Thursday, January 26, 2012


"They're telling us how to act when they come marching in. With the whole world crumbling we pick this time to fall in love."

"Yeah, it's pretty bad timing. Where were you, say, ten years ago?"

"Ten years ago? Let's see, yes, I was having a brace put on my teeth. Where were you?"

"Looking for a job."


So I wrote unto you all an informative and entertaining post about my adventures learning to make cheese . . . and blogger ate it. Didn't save the thing. Wouldn't publish. Nothin'.

So I wrote it again, and this time copied and pasted over in Google Docs, so I'd have a master copy in case the dang thing didn't save again.

It didn't save in Blogger OR Google Docs.

So I sulked for three weeks. Hope you all have been well.

Anyway, here's today's adventure.

A year or so ago, finding myself gainfully employed and with my very own health insurance for the first time in my life, and also in the midst of discovering my own burgeoning sense of vanity, I got braces. I was rather proud of myself for this . . . I found an orthodontist myself, did my own research, paid with my own insurance and my own money (cash on the barrel, no payment plans). I've been self-conscious about my teeth since I was about eleven, which was when I stopped smiling in pictures. You can see it in my school portraits. No smiles here. Maybe very late in high school a slight upturning of the mouth implying a smile, but actual visible teeth? No.

So I have spent the last year with a mouthful of metal and elastic. It's been something like being laced into a tooth-corset every day (and being a historical costuming geek, I do know what a corset feels like) and something like being turned into a Borg from the mouth down (this I'm extrapolating; I've never been turned into a Borg). I've discovered the wonders of flossing my teeth, even though the process takes about fifteen minutes . . . I've made it through a lot of audio books, sitting on my bathroom counter with my feet in the sink threading floss under those archwires. And I discovered that I really am not a big popcorn fan, and never have been, and was glad of the excuse to just pass the bucket along the row at the movie theater.

Last time I went to get my teeth re-laced, my very nice and professional orthodontist announced that if I was both a good girl and a little lucky, I could get the braces off today, rather than in March like originally planned. Braces . . . off? Like, to see the surfaces of my own teeth again? I returned to flossing with renewed vigor. I also didn't really mention the possibility to too many people . . . no use getting your hopes up and having to wait until March anyway.

But in the silence of my own mind, I was getting really hopeful and excited. So much so that I was on my way out the door to the orthodontist's office yesterday when I checked my planner and remembered, oh yeah, the appointment's on Wednesday, not Tuesday. (Still getting used to this year's planner; Wednesday's slightly higher on the page than it was last year.)

So this morning, trying VERY hard not to care whether they came off today or not, I headed over to Foothill. And the braces came off!

Dr. Luke just popped them off, with something that looked like a pair of tiny hedge trimmers. Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop. And my teeth were like "Huh? Where is that gentle and comforting pull to which we have become accustomed? Why are we just left to hang out like this? What's going on?" And then they (and I) were even more freaked out when the little grinder came out and the extra glue got ground off my teeth. I'm familiar and comfortable with dental work, even drills . . . but dental drills don't usually make your mouth smell like burning glue, which is not at all a nice smell and not a comfortable one to have emerging from your own mouth.

So once the glue was off, I got casts taken for retainers. This was distinctly un-fun for a number of reasons. Firstly because it's very much like stuffing your mouth with about three eggs of Silly Putty. Secondly because the nice folks had to take a cast of my upper teeth three times; they kept not quite getting the edge of my back teeth. Which, immediate discomfort aside, was embarrassing in a whole new way. Wha . . . are my teeth fat? Is my upper jaw just abnormally wide? Is there some kind of scull-focused diet plan I should be looking into? Sorry for my inconveniently fat teeth, everybody. I hope that Silly Putty stuff's not too expensive.

Lower jaw was double-plus-un-fun and even less dignified (four eggs of Silly Putty stuffed to the back of your throat); my poor gag reflex was like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? What IS that thing? Get it OUT of your mouth or so help me I will get it out for you!" I managed to not vomit all over the poor technician, but I did end up drooling all over myself like a starving rabid timberwolf. A starving rabid timberwolf that's being fitted for a retainer. Ugh.

"So what are you going to have for lunch?" asked Dr. Luke. "I had corn on the cob first thing when I got my braces off." I hadn't thought about it, but suddenly corn on the cob sounded like a good idea. I left the orthodontist's office and headed straight for Chuck-a-Rama. (And my 'straight,' I mean that I had a pretty good idea of where it was, but had to do a few loops through the neighborhood to pinpoint the exact location.) Fortunately, they were just opening for lunch. Unfortunately, they had no corn on the cob. So I just indulged in everything else that I'd been avoiding for the last year: every kind of chicken on the bone, ribs, salads with sunflower seeds, dessert smothered in peanuts and Oreos. I can eat anything. Foods that yesterday required twenty minutes and a paper clip to completely dislodge from my mouth were utterly complication-free. Hot cinnamon from the cinnamon pull-aparts, which should have melted itself into every crevice of every bracket and hardened there, just melted away.

And through it all, I kept compulsively running my tongue across my smooth, straight new teeth, and pulling my lips back to get a good look at them whenever I passed anything reflective. I'm pretty sure that the other early patrons of Chuck-a-Rama thought I was a crazed cannibal of some kind. (Are we sure that's pork she's eating?)

So after a bones course, a crunchy things course, a things-with-cinnamon course and an everything-chocolate-in-one-bowl course, I came home and went straight to bed.


Today was the official Resheiving of the Retainers. My jaw has gotten a little codependent (or maybe it's Shtockholm Shyndrome), for it's almost a relief to have something wrapped shecurely around my teeth after a whole day of just letting 'em all hang out there. My shalivary glands are not as enthused. They are convinshed that these plastic things in my mouth must be shomething to eat (otherwise why would they be in my mouth?) and are doing their level best to get those suckers dissolved. I wonder if I'll start to get nausheous in an hour, like you do after chewing the same pieshe of gum for too long.

Retainersh feel exactly like having a hard plastic shell clipped in place over your teeth. I've been trying to think of some creative way to describe thish, but that's really all there ish to it. They're messing with my shpeech a little bit, leaving me inclined to lishp or even whishle, but with any luck that'll be over shoon.


  1. Yay! Sorry your cheese post was eaten (heh)... I would sulk too.

  2. haha that's exactly how it sounds to talk with a retainer in your mouth! And no worries--no matter how long you have it, you won't develop better speech. I've been wearing mine for 8+ years!

    Also, I completely understand the weird way you perceive your teeth when you first get your braces off. I had mine for four years, and when I got them off, I was convinced I had rabbit teeth. (This probably stemmed from my brothers who had teased me as "Beaver" when I had an overbite....from one big-toothed animal to the next.) But the good news is, bygones will be bygones and your teeth will go back to just being your teeth in no time!

    Congratulations on finishing braces!!