I have been waiting to write this post for so long. I had braces for three years and a quarter. (Actually it was three years, three months and twenty-four days, but who’s counting, right?) And although I didn’t have the herpst or expanders (the one thing about my mouth that wasn’t totally messed up was my jaw), I had three oral surgeries and a gold chain (bling!) in my mouth. So I think that qualifies me to be an expert, pretty much.
Anyway, the reason I finally am writing this post is that I got my braces off last Thursday! Hooray! No more sore teeth! No more eating complexities! No more stuff on my teeth! Not. They don’t warn you about the retainers when they make the happy appointment to take the train tracks off your teeth. Not to be a pessimist! I’m not complaining! Just…
Being a self-proclaimed expert on orthodontia, I have decided now to share some of my hard-learned lessons with those less experienced than I. Or maybe those who are just as experienced as I and who want to remember the good old days (!?).
It’s ok to break the rules. Sometimes. Or all the time. Depending on the rules, that is. I will just say right now that I had popcorn, gum and caramel with metal on my teeth. And it all turned out fine. Never broke a bracket (from that), or got any stuck in my gums. So it’s ok to break the rules to have a little fun. Eat that popcorn. Chew that gum. Live on the daring side of life!
Pain is tolerable. No matter how much there is, it will get better! Even if you feel like ripping all your teeth out would feel better than they do after your wire got tightened, it will get better. For now, take lots of ibuprofen.
After surgery #1, in which a whole was drilled in the roof of my mouth, then filled with putty so it could heal, I couldn’t eat anything. It hurt way too bad. I also wasn’t allowed to play football for the week after my surgery. Add this together and. You get a very emotional Emma. I was at school eating lunch: greek yogurt with jam. Nice and soft. No chewing required. I took a few spoonfuls, and my hole stung from the acidity of the jam. My eyes swelled and I started to cry. But I was so hungry. So there I was, sitting miserably in the lunchroom, eating my yogurt with tears streaming down my face. Probably one of the most pathetic sights you’d ever see. Not my high point of middle school.
But it got better! After a few weeks!
It could always be worse. As hard to believe, it’s true. You could not be getting orthodontic treatment at all, and be stuck with crooked, gapped teeth the rest of your life. Remind yourself how lucky you are whenever your teeth hurt so bad or you get so fed up with food getting stuck in your braces that you want to take a spoon and pry them off. (My friend’s mom’s sister did that once. Successfully. Then she was taken back to the orthodontist and got them reapplied.)
The first option is not always the best. Before surgery #1, we were recommended to go to a certain oral surgeon. We checked him out, but my dad wanted a second opinion. So we went to another doctor to see what he thought and ended up liking him much better. The first guy had wanted to knock me out for the surgery. But the second surgeon was just going to have me take a Valium and laughing gas, which would make my recovery easier, and gives much better stories. (On the way there, when I had taken the pill, I pointed everything out to my mom, who was driving. “Look at that store mom! Have you ever seen that before? It’s got a cool sign, look at the,picture. Haha, Houden street. That’s funny. Houden…”)
Be patient! Do not rush perfection! It will all be worth it in the end! Getting your braces off is one of the best feelings in the world. You can’t stop feeling your smooth teeth with your tongue and you can’t stop looking at yourself in the mirror, because you look so good. All the annoyance and pain is worth it, I promise.
When I got my braces off, I came back to school and was talking to my friend, and she said, “I bet you just can’t stop smiling, huh?” It was true, and I agreed. And then she said, ” You know, getting your braces off is such a good thing, because then you can’t stop smiling, and when you smile you naturally become happier. Which makes you smile more. And then you smile at other people, and the natural reaction is to smile back when someone else smiles at you. So then everyone else you smile at is happier too. Everyone should get their braces off the same day, everyone would be so happy!”
“It’s an awesome cycle,” I said. And my friend agreed.
So the most important lesson to be learned from orthodontia is this one: take that happiness and smiley-ness from the day you get your braces off and apply it to every day. Be grateful for all the little things. Smile more and make others smile more, and spread the happiness!