In January, still enamored with having steady health insurance, I decided to go and see what an orthodontist would say to my teeth. Now in a family of Germans and Scottish, I came out with a hint of Austin Powers teeth. Both my parents had neatly aligned teeth, so, they never thought to open my jaw like a horse to divine the quality of mine. The German efficiency was tossed aside when it should have been, “Dear child, you have some nice acne and are sufficiently awkward now, why not amp it up with some braces and when you’re in your mid twenties, you’ll be able to just remember all that, with vengeance, as just building character?”
So, I wiggle around as I sit for a mold of my teeth and smile wider than I do naturally for my Before Shot. The consult with both the doctor, a laid back Texan, and his business end, his polished early-fifties ex-cheerleader wife, went well. He told me that I had a whole slew of problems, crossbite, overbite, orthoitis of this and orthoitis of that with a bout of snaggle. A little of this and bit of that and in 20-24 months, you’ll be set. Holy moses, two years, I thought and sunk into my chair. Oh, and before we start, get your wisdom teeth removed, missy. He gets up to shake my hand.
With the business end, I nodded blankly to the figures, still mulling the time in my head. Now in January, I was still thinking Japan! and Sushi! and Hot Japanese Guys! so I told them I needed to wait, but that I’d take them up on the wisdom teeth idea and after that I’d get back to them. I set up for the wisdom teeth removal, blessedly only the top because the miracle of evolution made me not have any on the bottom, and this is another story not to be told here except that you know that someone loves you when they take wads of your blood-soaked bandages and only wrinkle their face.
[Thanks J. ^_^]
[Oh, and I hear that they couldn’t shut me up when they put me under, plus I decided to get bossy until the meds wore off. I vaguely remember trying to grab my laptop and telling J sluggishly, “I need to set up my Command Center, duuuuuude” as he just shook his head and led me to the couch.]
Then I let the option of braces weigh on my mind for a while. Should I invest in this? Should I be doing this now at this age even as my blonde and stunningly beautiful dentist reassured me that she got them when she was just a bit older than me? And then I had to fight with something I’ve had for many years, TMJ.
TMJ is a hip nickname for jaw problems. In my case, mine doesn’t align properly and I have to sometimes manually click it open and hear grinding noises. It seemed like something had happened after I got my wisdom teeth out, whether they dislocated my jaw to get the job done perhaps, but as I couldn’t correctly eat good food in Germany because of my jaw, I had had it. Damn this, when would I have another health plan that would throw nearly two grand at me to say, “Hey Gorgeous, go fix your teeth.”
So last Wednesday I nervously sat in a chair to remind them to get the clearer, ceramic brackets on me [“Oh yes, I’ll pay extra.” Um, thanks Mom!] and couldn’t help laughing as they snapped on the wire. Just for the experience, I couldn’t say no.
For now, they’re just on the top, stretching my bite before they descend on the lower teeth. I have to admit that it felt, and still feels, really good. It’s like my teeth very much wanted to be in marching band and I denied them and now they get their crazy hats, roll their feet, and there is a lot of squealing of glee. Now, my co-worker did love watching me gum at Chinese food two days afterward and I ordered some pizza only to gum at that in private, but after the pain had faded, it’s pretty snazzy.
In my mind, I’ve optimistically planned for a year to be able to mentally coerce my teeth into, you know, scuttling into order a bit faster. Because of too immediate access to Internet between hopping around on projects at work, I googled my orthodontist again today, trying to find reviews. One review started, “Dr. X estimated two years but I was done in less than a…” I choked a bit on my tongue and I clicked the more button only to get “Read the rest at a low rate of $14.95.” Curses! Foiled!
Nicely played Interwebs, though, I sometimes hate thee heartily.
But back to the braces. I am getting used to them, but the novelty is wearing off. I’m starting to get this feeling of, “Alright, that was swell fun, but seriously, let’s take these out.” But the 13-year-old in me is quite pleased when people have narrowed their eyes and said, “Wow, you really can’t tell you have them at all.”