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So, last week I got braces. These are not to be confused with the braces I had at age 8 to fix a few wily teeth growing in odd places, or the braces I had at age 15 to straighten my entire mouth. No, these grown-up braces are to correct everything that my teeth have been doing over the last 29 years. (Hint: they have been very busy!)

I will spare you the details, but in a nutshell I’m now correcting problems like alignment and migration issues, which honestly sounds like my teeth are ready to retire to Boca Raton. I opted for lingual braces, which are metal brackets that attach behind the teeth because I was swayed by the promise of “hidden braces.” Nobody needs to know!

On the plus side, the lingual braces will work magic on my teeth and I don’t have to look like a teenager when I smile. On the downside, there is a major adjustment period while my tongue learns to speak properly with sharp metal objects infringing on its personal space. Supposedly it takes a week or so to adjust but I must be a slow learner because I’m not there yet. It’s been a very long week, my friends. Or as I like to say, my frienths.

My observations so far:

1. The “nobody has to know” is exactly true as long as I don’t talk. Otherwise I sound like I have a lisp AND a mouth full of marbles.

2. Some orthodontists call these braces incognito braces, which sounds very cool and James Bond-like. But I can’t even say the words CIA or spy without spraying myself in the face. So…not very cool at all.

3. I would like to temporarily change my name to Kate because hard letters are much easier to say. “Hi, my name is Lith” is getting so annoying.

4. Also annoying: My kids, who keep asking, “Can I call you Brace Face? What about Metal Mouth? Is it funny yet? What about now?” No and no and no and no.

5. The braces might be the best diet ever because it’s such a hassle to eat that I would almost rather starve to death. A 5-minute snack requires 45 minutes of brushing/flossing/waterpikking nonsense. Math has never been my strong suit, but even I know that’s a raw deal.

6. Having a work-from-home job is a big perk when you are self conscious about every word you say. Until… you have an outside meeting and must explain the new speech impediment. My boss was super supportive and said, “Oh thank God! I thought you had been drinking!”

7. For years my kids and I have been making fun of the way Ed Sheeran pronounces sixth when he sings “Under the lamppost back on 6th Street…” but now I’m convinced he has incognito braces too. Nobody needs to know, Ed! (But now we all do!)

8. My entire vocabulary has suffered. I’m avoiding all kinds of difficult “S” words and resorting to simple, toddler-like conversation. When trying to explain how I thought a recent event in the news could be a “slippery slope for the Supreme Court”…I instead opted for “Ugh. Bad.” Insufficient is now lame. Unconscionable is now mean. Luckily, all my favorite cuss words have hard sounds and have been unaffected.

9. To help buffer the pain, my orthodontist gave me all kinds of wax and goo to put on the brackets. These work pretty well, but I also found that a square of Dove chocolate gets stuck on the brackets just as easily, so I might as well leave it there to enjoy for hours and hours.

10. The Dove chocolate (#9) is sort of ruining my new diet plan (#5) but like I said…it’s been that kind of week, my frienths.

2016.02.LeoLiz
Can you tell who has the braces (brathes)?

Comments

  1. You know, this made me wince: I could feel the surprise tongue pinch of those brackets… and whew. But I know, we can’t allow migration in our mouths, because some things never come back.

    You’ll be beautiful!

  2. I had braces when I was fifty, as well as when I was a teenager. Just so you know, if you are worried about those teeth trying to do their own thing once the braces are off, you don’t have to have them taken off! I’ve had them on for over a decade now and have gotten used to them. Once my teeth were where I wanted them to be, my ortho and I called it a success and left all the wires in place.
    On tightening day, take motrin before the appointment. It helps.

  3. A woman in my office went for the Invisalign braces at the age of 50-something because, though I thought her teeth looked fine from the beginning, it really bothered her that her teeth weren’t really straight. She sounded like someone wearing a mouth guard for about a month, then it got significantly better. I’ve still got the scars on the inside of my cheeks from the first time I had braces in high school. That’s going to be good enough for me.

    • And I still have the psychological scars from having braces in high school after all my friends finished theirs up in middle school. But yet…here I am. Gulp.

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