Other Bracefaces: Tom Cruise

In 2002 crazy Tom Cruise gave his teeth some TLC with a near-invisible brace, at the age of 40!

The sofa-jumping, Oprah scaring, Scientologist – best known for being a short arse and general loony toon – is also a former braceface too. Cruise has always been a bit of a heart throb, since back in his cocktail making days (love the sock ‘n shirt dance moment), so it was a bit of a shock for the masses to witness their mega star avec metal-mouth. 

Still, beauty costs.


Other Bracefaces: Gwen Stefani

Ms Stefani was omnipresent in my teen years, it was a time she rather awkwardly resurrected thoughts of colonial slavery by appropriating Harajuku culture and when “tick tock,” was a pop-song lyric not yet ascribed to Kesha.

Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect

Basically I was well into her. But, did you know that the Lady L.A.M.B was a braceface too? Back in her years with No Doubt (the first time) she undertook orthodontic treatment – get this – as a treat to herself! She told Harper’s magazine in an interview that she had promised herself braces, once she got rich. Seem’s Rich Girl done good on that promise, as per this little gem of a paparazzi snap can attest.

I admire her courage to grab the bull by the horns, or the orthodontics by the wires, so to speak, pioneering a step into adult-hood brace-hood with that punky style she’s all about. I’d like to say my ascent into adult orthodontics was as Camden highstreet as all that, and not a wet-fart of delayed inevitability but I can’t really. (read more on my life’s pain and torture, here)


A mouth full of tools and brushes a day keeps the dentist away

I’m coming up to my 1 year #braceface anniversary soon, and what better way to celebrate than by telling you all about the insane things I put in mouth (easy tiger) to keep my nashers clean.

(well you try stringing a year’s worth of tooth-related content together, it’s hard!)

Aquafresh non-alcohol mouth wash, Manual tooth brush, OralB 3000 electric toothbrush body, Lush Atomic Tooth Powder, Tepe inter-dental brush, Electric toothbrush head, decorative apple #instagram, Interspace inter-dental brush, Toothpaste and Boots orthodontic wax
Yep, up to thrice daily most, if not all, of these things end up in my gob. Except the apple, that’s just a photographic metaphor, forbidden fruit and all like. I’m like Da Vinci, with braces.

What’s a particularly interesting product of late, though, is Lush’s tooth powder. For those of you that remember Eucryl, the powder based stain remover for your teeth, this is essentially the same principal, only there are more flavours. 
I opted for Atomic, which has that peppery, savoury taste a Dentist’s mouth wash has, you know the one, the pink liquid? It’s a great refresher for one’s teeth and suitable for braces too! Some would use instead of tooth paste, I use it as a post-paste but pre-mouthwash extra toothy treat.

I can’t quite believe it’s been nearly a year since I had my braces fixed, so much (not just in my mouth!) has changed since then and the process has been faster, more interesting and exciting that I had ever expected. I’ve actually enjoyed having the braces on and it’s not over-exaggeration when I say that I prefer my smile when hidden behind metal braces and wires than I did my smile before my braces. I feel like, even with them still on and still with work to do, that I’m more confident because the main cause of anxiety is partially concealed from the world. 

I must admit though, Ifind it hard to picture what I’ll look like when they come off, because even the shape of my face has changed, so I think it’ll be quite a shock when I see. Which, incidentally, may be sooner than first forecast, but more on that soon!

5 Braces Of Christmas Past

Yep, I’m still a #braceface, still shining from the gob like I’m chewing tinsel. When you’re tucking into your Christmas dinner, I’ll inevitably be picking Snickers Celebrations out from under my wires. Festive.

Still, I won’t be alone this Christmas, (aside from the billions of regular folk undergoing Orthodontic treatment around the world) there will be a barrage of braceface action on our screens this Christmas to watch out for too. Who knew Christmas TV was the best for braces?

1. Linnie McCalister, Home Alone (1990)

Not only is she a fellow braced bitch, but she’s a diva with a ‘tude too!


2. Darla, Finding Nemo (2003)

She’s sporting something a little more severe than I’m putting up with, but girl’s owning the ortho.

3. Marcia, The Brady Bunch (1969)

Marcia got her braces in the first season of the hit 60s/70s TV show, let’s just say she didn’t take to them straight away.

4. Girl With Head Brace, Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

She said “My boy, I think someday
You’ll find a way to make your natural tendencies pay”
You’ll be a dentist
(Be a dentist)
You have a talent for causing things pain
Son, be a dentist
(Son, be a dentist)
People will pay you to be inhumane
Whilst the Dentist may have once given me nightmares, now I’m a card-holding member of Orthodontia, I can’t help but feel a little pang of love for the brutally horrific things he does to his patient’s faces. *sigh*
5. Toe Thompson, Shorts (2009)

Finally, a guy in the list! This scene is from the opening of the movie, where our be-braced brethren cleans his mouth-gear. 

Other Bracefaces: Lisa Scott-Lee

Whilst sometimes I may act like I’m the only person in the world to have braces, I do often draw upon the experiences of other’s who have gone through metal-mouth too. Especially when they had braces in adulthood!

Lisa Scott-Lee is one such source of constant inspiration. Not only because she rocks electric blue glue-in hair extensions in a way no one else can, not just because Electric really was deserving of top 10 UK singles status and not just because I’ve met her (and pissed her off) – but because she had braces.

Steps are one of my favourite bands – the 1990s and early 2000s dance-pop group were the soundtrack to my closeted and brace-less adolescence. Lisa was never exactly my favourite member, preferring the rippling abs of Lee, the beauty of Faye and the voice of Claire (pretty much the rest except Scott-Lee and H to be honest!) and when she had braces in the band, it just gave me another reason to shrug her off. But now, as an adult in her shoes, I know what it’s like to be a superstar popstar with braces (kinda).

Her braces were the perfect accessory to have in the video to Stomp, playing a mischief-making young-un wrecking some cockney’s bachelor pad with her synchronised dancing and general merriment. Proving that braces aren’t that bad, you just need killer dance moves and a mirror ball choker.


However, her braces were probably less atmospheric for the Downton Abbey-esque The Way Make Me Feel video where her bashed in noshers would have been far more fitting for a Victorian themed ball. I especially love the Director’s placement of Scott-Lee behind the harp, in an attempt to hide her gob, when in fact the vertical harp chords act like a tic-tac-toe on her horizontal braces! Ingenuous.

All in all, Lisa has been a rock in a deep (electric) blue sea of braceface paranoia. Constantly remind me that if Lisa Scott-Lee can wear braces and have the career, legacy and cultural impact that she’s had – then I can do it too!



5 things you don’t expect to happen when you get braces.

I’m a #braceface, but apart from being able to store copious amounts of food in my teeth, like a hamster does with its cheeks (whether I like it or not), there are some unexpected privileges from being a metal-mouth, after all.

1. Your nails are nicer. 

I’ve always been a nail biter – well, not so much a nail biter as a biter-of-skin-around-nails. As a result, I suffer from flaky and generally unappealing skin around my fingernails. But, when one has braces, one cannot chew one’s hands. This little treasure, when coupled with my new near-religious Sunday hand pamper routine (read more about this here) means I’ve got hands as soft as a baby’s arse! Who knew?

2. You almost never have bad breath.

Bad breath is not something I’ve ever particularly suffered with (or at least, no one has told me!) but since having my brace affixed, I’ve worried about bad breath – there’s simply more for the bacteria that causes bad breath to stick to now, so it’s sort of inevitable. But, because I’m a little paranoid, I use mouth wash around 3 times a day, and sometimes brush at lunchtime too. So, I’m minty fresh 24/7!

3. You get a nice pout.

When I first had my braces on, and then a couple of other periods when they’d achieved a significant milestone and moved teeth somewhat forcefully – I’ve had a lovely pout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all the time, but when swelling means it does happen, it’s enough to make you think, “oh, a silver lining,” whilst holding back the tears from agonising pain.

4. Your lips are nicer.

Much like my finger chewing peeve, lip biting was a bit of a thing for me. Not (just) in a sensual come-to-bed kinda way, but in a biting chunks of flesh out and then realising what you’ve done when you can taste blood kinda way. But now that I have braces, that’s not a problem!

5. You become more confident when speaking in public.

This is probably something very specific to myself, because I’ve never been shy when it comes to public speaking. But, when you just have to get over the fact that 9 times out of 10 you’re going to accidentally spit on someone and, you know what, there might just be a bit of salad in your braces, you almost reach a new state of enlightenment and just get over stupid nerves and think, “fuck it, I’ve got braces, and I’m gunna spit on you.”


Two front teeff

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So I’ve had my braces on for just over two months now and we’re getting along famously. Now, back when I introduced my braces to you, in Introducing: Braceface, I mentioned that my Orthodontics department was actually the Children’s Orthodontics department of the University of Manchester Dental Hospital. Yes, Children’s. No, I’m no minor (although I have enviously youthful skin, I must confess) but nonetheless, I’m being treated alongside pre-tweens with bad ache and bad attitude.

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I’ve always suffered with my teeth. When I was very young I used to have chronic abscesses that would last days and keep me awake. Once, my Mother ran out of frozen peas and vegetables to soothe it and I had to go to bed with a frozen sausage on my face. I woke up and it was soggy…. my teeth still hurt.

I have had countless fillings but I never had a sweet tooth and I brushed my teeth religiously. My brother, on the other hand, barely put brush to gum and his perfect pearly whites were the envy of the entire family.

Little shit.

I’ve always had trouble with dentists too. There was one dentist in my home town who was pretty horrific. He never let my Mum come into the surgery room and he smoked, so his hands stank and I’m not sure he ever wore gloves either! Once, he had to extract a tooth that had gone bad (oh yeah, I’ve had 4 teeth removed in surgery too…) but he barely numbed the tooth before sticking that mini ice pick into my gum and yanking the tooth out. I screamed a lot and Mum burst through the door and dragged me out. There was a dramatic amount of blood – like Halloween amounts. As we left, the receptionist called, “you’ve not made another appointment!” to which my mother responded, “I don’t think we will be either,” as she turned my now hyperventilating face to the receptionist, blood pouring off my chin. I must have looked like the girl from the Exorcist.

Then there was the dentist who, upon mere mention of Orthodontics, said, “Jordan has a tragic orthodontic problem, beyond discussion.” I later learnt that back in Poland, he was actually a trauma surgeon who specialised in re-constructive facial surgery after road traffic accidents.

This was all pretty much whilst I still had milk teeth.

So, needless to say, I went through adolescence without braces and laughing openly at all my friends who had them. Little did I know it would come back to cross-bite me in the arse.

So, I’m 18 and University is around the corner, everyone I know has immaculate teeth and I know I’ve been shafted. We pick up where we left off and try the Orthodontic route. I have appointments and there are X-rays and then I totally bottle it because I’m going to University and I don’t want to be the only one with braces. Again, just delaying the inevitable really. So, I go to University and have a grand old time and, guess what, people had braces and those that didn’t had wonderful teeth and I looked like someone from The Hills Have Eyes

Now I’m 22 and graduating. I begin the process again, because Miley Cyrus is on the scene and she had a marvellous thing called Lingual Braces, which are affixed to the reverse of your teeth and so therefore, invisible. I enquire, more appointments, x-rays and the like and the cost, an astronomical £8,000. So, I start saving. 

Whilst I’m supposedly saving, a lovely PR friend of mine stops me at a bar opening we’re at and says,  “you’ve got wonky teeth, want me to sort them out?” I spit out my Prosecco, ready to lamp him one when he divulges that he’s doing the press for a local Invisalign Invisible Braces specialist and they could use a case study like me. Bonus.

I meet with the wonderful team and get started with the assessments. I eventually meet the owner of Smile Stylist, and he takes a look. Then he delivered another crushing blow for my gob… he said, “I’ve only said this to three other people in my career, but Invisalign won’t help you…”

Oh for fuck’s sake, I’ll just have crap teeth and focus on distracting people with my hair.

Then, I’m 24 and my wisdom teeth come through so I’m referred to The University of Manchester Dental Hospital to consider taking them out. This is where it gets interesting.

They believe there’s a case to enrol me on Orthodontic treatment under the NHS (i.e. which only under 16s can have) because I’m “an extreme case,” – yeah, cheers love – and would require multidisciplinary treatment; both surgery and orthodontics. Basically, it seems my problem is so severe, I need my jaw breaking (maybe twice) and so the NHS step in as no private Orthodontists can perform such a treatment in this country. Amazing, right? But what’s more, had I gone with any of the many Orthodontists that have quoted me thousands and thousands of pounds for treatment, they’d never have fully fixed my problem, isn’t that awful?

Anyway, I was put on the TWO YEAR waiting list, but randomly expedited, and so I had the beauties popped on in March this year! So that’s why I’m in the Children’s Orthodontic Department for my treatment.


10 things you can’t do, when you have braces

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of the random things you can’t do when you’ve got fixed braces, or at least, the random things I can’t seem to do any more… These things aren’t necessarily what you’ll find in the So, youre thinking about fixing your botched-up smile? pamphlets, and have come to my attention over the last few weeks of having #braceface.

1. Bite open, anything. Sachets of sauce, sellotape, heads off of bats
2. Bite your lip (in a seductive fashion, or otherwise)
3. Bite your nails (probably a good thing)

4. Do this facial stretch, which you never realised you needed to do, until you couldn’t…
5. Suck things out of your teeth, like a boss…

6. Lick your teeth like in an toothpaste advert
7. Eat crusty bread (in case I hadn’t already mentioned that)
8. Chew gum
9. Eat apples, like a normal person 

10. Eat carrots like Bugs Bunny


Introducing: Braceface

Ladies, gentlemen and all others in between. My name is Jordan McDowell, and I am a Braceface.

It’s happened, my metal mouth prison has been affixed and I’m well on my way to an Oral-B advert smile.

 SS15, metallics.

It all happened rather fast, I popped into the Orthodontist’s to have one part of the brace fixed and ended up with the whole meat and two veg being constructed! I hadn’t even had the chance to have my last supper (crunchy bread, crusty bread and crunchy crusty bread), but que sera, the sooner they’re on the sooner they’re off.

So, wanna take a tour ’round ma gob? Right now, this is what it feels like.


But, here’s what’s actually goin’ on up in here. Firstly, I have this spring-loaded mouse-trap of a thing wrapped around my back teeth. It’s pushing my upper arch out and wider to make more room for my teeth to move without the need for tooth extraction. 

Upper arch widener, a whole lotta metal

This was what I thought I was having fitted when they went ahead and carried on the roadworks. As well as this springy thing, I have upper and lower fixed metal braces, y’know the kind, like those Lisa Scott-Lee wore in the ’90s. Perhaps I could be considered retro-cool? (Please?)

Whilst they’re rather tender, are gouging sores into my cheeks and lips, my tongue is ulcerated from the arch widener and I broke them in three places within 4 hours of having them on (I craved crusty bread), I’m rather liking getting to know them and I think it’ll be an interesting partnership over the next 2-3 years (Oh Jesus, that’s a long time, isn’t it?) I’m also looking forward to chronicling their noble endeavours here on this very blog.

Oh, just a call out to the team at Manchester University Dental Hospital Children’s* Orthodontists Department, they’re all rather marvellous and have made what has been a very difficult and stressful decision all the easier to make by being understanding and lovely all the way through. Also, a call out to my beloved boyf who has been carefully planning meals around my inability to chew and bought me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to cheer me up after having a few sleep-interrupted nights through the pain.

*Yes Children’s, more on this little gem soon.

Stay tuned for more Chronicles of Braceface.



Well, at the grand old age of 24 it looks like I’m finally going to get braces. Nope, not to hold my trousers up, but to straighten my teeth out.

Better late than never, right?

Today marks the beginning of the end of my quest to rid myself of 18th century like nashers and to sport a Julia Roberts smile. Something I didn’t think possible, but something I’ve fought for for longer than I care to remember.

But remember I shall, as I promise to tell the story of a goofy young boy who very much should have had braces at the age of 11, like everyone else, but for reasons still a little foggy, didn’t, and who is now, in adulthood, having to share an Orthodontic waiting room with children watching cBeebies to get his face fixed.

It’s been an emotional ride my dear readers, but that’s nothing compared to what’s to come, I’m sure.

For now, I’m going to try not to pick the elastic bands that have been stuck between my back teeth and instead eat as much crusty bread as I can find before I’m no longer able to!