Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Teeth

I had braces for three years and twenty-five days. That's a long time. I was faithful about wearing my retainer for many more years, until it was one day gone. I was told that since I got my braces when I was young (ten), my bone structure was soft enough that once my teeth decided where to be, that's where they would stay. By early adulthood, I figured it was okay that my retainer was lost because my bones had surely hardened and fixed forever in their place.

Fast-forward some years; my son will begin his second phase of braces in a few weeks. When we went for the consultation, the orthodontist said that his arch is very high so his teeth would look pretty and straight long before the shape of his mouth was fully corrected. "Otherwise, he would have front bite problems." "Oh, he gets that from me!" I exclaimed. "My teeth don't even touch in the front." He had me show him my teeth. "Have you ever thought of having a second correction?" No, I hadn't. I've always been happy with my smile. If he could change my skin, I'd be open to that. Nope. He explained that over the years, the way I both hold my tongue and swallow had pushed my arch too high, causing the front of my teeth to disconnect. I waved him off and he went back to my boys' problem mouth.

Ever since that appointment, my mouth has been driving me crazy. How do I swallow? Where am I supposed to hold my tongue. If I hold it back here, I feel like I'm choking. If I hold it like this, it pushes the soft part of my chin down, giving the illusion of chub. Will my teeth continue to change or are they finally set in their ways? (I need to know the answer to this question because if they are there to stay, I'm going to quit worrying about my tongue.) My teeth don't fit! Why didn't this bother me before? My jaw hurts. It's because my arch it too high? Are my teeth going to start chipping because the way they connect acts like a chisel over time? Is cold or hot better for my whites? I wonder how I should dye the curtains I just made for the kitchen so they will match better. Will I ever be able to find the right shades for my new pendant lights? Why are there crayons all over the floor?

Er . . .

What I'm trying to say, is that ignorance is bliss sometimes. If only I hadn't been told my mouth was screwed up, I would be happy today.

That's my only problem.


  1. As an orthodontist's wife, I just love this post...particularly because I had no idea I have an open bite (after 2 years, 3 months, and 5 days of braces when I was a teen)! Not that he regularly points out my dental imperfections -- in fact, he tries very carefully to avoid doing this -- but hearing it once was enough to make me paranoid. That, plus the fact I followed a similar retainer-wearing-and-losing history as yours and now have some slight crowding going on again in the front.

    My question to the world: do I get braces again, because they would be FREE and because people are looking at the teeth of the orthodontist's wife, or do I NOT get them again because my issues are hardly noticeable to the average person and would only serve to highlight a vain obsession with cosmetic impressions?

    (For what it's worth, my husband tells people to wear their retainer for as long as they want to have straight teeth. "It ALL shifts with age," he says. Had I only known!)

    (Also, for what it's worth, your blog is one of my favorites to read, Emily!)

  2. I'm getting braces this year. We could be brace face together!

  3. I still have a small permanent-retainer on the back of my bottom front 4 teeth. I guess I am glad to have it....but it sure is a pain to floss around.....Not that that happens a whole lot.