My Convertible Life

Monday, April 4, 2011

Putting My Teeth Back Where They Belong

In fourth grade, my classmates and I used to pretend we had braces by unfolding a paper clip and bending it across our top teeth. We'd click it around and try to talk and act like we were older and cooler than we really were.

Why did this seem cool? I have absolutely no idea.

(As an aside, this was the same year we were smuggling someone's dog-eared copy of Judy Blume's Forever into our desks and flipping to the racy parts. We were young and sheltered. It was a small school. Who knows what made us do these things.)

Then in fifth grade, I got actual braces on my top teeth. With spacers. And neck gear. It was quite a look. Especially as I was learning to play the flute that year.

But all that metal did its work, making enough room in my too-small mouth for all those adult teeth. In one year, I had a beautiful smile and felt good about my straight teeth.

Now, almost 27 years later, I'm back at the orthodontist's office. Turns out, your teeth continue to move your ENTIRE life. So if you don't wear your retainer FOREVER, then all that time as an awkward metal-mouth pre-teen will be for naught.

So here I am, teeth wedged into plastic, hoping that invisalign can magically (and somewhat painfully) bring back that straight, beautiful smile. It's actually not as bad as I thought it might be (after wearing them for a week), but it does make me talk like I have a slight cold. And my kids think it's crazy to watch me "put my teeth back in," like some 90-year-old grandma.

I don't feel nearly as cool as I thought I was with that paper clip retainer jingling in my mouth -- but at least this process should be more effective.


  1. I did that paper clip thing, too. It *was* cool. At least, then it was.

    I had permanent retainers (actually a lot like un unbent paper clip bonded to the back side of my teeth) after my braces came off. The bottom one broke at some point and my bottom teeth have been shifting back to crookedness ever since. I'm choosing to ignore them.

    Good luck!

  2. Yeah, the darn orthos didn't mention the whole "teeth keep moving" thing to me. So my bottom teeth need to be worked on again and it was mentioned that invisalign wouldn't work for moi (naturally) so I'm debating if it's even worth it. I don't think I could do the metal ones again. Did I also mention that I'm not a candidate for laser eye surgery either? Come on people what's a sister got to do to ditch the braces and glasses - lol!

  3. I feel less weird about the paper clip trick than I used to, even if you having done it just means you're weird too.


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