Editor’s note: I did not have braces as many did during high school (or junior high, or elementary school). Instead, I have been graced with them at 37 (nearly 38).
I sat in the office — this is just over a week ago — of my orthodontist with a mixture of excitement and resignation, which is a lot easier to pull off than it sounds. Excitement because I was going to get braces and finally see what the fuss was about, and it also presents an opportunity for colored bands to celebrate holidays. (October’s colors will be orange and black). Resigned because I knew that, aside from the opportunity to accessorize the little metal boxes, I’d be having said little metal boxes on my bottom teeth for about nine months.
The part that I didn’t realize until after they were cemented, one by one, to my lower teeth, is this: your mouth was not made for bits of metal to be hanging out there.
My first night I attempted to eat a salad and discovered you can’t really do that with braces, or at least not for the first week. The little metal bits rub the inside of your mouth in such a way as to give you a very good idea of what it’s like to chew on razor blades; now 8 days later the cuts and ulcerations are almost gone. They give you this little box of wax for you to attach to the exterior of your braces (to mollify your mouth, presumably) which makes you feel like a bulldog or some other jowly creature. My diet became pretty liquid, pretty fast.
Let the record state I’m not really complaining about that, because it totally went hand in hand with my recent weight loss, and I’m now ten pounds down (yeah!).
Other unforeseen things: I have acquired, if I do not take care to enunciate properly, a lisp. This was hammered home on Monday, day 4 of braces, where I had a presentation for several people who have “C” or “VP” in their titles. The job was to let them know about Really Cool Project # 432*, because yes in my job there are fully that many projects that are cool. It totally sucks the cool out of your project when you lisp, though.
Finally, there is the little matter of dental hygiene. I’m not suggesting I didn’t have it, but the short of it is with braces you pretty much need to brush your teeth after every food event, which, for a grazer like me, means you become one with your Sonicare.
Braces: mildly annoying, purportedly useful, and fascinating accessory.
*Really cool project #431 released on Wednesday. You can get special mobile-only deals on Hotels.com! 🙂