My partner threw down the gauntlet by proposing to me. Yes, I’M ENGAGED! Undoubtedly when you get married you want to look your best. Most people’s minds jump to wanting to diet asap (not going to lie, that’s on my list) but I immediately thought about my teeth.
A montage of imaginary candid photos of me laughing at my wedding with exposed wonky teeth hit me. I knew I had to suck it up and get braces… AGAIN!
Everyone around me reassured me my teeth looked fine, barely noticeable and they didn’t understand my decision. I’ll admit it, my teeth aren’t freak show worthy. My front top two teeth are slightly bend in a triangle shape and my bottom front two over lap. The problem is they’re at the front and all the rest are straight.
I endured braces in high school to end up with wonky teeth because I didn’t wear a retainer – designed by the devil. So I’ve always felt like my teeth and I have unfinished business. To me it’s the thing I always think people will notice about me and simultaneously the thing I don’t want them to notice.
So I think I’ve justified myself enough. I booked an appointment with a new dentist, walked into a consultation and just told them I wanted straight teeth and I didn’t care how we get there.
Many people considering braces think you can get a treatment called Invisalign, which is like wearing a transparent retainer. You have to wear it pretty much all day, everyday, all through the day – except when you’re eating of course. I can see why people think that’s an attractive option but It wasn’t an option for me. Invisalign only works if you have the tiniest correction you want to fix. Something they don’t shout about in their advertisements.
My dentist advised I have full on – back to geek, back to school, back to adolescent metallic grinning braces. I wasn’t bothered about the prospect. I’d accepted my fate long before I was leaning back in a chair with a strangers hands in my mouth.
Luckily, braces now are slightly more attractive than when I had them in school. I remember mine were titanium/steel with alternating coloured rubber bands. My dad advise I get the Aston Villa colours one time, claret and blue. Not sure why – neither of us watch football but I did it for the jokes… It wasn’t jokes. I’m haunted by that memory, it truly looked horrendous and matched my blue school uniform *face palm*.
My braces are white and have white brackets that sit on each individual tooth so they blend in with my teeth a lot better. Some people have said they didn’t realise I was wearing braces till I point it out, which I like to be the first to do. I don’t like people looking at me and thinking they’re having the realisation that I’m wearing braces and probably wondering if I always had been.
I completely forgot how annoying it is to eat with braces. You don’t want to bite into anything with your front teeth for fear of papermacheing your braces with bread. Chewing anything hard is both painful and tedious, so I won’t be eating steak for a while. Rice goes everywhere. I’m supposed to avoid tea/coffee and red wine as it stains. Tea is my secondary source of life and fruit/herbal teas aren’t cutting it.
I definitely don’t eat in front of anyone except my fiance. I now sit at my work desk strategically placing soup on the back of my tongue whilst I watch fashion videos on YouTube. So my lunch time socialisation is taking a temporary hit. I’m also avoiding meet up lunch dates with people until further notice. I just wouldn’t enjoy sitting there wondering if I have something stuck in my braces the whole time.
Despite avoiding things that stain my teeth, the brackets still discolour naturally overtime so you have to keep having them replaced every couple of weeks/months. I’ve had my braces on two weeks now and I can already see the colour looking more yellow. Another thing I wasn’t aware of and am now slowly becoming paranoid about.
I’m mostly surprised how much it’s affected me mentally. I thought on Sex & The City they were exaggerating Miranda‘s embarrassment of her braces for comedic effect but I feel myself relating to her behaviour completely. I’ve caught myself putting my head down immediately after saying hi to people. I’ve been putting less effort into making my hair nice and putting on my favourite clothes. I feel like I don’t look attractive anyway with braces so I don’t see the point in dolling myself up. I know It seems like an overreaction and judgemental of me but it’s a lot easier to pep talk others rather than yourself.
I’m working on my perception of myself. I really do believe I’m getting some weird high school flashbacks that are tapping into the state of confidence I had when I was 13. I’m 24 goddamn it. I’ve achieved a lot as a person and grown a lot since high school. Although, women are still judged a lot on their appearance I know I value other parts of myself more. I know I can’t just click my fingers and convince myself I’m going to rock wearing braces but I can always work on improving my mental state.
p.s. “Am I hideous?”