My First Day in Braces

experiences of ArchWired readers

 Judy from Pennsylvania

Like all your other stories, I too had considered braces for years. When I was 13, our family dentist told my mother I needed braces to correct my rather significant overbite and several fairly crooked teeth. And she told me, "We can get you braces or we can send your older sister to college. We're going to send your older sister to college. Try pushing your teeth back while you watch TV."

Of course, that didn't happen. So for much of my life I have daydreamed about getting braces, or accidentally getting hit in the mouth, losing my front fangs, and being forced to get braces paid for by my insurance, without having to really make a decision. Which, of course, didn't happen either.

Then I started feeling like I could no longer fit my lips around my front teeth. They would dry out when I talk. I ended up with my second root canal and then an abscessed tooth that had to come out. My dentist had told me for years I should get braces. Now he told me that it wasn't my imagination that my teeth were protruding even more, that overbites often get worse as we get older. Plus he said I'd probably lose a few more teeth over the years because the crowding made them impossible to keep clean. So, I did it.

Its been 10 days. If I had had any idea how painful, how embarrassing and how little I could comfortably eat during this early stage, I never would have done it. It feels like my teeth are in prison. Now I really can't fit my lips around them. I bite the inside of one cheek, making it impossible to chew food, even if I dared. I've have two canker sores already.I drool. I know I've had bad breath because my dear friend was honest enough to tell me. I spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning my teeth. I have a lisp now and then. I'm baffled by why they don't give you anti-depressants along with the wax.

And the one thought that has been going through my mind is, WHAT WAS I THINKING? I'm 57 years old. I work in public relations and a mouth full of metal isn't the kind of packaging we strive for. Of course the clear plastic on the top helps, but its NOT INVISIBLE like they told me it would be, and not as unnoticeable as not-so-close friends say it is. 'And it really doesn't help when they tell you they thought your teeth looked just fine. Or, ask, "did you do it for purely cosmetic reasons?" "No, I did it because I'm a narcissistic moron." (I didn't say that, I'm actually a pretty nice person, I just feel comfortable saying it in here).

At any rate... other adult friends who went through this tell me it will get better, and it has already. They tell me I will be so glad I did it, and I keep that thought in the forefront of my mind. And last night, I summoned up my courage and went through with a speech I had previously committed to, before an audience of over 100 people, braces and all, and got great feedback. It was to raise money for a good cause, and we did well. So, I guess if I can do that now, I'll be OK for the next 538 days. That will bring me to April Fools Day, and I sure hope that day's designation has absolutely nothing to do with my teeth.

Thanks for putting all this out there, and for all the fellow inmates' stories. They really made me feel so much better, especially the ones that mention how hard it was and how much easier it became. I'll do one of those soon, I'm sure. I hope. Surely. Positive thinking. I promise.

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