I am a teeth person. Some people notice eyes. Some notice the shine of a new manicure. I have a friend who looks at noses (oh boy did I judge).
I notice teeth.
Because of this, my teeth have always bothered me. There was always that one. Finally, I decided to do something about it.
Going to the orthodontist is interesting. There are coloring books and crayons, multicolored padded cubes to sit on and Shrek plays on repeat. I’m the only patient there without a parent or guardian, so I leave that line blank when I sign in.
I’m baby faced, so I know I look like half the kids in there, but something about the ortho makes me feel old. Kids eyeball me, and I read it plainly on their faces: she doesn’t belong.
It took about an hour to get my braces put on. The man used a plastic contraption to open and separate my lips from my skull so he could polish, wipe, and individually cement each metal bracket to my teeth. He then used a glowing blue pen to dry the cement.
The smells took me back to high school, dissecting a frog with my brother. Why it smelled similar? I don’t care to know.
Looking in the mirror for the first time was horrifying.
The man taught me how to floss and brush. I was given a little baggie of tools and sent—lips puckered and strained against the metal—on my merry way.
Braces are metal. Duh. What I didn’t take into account is that metal is pokey and sharp and scrapes at the inside of your cheeks and lips. I had what felt like a sinus headache for a few days, which is typical when teeth shift and straighten.
Because I have such a prominent overbite, my top teeth were resting on the brackets of the bottom teeth. I got a horrible cringing feeling similar to when you accidentally bite the fork. (Don’t you dare lie. We’ve all bitten the fork at least once in our lives.) The man had to glue two cement mounds on either side of my mouth to separate my top and bottom teeth.
In summary, I currently chew food with two teeth (my two cement mounds), my cheeks are torn and suffering, and I couldn’t eat anything harder than a smoothie for about a week and a half.
Best. Diet. Ever.
I think we can safely say this is the best decision I have ever made. I am on the road to straight teeth, and I couldn’t be happier!
Now that I have braces, veteran brace wearers have emerged from the shadows to stand by my side and fight anyone who dares to mess with me. They get it. They understand. They WILL scream at you in my defense if you ever make fun of my forced diet or accidental drooling.
I have been accepted.
As each week passes, I know the worst is behind me. It’s all a matter of getting used to the large, malicious foreign object stuck on my teeth. Listerine has helped heal the cuts in my mouth (I thank my momma for that trinket of wisdom!), and I’ve learned to work my lips around the metal.
Did I also mention everyone thinks I’m sixteen?
Beauty is pain, friends.
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