Someone in my house got braces last week.
No, not Bobby. He had braces a few years ago. His teeth look fabulous.
It’s not Lucy. She will need braces at some point, but we’re still waiting for a few baby teeth to come in before she takes the plunge.
It’s ME, LISA!! In a matter of about 45 minutes I went…
Let me give you the rundown.
I had braces for four years in my youth. Early 1980’s orthodontic technology got my teeth straight and lovely. Hooray!
Back in that day they shoved a retainer at you and sent you on your merry way. As many a teen before me, I threw that puppy in a drawer and never looked back. Why would I wear some contraption to bed when my teeth were straight and lovely? Orthodontists must be INSANE!!
It turns out that orthodontists are ACTUALLY NOT INSANE! Apparently they give you a retainer for a reason. Who knew?
Those orthodontic geniuses know that your teeth can MOVE. As in, you think your teeth are stationary because they look all solid and sit in your jaw bones so they seem like something you can depend on…but you can’t. They can shift and move all around on you like cockroaches in the night. How damn creepy is that?
So… gaps started forming between some of my teeth and (even worse) my bite that was fixed in the early 80’s went wickety whack as I got older. Fast forward 35 years, and I’m sitting in front of my son’s orthodontist in 2013 being told that I need braces. Again.
I was positive they didn’t give old ladies the full, metal mouth treatment. Surely my little issues could be solved with the discrete and adult friendly Invisalign, right? WRONG. Only the full monty of orthodonture would put my teeth back where they belong and ensure that I can eat for decades to come. Sheesh.
Now that I’ve experienced the miracle of mouth medicine from both ends of the spectrum, I will enlighten you regarding the distinct differences of being an official brace face at:
Fifth Grade: Appointments are always during school hours! If you’re really lucky, you can even have your mom schedule it so you can miss algebra!
Forty-Five: You also go when your kids are in school taking a dent out of your valuable awake, child-free hours.
Winner: Fifth Grade
THE TOOTH PAIN
Fifth Grade: When you get your braces tightened your mom gives you Tylenol and makes soft foods for you for a day or two. She even stops by Dairy Queen to get you a Blizzard.
Forty-Five: Nobody in your house cares one iota if your mouth hurts. In fact, they are highly irritated you didn’t wash their favorite t-shirt/jeans/sport socks when you were busy writhing in agony. If you want something soft to eat, you have to make it yourself. You metabolism doesn’t allow for a Blizzard, but you can have some low-fat, soy milk, frozen yogurt if you have time to drive to Trader Joe’s after carpool.
Winner: Fifth Grade
Fifth Grade: You will be subjected to a full mouth of solid metal. You have no say in this whatsoever.
Forty-Five: You have the purchasing power to indulge your vanity and have clear porcelain braces put on your top teeth so they fade a bit more into the background of your face.
YOUR DERMATOLOGICAL COMPANIONS
Fifth Grade: Braces with pimples
Forty-Five: Braces with wrinkles
Fifth Grade: Old school, Oral B candle-type wax that disintegrates easily letting your braces gouge into your delicate gum tissue multiple times a day.
Forty-Five: Newfangled silicone wax that doesn’t break down or move once you put it in place proving once and for all that silicone really is an old lady’s best friend.
Fifth Grade: Your future is full of hope and promise. You endure your suffering because you are sure your life will be awesome once your smile is perfected and your boobs come in. Hey, you might even marry George Michael or David Lee Roth with the beauty you will attain!
Forty-Five: You already know what you grew up to look like and then what the march of time did to your boobs. You are spending good money to get your teeth right back to where they were before they decided to become pearly traitors in your mouth. You didn’t end up marrying George Michael or David Lee Roth.
Winner: Split Decision Hopes and dreams: Fifth Grade Marriage prospects: Forty-Five
This is how I see it thus far. I will, however, have about 12-18 months to attain a better appreciation for the differences. I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, and it can not be said enough… PEOPLE, WEAR YOUR RETAINERS!