I went to the orthodontist recently because my permanent retainer (which is a bit of a misnomer because nothing is truly permanent, but I digress) had lost the cement holding it in place. It’s always fun to feel a piece of metal grind up and down against your teeth when you eat because one side is still in place but the other is not.
So they kindly took me in and fixed it.
I don’t know if it was because they had already been paid twice (once when I was a child, and again when I was an adult) for my various and sundry orthodontia, or if it was because both of my children are currently getting their orthodontia done by him…but I don’t really care.
Bottom line: They didn’t charge me for the appointment.
Upon examination however, the orthodontist noticed that I had some “buckling” (sounds lovely, doesn’t it) in my teeth on the left side especially. Buckling is not really a word one wants to hear when their teeth are being discussed.
And especially at the youthful age of 39. I’ve already gotten bifocals this year…let’s not push it, ok?
We’re going to pause there whilest I tell you…and you may have already astutely determined this if you were paying attention…that I have already had braces. Twice.
In my history of orthodontic work, I have had the following, listed in no particular order:
I had the expander. Which was accompanied by a lovely tiny little key that my mom had to turn in order to extend my upper palette. I recall it was attached to a piece of string so if she dropped it and it went down my throat, she could fish it back out. That sounds safe. And yes, I am pretty sure that my mom was the one who had to turn the key because I had a tiny mouth (no jokes, please)…hence the need for the expander. In addition, the tiniest hand possible was the wisest selection for the one who had to get in there and turn the key. Clearly my mom would be the person for the job.
I had the headgear. I remember wearing it home on the bus the first day I had it (and for the record, I’m fairly certain that it was the ONLY day I wore it to school). I was in fifth grade at the time. I remember that there was a little girl on the bus (probably in Kindergarten or the first grade) who kept her eye on me the whole ride home. The next day, the same girl sat through the bus ride…her headband in her mouth and with the ends up by her ears (much like headgear, no?). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
I had an invisaline-type retainer. This clear (sort of) thing that was plastic and fit down over the top of my lower teeth.
I had a real retainer. It was clear with lots of sparkly glitter. And I had a hot pink case for it. This was when I was 33.
I have had two tooth positioners. Gross, football-mouthpiece looking things…only without the part to attach it to the helmet. Because THAT would be awkward.
I currently have permanent retainers on both the top and bottom teeth.
And yet…my teeth are buckling. Fantastic.
Should I take this as a sign that perhaps I am not supposed to have straight teeth?
However, while at my appointment, I asked what could be done about it? In my mind I was thinking “pro bono”, but didn’t speak it.
He thought about it for a while…this appeared to be a curious case. And finally he decided that I needed to wear a tooth positioner again.
Seriously? Again? Oh my gosh…I think I’ll still be wearing it as an adult.
Wait. I am an adult. I’ll still be wearing it as a senior saint. H.O.T.
He wanted me to sleep in it…which I can’t because I sleep all mouth-agape (there’s a picture for you) and it will simply do no good.
So instead, I have to wear it 4 hours/day.
Fantastic. Yet another thing I will have in common with my 11yo. Always having dirty glasses that I can never keep clean, and wearing that stinky mouthpiece for 4 hours/day.
It’s just enough to make me feel awkward and tween-like again.
He’ll be reminding me instead of the other way around.
Just what I need…an 11yo thinking he has some authority.
And, did I mention that this new TP (yes, when you’ve been in the business as long as I have, you’re close enough to the product to abbreviate the name) will cost me $80? Not expensive for potentially good results, but still…not an $80 I had planned to spend.
However…the wise assistant (I don’t think she’s called a dental hygienist, but she’s the orthodontic equivalent of it…you know what I mean) sitting at my side asked, “You had one back in 2007…do you happen to still have that?”
Hmmm…that would be weird. I despised that thing. Why would I have kept that?
And yet, I agreed to go home and check.
If I didn’t have it, in the worst case scenario I would have to pay is $80 and make a trip in to pick it up.
If I did have it, I would still have to make a trip in, but only to get it notched out to make room for my permanent retainers.
So either way I would have to go back in.
But I clearly wouldn’t have to spend the $80 in scenario two.
So...it goes without saying, though I'm saying it anyway…I came home and tore apart my bedroom in search of my $80.
And I am pleased to report that I found it lurking in my nightstand.
In totally unrelated news, I’ll be making an appearance on “Hoarders” next month.