Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lighting Up a Room

Although I've always wanted a smile that lights up a room and teeth that sparkle, I didn't mean literally.

But that's what I'm getting for at least the next eight months, thanks to some very expensive metal installed on my teeth last week. And while I cannot adequately describe the way light reflects so brilliantly off my braces, I can tell you I'm beginning to wonder if there exists a purse large enough for all the equipment I'm now carrying in the name of vanity.

My last experience with pain and suffering connected to a similar pursuit involved
getting contacts, which requires me to now travel with eyeglasses, saline solution and a contact lens holder in case there's a contacts disaster, of which I have had more than a few.

But they pale in comparison to my latest adventure, which was prompted by a lifetime of loathing for my less-than-perfect teeth and trying to hide them in photos like this one.

When I recently learned about a local orthodontist with many adult patients, I signed up for a free consultation. And when he told me I possessed a youthful smile that could be improved without extractions and in less than a year, I was sold. He also says the change in the shape of my mouth will make me look younger. "Will I get Angelina Jolie lips, too?" I asked hopefully. He looked appalled. "Those aren't even attractive," he said, although I think he's the only man in America who believes that.

Our next discussion involved whether to choose full metal, partial metal with white ceramic brackets or clear Invisalign braces. Invisalign takes longer and they must be removed for each sip of coffee, so they were out. Full metal jacket seemed the antithesis of the vanity that got me to this point. That left ceramic brackets with a piece of silver metal threaded through them. But then I learned the plastic ties necessary to move the teeth can stain easily. Suffering may be necessary for beauty, but giving up coffee and red wine would be excruciating. I opted for metal ties. As a result, I don't think my mouth will ever make it through another metal detector.

I was advised after installation that I might be slightly "uncomfortable." I don't want to accuse anyone of lying, but I'm not sure "uncomfortable" accurately describes having the edges of your teeth hurt so much that you can't eat or the feeling of metal cutting into your mouth. There's a reason they say to always carry wax to use as a protective barrier. However, it's also pretty painful to see those ugly globs of white stuff on the ugly metal you're wearing to fix your ugly teeth.

"You're not smiling the way you used to," Husband No. 1 observed. "Why aren't you showing teeth when you smile?"

"Do you have any idea what it feels like to scrape your lips over a mouthful of metal?" I snapped, although it probably sounded more like a mumble. "Get used to it."

He looked a little frightened, but he did offer to go buy me some baby food. I declined, but I do believe food is going to be a major issue in my pursuit of the perfect smile. Not only does it hurt to eat, I'm still trying to find a food that won't get stuck in my braces. I'll spare you the details, but I'm giving up blueberries and spinach.

I'm supposed to brush my teeth immediately after eating. This means I have to carry a toothbrush and toothpaste along with Alleve, wax, and a pocket mirror to check for stray food. These items, combined with the contacts paraphernalia, are severely straining the space limits of my purse.

I believe the pocket mirror is going to be an especially important tool, especially with all my metal attracting so much light and so many curious stares. I'll need it to make sure people are gawking at my braces, not debris hanging from them.

Yesterday I thought I also might need to carry a first-aid kit to treat bleeding gums. Turned out the bright red was only a piece of lobster. This means my purse still has room for any equipment necessary for future pursuits in the name of vanity!


chris remick said...

ice cream! You can eat ice cream!I don't even want to scare you about how I had to have 2 teeth pulled and then got the whole train tracks installed by an orthodontist that came to the seacoast once a month. Dr Ben Wayburn. I finally qualified for a portable retainer which I often threw into the Rye Jr. High garbage can. At night there was a humongous trapeze device that strung from teeth to back of head. The ordeal was finally over but then came the wisdom teeth that promised to wear away my jaw...

Pat Remick said...

I hadn't considered ice cream! This makes me quite happy!

Betsy said...

I have a new respect for my kids who suffered through this experience with little complaint! I guess it's sort of like having your tonsils out....way easier when you are a kid!! You go girl!! I wonder if WW ever considered braces as another tool in their arsenal??

ESP said...

Welcome to the world of 13-year-olds! I, alas, wore my braces all the way through high school. "Metal mouth" and "tinsel teeth" take on a whole new meaning when, instead of putting up with Husband No. 1, you are simply trying to get some boy to like you. Sigh. But I got through it and so will you.

PatRemick said...

At least it's all novel material and, as you can see, I am not suffering in silence for my beauty! Hoping for a weight loss, too!