Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Brace Myself

"You're grinding your teeth," she says, peering into my mouth. 

"Yeah, I figure the lower ones have been looking chewed up. So, mouthguard for the night? Remineralizing toothpaste?" 

"You need Invisalign." 

"Come say what now?" 

I had had a sneaking suspicion that my many years of misguided loyalty to my old-fashioned dentist would come back to bite me, pun intended. Go be nice. After finally braving the drama of abandoning my previous dental provider, I didn't think my courage would be rewarded with "You need braces. Like your teenage niece."
Don't know why she's smiling.
Luke has been doing Invisalign for like forever, but he's in a different category. For one, he doesn't have to worry about excusing himself on a date to yank out fiddly bits of plastic before partaking of dinner; he's already got Organa safely acquired. I'm now actually hoping for lobby and Starbucks dates, which will allow to me to rely on straws.

It gets better! Apparently, in order to ensure the stupid things stay in place, they glue "attachments" on the teeth, small protrusions that scrape the inside of the lip when one finally gets to eat. So even if I would leave them out for a few hours to socialize, wide grins and deep laughs will have to be put on hold for a few months. How am I supposed to be charming now, feeling like an extra in a horror movie? 

"Really? I don't notice them," is a feeble, constant refrain.

"Well, I do. I feel hideous!"

Oh no. My lipstick. My beautiful lipstick! How will it stay on for Shabbos? Oh no oh no oh no. 

It took a week of self-pity and -consciousness before I managed to adjust to my new way of life. My dentist buffed out the attachments and after a few days, the insides of my lips were no longer in agony. On Shabbos I managed to extract the dang things without mussing my makeup, ta-da! (Apparently, I've been training my whole life for this moment.)
I'm still not smiling.
I actually started to believe that maybe they aren't as noticeable as I think, flashing toothy grins with my previous confidence.

Whilst in my initial misery, Ma plopped in front of me an article about the adult-brace trend, as reported by fellow victim Dana Wood. Apparently adults everywhere—and I mean people in their 50s, like the author, as well as celebrities—are being sentenced to plastic or metal smiles. That made me feel a little more trendy. (I'll take what I can get.) 

When I returned to my dentist, I was surprised to see that she, too, has become an Invisalign pal. Ma's dentist as well.

I'll brazen this out as fashionably as I can.  


Daniel Saunders said...

This reminds me of something I saw online a while back, about why Americans think British people all have bad teeth. The suggestion was that Americans search for the perfect dentures, and thus see the more accepting-of-flaws British mouth as hideously ugly.

I avoided braces as a child, even though that left a couple of my teeth a little wonky. I don't see it as a serious problem. I get more worried that they're a bit yellow, from my parents giving me too many flouride drops as an infant, but I try not to worry about that either. I have strong and healthy teeth (yes, I floss), which is what matters.

Princess Lea said...

In my case, like I said, it wasn't aesthetic. My lower teeth were being pulverized by my uppers. She wanted me to do it for longer for aesthetic reasons, and I declined.