Everyone who has ever been a child realizes that a smile can be the difference between confidence and being bullied, because children are terrible to each other for little to no reason. Many of us had braces, but there were many more whose parents couldn’t afford them and had to wait until they were adults to fix their own smiles.

And while maybe beauty shouldn’t matter so much, when it’s standing in the way of a person feeling good about themselves, it definitely does – which is what makes these 12 transformations so special.

12. What’s cute at 12 seems not so much later.

I’m sure her mom really tried, though.

12 vs 22. My teeth aren’t perfect yet (wish I’d worn my retainer!) but still thank you for braces and haircuts that are not by my mum! from uglyduckling

11. This is a RADICAL transformation.

I can’t imagine needing surgeries on my face.

November 2010 vs March 2020 – 4 years of braces, double jaw surgery and a whole lot of smiles later! from braces

10. Love her smile in both pictures, though.

I think most people feel like braces are worth the pain.

Image Credit: Reddit

9. Braces don’t get enough credit.

They’re kind of a miracle.

Yesterday i got my braces off just in time for my 19th birthday. It’s amazing what 2.5 years of braces can do. from pics

8. When you feel like a totally new person!

That is the best feeling, isn’t it?

Image Credit: Reddit

7. Before, during, and after…

She was always pretty but what a difference!

Definitely worth it✌? from braces

6. Some doctors are so good at their jobs.

This is a killer team!

This is what over 2 years of braces, wisdom teeth removal and 2 jaw correction surgeries looks like. (Me, 2017-2019) from PastAndPresentPics

5. Happier and more confident is the goal.

This is the best possible outcome for sure.

It’s the two year anniversary of when I got my braces on. Two weeks ago I got debraced. I am so much happier and confident with my new smile ❤️ from braces

4. I’m sure this wasn’t without pain.

Her smile says she’s glad she did it!

13 months and a lot of powerchains later. from braces

3. Her teeth are gorgeous.

A++ work, orthodontist.

It was worth it from braces

2. Five years might seem like a long time…

But it’s a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things.

About age 9 to age 21, I guess those 5 years of braces paid off from uglyduckling

1. Rocking the new haircut, too.

His smile is the best.

M/20/5’9’’ [137 lbs] 15 months. Left to right: Start Date: November 12th 2018. Finish date: February 27th 2020! Just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of heart for my orthodontist in helping me give something to truly smile about – a handsome, warm smile. ??? #bracesoff. from progresspics

I love all of these pictures!

Did you have braces or other dental work done? How did it change the way you see yourself? Tell us your story in the comments!