of fun because no one believed I was 30. I didn’t feel tacky, but a little self conscious at times. I lived in Prague and I suspect everyone thought it was a really American thing to do. Funnily enough plastic surgery of all kinds was the rage there because it was relatively cheap. Lots of new boobs and noses running around those cobbled streets.

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43 Natalie July 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I say to each his (or her) own. Life is about feeling happy and beautiful both inside and out. If getting Botox or Lipo makes a person feel happy and more beautiful, then that’s just fine by me. Who am I to judge? With that said, I do hope that before people turn to cosmetic surgery, they address their personal reasons for wanting to change their looks. If it’s solely to chase after the ever-elusive fountain of youth, then I would hope they would reconsider or settle for something less extreme. Trying to look “forever young” isnt something that builds happiness or feelings of beauty inside for me, personally. My own limits? No Botox, no facelifts, no lipo. Wrinkles are beautiful and show that Ive lived long enough to have laughed and cried through it all. Being chubby isnt a sin and if I need to shed some weight I’d rather work it off then have to go under the knife and face recovery. On the other hand, I’ll admit I’d like to get breast augmentation. I suffer from severe scoliosis that leaves my posture in a less than desirable state, which uh, causes some parts to hang a bit low, if you know what I mean. After having two babes, my chest is something I’d rather not face when Im undressed… it’s just not pretty. If or when I’ll get that surgery is still to be determined, but I would hope that my family and friends would support me, knowing that I was doing it for myself and not to obtain a certain image.

As far as braces on a 30 year old, why not?! :)

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44 Amy G. July 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Braces – yes, whenever you can afford to. Botox scares me – it’s a poison injected in to your face. Eww. And if you had asked me 4 years ago about breast augmentation I would have said yes to reduction and no to enlargement. But now, after my 3rd child and breast-feeding, I could really go for some “rearranging” of that area. :) They certainly don’t look all that “natural” anymore! lol!

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45 Kym July 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

My feeling is that if it will make you feel good then go for it! I wore braces for 5 years in my early 30′s and I am so happy that I did. The only reason I have never had a breast augmentation is that I am too scared to go under. In a perfect world we would all be happy with what we have been given but we all seem to have something that we are not happy with.

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46 C July 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Its so timely that you posted this. I have three children and I am turning 30 next week. I have been thinking a lot about aging and my body. I have realized the older I get the more effort I have to put into my appearance. I had braces as a child and have really been wanting to get them again since my bottom teeth have shifted dramatically. I am hoping I can do Invisalign as braces do look a bit goofy on adults.

I also exclusively breastfed my three children and have been left with horrible, small, deflated breasts. I don’t even fit a 32A. I NEVER thought I would want any cosmetic surgery but this problem is something I cannot fix with diet and excercise and I am seriously contemplating breast augmentation. I have NO desire to have giant breasts or to attract attention to myself. I uphold LDS standards in my dress and actions. I just want to look normal. I don’t want to be stuck looking like this for the rest of my life and never wanting to take my clothes off. I value my intimate life with my husband and if I don’t feel confident about my body then it will have a negative impact on the physical aspect of our relationship. This being said, I don’t feel like I have to be PERFECT or size 0 to have confidence. But its hard to feel like a woman when you have no breasts at all.

Anyway, I am all for cosmetic work if it is done in the spirit of re-constructive surgery. If I had never breastfeed my children, I wouldn’t even consider it.

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47 Amanda July 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

My mom had braces at thirty-five while pregnant with her fifth child. And it was the eighties, so add big hair to the mix. And I mean BIG hair. I don’t think she ever got a second look.

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48 E July 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I don’t feel qualified to make a statement on having cosmetic surgery. I am in my thirties and see a LOT of changes in my body that are not exactly what I want, but who knows how I will feel when things just aren’t where they are supposed to be (or where I want them). I don’t want to feel depressed about my looks, so I imagine the older I get the more enticing some of these surgeries will be. I am sure there will be lines I will draw, as far as how much is too much, but I want to feel beautiful for my age in my thirties, forties, etc. Just don’t plan to try and look like I did at 18!

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49 Melody July 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I was born with “ghetto” teeth that didn’t need braces but was recommended veneers. I was always self conscious about smiling in pictures (always with my mouth closed) and even talking in general (growing up I was shy as well). My teeth didn’t need braces but I was recommended veneers. I’ve had them since I was 17. Let me tell you what a different, confident, and happier person I am because of them. I smile with my teeth now and because of them, I take better care of myself. People notice me and comment on my smile. I know they aren’t my real teeth (technically), but they allow me to be the “real” me (the person I always wanted to be: confident).

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50 Colleen July 27, 2011 at 12:00 am

I had braces in my late twenties and I am still thrilled five years later every time I see my straight gapless teeth! I’d definitely go for Invisalign if it’s an option, otherwise the porcelain ones aren’t that noticeable. That’s what I had and they hardly show up in photos.

As far as plastic surgery, definitely not for me. Its purpose was originally for deformities, accident victims, and reconstruction. I wish it had stopped there. That said, there are women very close to me whose tummies are pretty messed up from pregnancy. (One friend described her stomach as looking like an “elephant’s knee.”) I guess in those types of situations, it could be considered “reconstruction.” Bigger breasts, on the other hand, I have a hard time seeing as a medical necessity by any stretch. I’m not well-endowed at all, but as a happily married woman, I got over it years ago.

I try not to judge other women’s choices in these matters, but it’s difficult not to see women defining themselves by how close to society’s version of perfection they are and not feel pity for them at best.

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51 Anna July 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

another shout out for Invisalign. My Dad is a dentist and many of his patients (including my sister and several cousins) have used Invisalign with great success. I had regular braces in High School, but now I have Invisalign retainers that my dad made for me. They are much more comfortable than traditional retainers (no metal, nothing on the roof of your mouth; just plastic-type material molded perfectly to your teeth.) They pop in and out easily and can be cleaned with denture cleaner tablets in warm water. Easy-peasy.

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52 DeAnn July 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

Perfect timing… I am just recovering from a breast reduction. I was completely against any “changing” of what I was given, but eliminating the pain and hassle of lugging these babies around 24/7 has been worth it. I wake up every morning so grateful.

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53 Heather Y Vincent July 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

I do not think braces are cosmetic. Reason being, I suffer from severe TMJ, and have had to have braces 6 times in my 35 years of life, and will probably have to have them several more times. It doesn’t matter what the doctors do to try to “fix” the TMJ, my jaw always slips back into its pattern, leaving me in some days, severe pain. I have had my jaw broke and my mouth wired shut I don’t know how many times. Once the pain is too much to handle, I opt to get braces and wear the side bands to help move my jaw back into place, as well as having my jaw broke and wired shut. It seems to work, if only for a short amount of time. My teeth aren’t perfect, but they are straight. I have NEVER loved my smile, even after I have had my braces removed. I don’t know if my dislike for my smile has to do with the fact that I am always in such pain from the TMJ and I have never really enjoyed my smile. No, I don’t think braces are cosmetic…IMO.

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54 Franca Bollo July 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I say get braces if it will improve your bite (as Paige discusses) and/or make you feel better. I’m going to preface my next comment by saying I had braces when I was 11, for about two years, and there’s been little noticeable shifting since BUT I find slightly crooked/imperfect teeth kind of sexy. Vanessa Paradis (Johnny Depp’s wife) is a good example. She has a gap between her teeth you could drive a truck through but she’s beautiful and has modeled for Chanel. She’s also French who I think appreciate imperfect beauty more than Americans do. They have a phrase for it, “belle-laide”.

As for other procedures, in my 20s-40s I was very rigid in my views — completely against surgery for the sake of vanity — but now that I’ve turned 50 and have noticed the effects, I am much less judgmental. If it will really make you feel better, do it. It’s your life and no one’s business other than yours.

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55 Alea July 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I had braces in my mid-20′s while pregnant – and I’ll tell you that’s the way to go! Your gums soften when you’re pregnant and your teeth move faster (at least in my case). I did feel dumb in labor with braces, but they weren’t a problem. I realize you’ve mentioned June’s your last, but i just thought I’d mention my experience.
And after nursing 4 kids, I’d love non-deflated breasts, but i think it’s out of the budget!

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56 Hannah Mackie July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

I have definitely considered and even priced out a tummy tuck after having two C-sections. Even though I work out regularly and wear Spanx, I can still see the line of my scar through certain clothes and it really bothers me. I wouldn’t get a breast augmentation, although the thought has crossed my mind, because a good bra is all the help I need. I think that if it bothered my husband, or if I felt like other people noticed, I would probably be less inclined to consider surgery. But the fact that it bothers me even though no one else really notices makes me want to do it even more. Also, my teeth definitely shifted when I was pregnant so I am hoping to start the Invasalign treatments soon. I think, as an adult, if your reasons for making a physical change is to make someone else happy, then you may want to pause and revisit your priorities. But if you feel you need a change for you, because of something you are not satisfied with, and you are not putting yourself at risk by becoming addicted to cosmetic procedures or your family in financial ruin, then go for it.

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57 Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks} July 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

I’m in the same boat with the braces! And I may get them some day, if there’s disposable income sitting around. But beyond that? Nah. General anesthesia is not something I’d volunteer for, and I’d rather spend the money on a big adventure…like living abroad!

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58 adriane July 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

i would definitely do braces again if i felt like i needed them. i had them twice and have had retainers since i was 13. ask for permanent retainers – you will never regret it. i get compliments on my teeth all the time and i know it’s because of my retainers (a huge thanks to my orthodontist, who just does that for everyone, and to my parents of course, for not giving me a choice!).

as far as the other cosmetic stuff goes, it’s definitely something that is a personal decision. i am an aesthetician and have worked in a medical spa, so i saw A LOT of bad boob jobs, bad botox, bad lipo, etc. if you go to the right doc and you feel really passionately about something, i say go for it. i’m in my early 30′s and i’ve had botox, a lip filler, dark spots taken off of my face, moles removed, and laser hair removal. the lip filler was the scariest for me because it altered my appearance the most. funny thing was, most people couldn’t tell i’d had something done. and i felt a little bit at ease knowing that it wasn’t a permanent thing.

just make sure you do your research and, if you go by word of mouth, make sure you see, in person, what kind of results people have gotten from their doctors. that’s the best advice i can give. good luck!

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59 Marisa July 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I live in an area where we are bombarded constantly with advertising for invasive cosmetic procedures and it makes me sad. After listening to it on the radio day after day on the way to school, my girls (8 and 5) started noticing and asking me about it. It turned out to be a great discussion as we talked about how are bodies are wonderful just the way they are and how we should strive for health, cleanliness, and femininity. There is so much more value to a female than her body, and I hope to teach my girls the power of their creativity, humor, education, perserverance, and goodness.

I just feel like a lot of women get confused by the constant barrage of media regarding the “perfect body” and I wish I saw more women out there who felt confident in their own body over the course of life, and who could find enjoyment the aging process. I am fine with my tummy stretch marks because I was able to carry three beautiful children. I am fine having “deflated” breasts, because I was able to breastfeed them all for as long as I wanted! I am fine having crows feet around my eyes because I’ve had a life full of smiles and laughter.

What I’m saying is why are we all trying to be something we’re not? I have found that there is never happiness where any level of dishonesty is concerned. I am all for making an effort to exercise, eat right, sleep well, and love ourselves. I love to wear clothes and accessories that make me feel happy and speak to my personal style and taste. But my personal “line” is doing anything that doesn’t feel authentic. And I hope that my example of being okay with a less-than-”perfect” body will inspire others to be the same. We are beautiful women and should be proud of our bodies– and the amazing things that have taken place throughout our lives to shape them.

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60 cherie August 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I love your comment, Marisa. Well said and well lived!

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61 LLH Designs August 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Ditto!

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62 Jenny July 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Beautifully said! I completely agree!

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63 Heidi July 30, 2011 at 7:58 am

My dad didn’t get braces until he was in his late 40s! Our family orthodontist actually gave them to him for free since my dad had paid for all four of his children to have braces first! Buy four, get one free?!

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64 Jill Leever July 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Braces are not cosmetic, they are for the health and longevity of your teeth. “Crooked” teeth can be difficult to keep clean,and therefore can contribute to gum disease, and eventually tooth loss. I would not compare braces to botox ever! I don’t mean to sound harsh! Sorry! I’m a dental assistant and know how important oral health is. That being said….I would like to try botox. I know several people who have and they really like the results. Maybe it is just very commom here in California. So enjoy reading your blog! ~Jill

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65 melissa August 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

no, no, don’t get braces. straight teeth are way overrated.

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66 Julie Kirby August 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I am 35 & have braces. I got the clear ones & am so glad. My grandma got them in her 70′s. I say you are never too old to straighten your teeth.

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67 LLH Designs August 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Not a fan of surgically altering my body ever…even after children. Children are my reward for deflated boobs. They were worth it! And what message am I sending my daughters if I need to alter my body? We have some twisted body image issues in America for sure. I don’t want to make it worse for my girls by portraying a “perfect” body image that I attained through surgery.

But don’t think for a second that I don’t sometimes wish I had a few less wrinkles and sags! It just is what it is! All I can hope is that there enough women who feel they way I feel so that as I age, I’m not the only one who looks REAL!

Great discussion!
xo,
Linsey

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68 cbloe's mom August 4, 2011 at 11:39 pm

i saw a documentary on a woman who had a double mastectomy and chose not to have her breasts reconstructed because of the message that she would be sending to her daughters. i was inspired and amazed at her courage. it is a decision that i am 100% confident that i would not make for myself, yet i was totally inspired by her ability to do what she thought was best for her and her girls. i have also applauded women who have felt unsatisfied with what was left after having nursed their babies and had their breasts reconstructed, which in our culture can also take a lot of courage. i say to each her own.

p.s. i’m pretty sure you know a lot of people who have had botox.

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69 Lauren July 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Actually having wonky teeth can alter your bite causing huge medical issues -asking anyone with bad TMJ caused by misalignment! Braces can be cosmetic, of course, but they aren’t always!

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70 Deborah July 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I had clear braces called Simplify. They were only $1,000 compared to the $5,000 of invisalign. I hadn’t worn my retainers during pregnancy and then they didn’t fit after the kids. My teeth were shifting towards each other, and when one finally chipped the other, I decided it was worth it to have them corrected. 12 months and I was back to normal.
I’m on the fence for other procedures. I never thought I’d consider surgery, but as a size 6-8….with 32DDDD breasts- it’s hard to find clothes that fit and my back hurts every day. (I was a 32c before the kids and breastfeeding.) I agree with the mom above, that fear of dying on the table is what keeps me from going through with anything. (Plus the costs) Although every time I have to put on a swimsuit and worry about people seeing my chest, or have to spend a lot on one that actually fits, I reconsider. Having a larger chest isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…I wish I could warn the ladies that try to go too big.

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71 kalanicut July 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Earlier this week I was trying to find a dermatologist in LA for a member of my family. Every doctor’s big push was not healthy skin but anti-aging procedures. After looking at website after website for doctors I was really freaked out that all the talk is about expensive anti-aging and nothing about skin cancer, healthy skin, etc. The websites were all so disturbingly slick looking. Really discouraging what this says about our area…not that I should be shocked but it’s clear where the money is made by these doctors.

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72 Sally Thompson July 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I finished a two year stint of invisalign braces this year, a month before my 60th birthday! It’s never too late to correct your bite, but invisalign is the way to go, if you’re a candidate. You should look into them if you want orthodontia. Good luck!

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73 Melissa July 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I had a breast reduction at the ripe old age of 15, and it changed my life dramatically for the better. Having a more proportionate size increased my confidence significantly (I was NOT prepared for the looks and stares from members of the opposite sex at 15) and made shopping for clothes fun again. I could also sit up straight and wear a seatbelt properly, both of which were unbearably uncomfortable pre-surgery — as were wearing turtlenecks in Texas to camouflage the cleavage line I had from wearing double sports bras all the time. I had braces in college, and may do Invisalign in the future. I don’t think a breast lift would be out of the question, either. I don’t imagine myself doing anything that would dramatically change my looks, though.

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74 Jenny July 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Living in Nashville, where the entertainment industry is huge, cosmetic procedures are pretty popular. And obviously so, I might add. Women and men are both buying into it. My mom worked for a doctor who does a lot of facial stuff and had several skin procedures done that she was happy with, but I don’t think I could do it. My sister had breast augmentation in her mid twenties! I want to pass on to my daughter that we can be women and be imperfect and be happy with ourselves. Sure there are things that I wouldn’t mind changing, but they do not make me feel bad about who I am and what I have to offer the world. If they were a big source of unhappiness for me then I would have to ask myself why? This is a great topic!

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