Emily Borden and her husband John have been driving to the same office every month for a year. It's three and a half hours from Fort Stockton to Lubbock, but this time, she doesn't even wait for John when she heads for the door because her life is about to change. Who would think a day in an orthodontist's chair could be the "best day of your life." It started a year ago this February when Emily took a picture at the orthodontists office. At age 75, Emily decided to get braces.
"When I was the proper age, about 12 or 13, the dentist said your teeth aren't that bad so we didn't do it," says Emily. "But then, every time I went to the dentist, other dentists would say why didn't you ever straighten your teeth?"
So, after being married 50 years and raising three kids, Emily realized something.
"I straightened their teeth. Now it's my turn," says Emily.
"It's definitely part of the trend in orthodontics. More adults that have wanted this service for a long time are having the opportunity to do something that will improve the health of their teeth and improve their self-esteem," says Dr. Nadene Tipton, orthodontist.
And since most adults have wanted this for so long, Dr. Tipton says they're usually very good patients, keeping those rubber bands in place and avoiding the list of chewy, sticky foods that are bad for braces.
"Everyone wants to get out of braces as fast as possible. She did what it takes," says Dr. Tipton.
Emily followed all the rules so instead of 18 months in braces she is here now to get them off in 12 months and 21 days.
Braces work by putting pressure against the teeth, moving them gradually over time. It is not the metal mouth hardware of a generation ago. Today, some braces are completely invisible. As worn by Tom Cruise and Ashley Judd fitting onto the inside of the teeth. You can even show them off in different colors and designs. But most patients, like Emily, choose a simple metal wire, called an archwire, that runs along the outside of the teeth.
"When I met Emily, she said she'd spoken her whole life with her hand over her mouth. So, now you don't have to do that anymore. There's the second set," says Dr. Tipton.
On this, the best day of Emily Borden's life, it took just a few minutes to clip the wire, remove the glue, raise the chair and hear her exclaim.
"Ohh! They're great! I look human again. They look great, don't they?" says Emily.
So what does John think about the new Emily?
"Beautiful, not pretty, beautiful," says John.
So maybe because John loves Emily, this was his best day too.
People think braces are expensive, but most doctors are willing to work out a payment plan. For Emily, that means $200 a month for 18 months.