So, I got braces this week. Yes, braces. On my teeth. Not Invisalign, the teeth-straighteners of the new generation, but good old fashioned braces. Metal railroad tracks are permanently cemented in my mouth for the next 18 months. Actually, now I'm down to 17 months and 25 days, but who's counting?
Let me tell you the joy-finding part of this experience has been a challenge.
When you get braces, the first order of business is writing a check to the Orthodontist. A very large check. That is where the pain begins. Funny, I don't remember this part of the process from my first round of braces as a kid. They must have been giving them away for free back then.
After the money business is taken care of, my Orthodontist walked me through a time-lapse video of how my teeth will be moving over the next 18 months. It's a little freaky watching the teeth and gums morph into a perfect smile in a 5-second miracle video. I think it must be designed to make you think it will be quick and easy. Look how fast that happened on TV! Now we'll make the same magic happen in your mouth....only it will take a year and a half and involve a large variety of hardware, office visits, eating restrictions, and general discomfort.
The actual installation process is quite harmless. You just hold your mouth open for a long time and the little metal brackets are glued to your teeth. It's not painful at all, until they lock down that little wire that ties all the brackets together. Then you close your mouth and realize your lips feel like they may have shrunk, because they don't cover your teeth quite right. Your gums start to scream and feel completely agitated because there is a gang of sharp metal objects rubbing against them. And then your teeth start talking and let you know loud and clear that they do NOT like being tied up in this medieval tooth vice-grip contraption.
And then, just to add insult to injury, the hygienist hands you a mirror.
I don't care how old you are, or how mature you think you look, when you've got a mouth full of braces you look a little ridiculous. Or maybe it's just me. I took one look in the mirror and didn't know weather to laugh or cry. They just look silly.
The past week has been an adventure of eating soft foods, working hard to not become addicted to Advil, and attempting to look at myself in the mirror without giggling or making dorky, buck-tooth smiles. My husband (wisely) assures me I am still beautiful. I think he might be lying just a little, but in this scenario I'll take it. My ego has reverted to age 16 and I need all the positive reinforcement I can get.
My birthday is this week and I've got my eye out for the silver lining. For the record, I won't be turning 16. Or 21. But if some bartender out there wants a good tip, he'll take one look at my metal mouth and ask to see some ID.