Of Braces and Home Improvement

an orthodontic journal

Lynn's Braces Journal - Introduction
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I created this journal and this website for any adult who is considering braces. I just turned 42, and have been considering braces for the past 10 years. Iíve probably gone to at least a half-dozen orthodontists over these years. They all told me the same thing: four teeth must be removed, I have an open bite, and I must have full braces for two years. One even told me I needed tongue thrust therapy (which sounds much more erotic than Iím sure it actually is).

The last orthodontist I saw, five years ago, wanted me to wear head gear, and warned that my profile might change dramatically. That was enough for me to chicken out, after spending several hundred dollars on x-rays and molds. At the time, my youngest daughter was an infant, and head gear was out of the question. And change my profile?! Yowza, what would that look like?!

My husband of 16 years loves me no matter how crooked my teeth are. Heís made this clear time and again. But, he pointed out; Iíd look better with straight teeth. The fact that they are crooked comes as a surprise to most of my friends and even my relatives. The crookedest teeth are the bottom ones, which I usually donít show when I smile (a camouflage maneuver I learned from an early age). Theyíve gotten worse over the past 10 years, which annoys me.

Why didnít I get braces as a child? Money: my parents didnít have any. I also think my childhood dentist was lousy.

Why am I finally getting braces now? For one thing, Hubbyís new job has a great orthodontic plan, which is extended to adults. It would pay for almost half the cost (the total cost is $4,800, and the plan pays $2,000). With so many companies slimming down their benefits, Iím afraid that if I donít take advantage now, it will just cost us more in the future. Secondly, I really want to have straight teeth, for the first time in my life.

So let me tell you a little bit about myself. I live in California and have two daughters. Iím a stay-at-home Mom who also works part time on sporadic Technical Writing contracts. In other words, I sometimes write software manuals for companies, usually from home. I did that full-time on-site before having my kids. But most of the time, Iím a Mom, doing what us Moms do: lots of driving around, cleaning, picking up, cooking, and kissing away my kidsí owies, trying to find time to exercise, and pursue my hobbies (playing guitar and writing).

But wait, thereís more! Home improvement! After living in our house for eight years, we have finally decided to make some changes. Big changes. A remodeled kitchen (new countertops, refaced cabinets, new stoves, new floor, new sink, new fixtures), new windows in the entire house, new sliding patio doors, a new front entry door, a new roof and gutters (the current ones leak), a paint job and glass doors for the dowdy fireplace, a paint job for the exterior of the house, landscaping, upgraded automatic sprinkler system (the current one is half-assed), re-do and improve my daughterís room, make some minor improvements in our master bathroom, a little paint here, a little wallpaper there, and maybe (if I can convince Hubby), new carpet for the living room. And our one luxury item: a hot tub (spa) for our deck. Iím sure there are a few things Iíve left out, but you get the picture. Lots of details and dust.

Yes, all that, plus working sometimes, plus all the Mom stuff. And then add braces. Am I a glutton for punishment, or what?!

I go into all this with more than a little trepidation, but a great amount of determination. In the next two years, my home will be improved, and so will my smile. As Hubby remarked, two years will pass, whether I get braces or not.

I didnít actually begin writing this journal on December 10, 2001. I started in January, 2002 and worked backwards for about a month, then continued in the present. After all, what would be the point of writing this if I decided NOT to get braces? This journal will not include every miniscule detail of my life: all the Brownie meetings, the birthday parties, the schlepping. That would be way too tedious. Iím just focusing on two things: braces and home improvement.

So, if you are like me, and have waited all these years to take the plunge with braces, read this journal. I will be brutally honest. If it hurts like hell, Iíll say so. If itís not so bad, Iíll say so. But youíll get the truth -- or at least my truth, anyway. Maybe it will help you make your own decision. Hopefully my teeth will wind up straight, and my contractors wonít screw anything up too badly (Oh, the horror stories I hear from friends who have gone through home improvementÖ.)

If you're new to braces, you may want to read Braces 101, which contains helpful information for "beginners."

If you want to read the journal from the beginning, click on this December 2001-January 2002 link (or click on "Next Journal Entry" in the bar below). It begins just two days after I bought my new GE stoves from the appliance store. They are going to replace a circa-1970 avocado green double electric range (otherwise known as a ďhigh-lowĒ), which is quite an eyesore, and which, God knows, Iíve put up with long enough.


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