Saturday, March 29, 2014

The case of the 60 year old metal mouth...or....There's no fool like an old fool

You see a happy Nonie.  I see one with bad teeth.
We all have some physical flaw or feature that we wish we could change. I have agonized over my crooked teeth for all of my teen and adult life.  It was easy to avoid photos until the digital age and for years I tried to convince myself that my teeth weren't really that bad...but they were and every photo showed it. My dear friends always have cameras at the ready and there is that ugly mouth in all of those memorable photos!  Since embarking on this journey, many kind friends have claimed to have never noticed this situation but they are just that...kind friends.

Believe it or not, braces actually existed during my teen years.  My parents took me to the orthodontist for that initial evaluation. I was allowed to sit in on the recommendation and financial part of the consultation and when it was over, the decision was left up to me. The orthodontist was a 45 mile trip to the big city of Peoria.  My dad worked second shift in East Peoria. My mom didn't drive. Dad would not be excited about making that trip twice in one day plus he had part-time morning jobs. My brother had his driver's license but no car.  Mom would have been forced to beg monthly rides from one relative or mass transit. Plus there was the expense....we weren't poor but there wasn't a lot left over for luxuries and Dad's medical insurance didn't include dental at the time.  So...being the "pleaser" that I was (at the time) and realizing the hardships that braces would cause my family, I opted to live with my crooked smile.  No 12 year old should be asked or allowed to make such a decision but that's just the way it was.

I probably could have had braces later...after college...but DH and I were young marrieds and moving frequently with kmart.  We would never have been in one place long enough to complete the treatment. Then the boys came along and their needs were more important.  I made sure that they were not asked to make the ortho decisions....if braces were needed, they would (and did) have them.

Then retirement arrived.  I finally had the time and the money (thank you BISD for paying me for my unused sick days) to correct this flaw.  After consulting with my regular dentist, off I went to the orthodontist.  It's been two months now and at this point, I think it was a bad decision.  I thought I was ready for the pain....some days are worse than others.  And let's not even talk about my new best friend, dental wax. IMHO the braces look worse than the crooked teeth. But the worse part and the part for which I was unprepared is the fact that I cannot eat.  Taking a bite of something like a sandwich or a burger....not gonna happen.  In addition, the lower braces changed my bite so molding compound was added to give me something to bite against but chewing is a definite issue.  The list of foods I plan to eat again when this is over grows longer daily.  I'm tired of soup, yogurt, and pasta already and I have 22 more months left.  I've been told this will improve but it hasn't yet and I miss eating meat and salads. Oh...maybe I will drop some weight this way....but probably not because ice cream is something I can actually eat!

DH has been very supportive but even the king of patience is growing annoyed with the situation.  He did not sign on for a life of pasta and soft foods.  DIL and AT son are understanding but with little miss on the way, they have other concerns and what can they do anyway other than advise me to look to the future?  Canadian son has been against the idea from the beginning, calling it nonsense. He seems to think that I should have just "let it go" a long time ago and my teeth were really not that bad. (But then again, he sees no need for furniture so how can I trust his opinion?)

I have come very close to having the dentist remove the brackets and wires and calling a halt to the whole process.  He is very nice but determined that I should have the smile that I have always wanted so we compromised on 6 months. If I don't see improvement in 6 months and am still unable to eat like a semi-normal adult, we will revisit the removal decision. is my advice to any adult considering orthodontic braces....unless it is a health issue such as jaw or headache pain, don't do it.  I hope I feel differently about it down the road but right now I feel like you may find my withered body alongside that road...but with straight teeth.  And I want a bacon cheeseburger with fries before I am eligible for Medicare!

1 comment:

  1. LOL @ not being able to trust Tim's opinion!
    I'm so sorry it's turned out so painful. I do feel your pain with not being able to bite into a sandwich, or eat a burger. I feel it very very acutely. It's not a fun feeling. :(
    And I have never noticed your crooked teeth either. Keep telling yourself you have probably saved much agony in your later years for fixing your bite now. Headache and jaw pain was probably right around the corner.
    Shelby needed a lot of wax too. And the part I find ironic with braces is they do them to kids right in those sensitive, self-image shaky years. So I also feel your pain there, because right now is a time we want to maintain at least, not look worse!
    The orthodontist is going to earn his money talking you into keeping them! Hang in there, hope it gets better and soon.