The Joy of Orthodontics

I’m sitting here in the orthodontist’s office, waiting for Tomas to get wired up for his second round of heavy metal. This also means I just made the first payment for said round. Adulting is more expensive and far less fun than advertised, though on the plus side, it’s not my mouth. I definitely feel for him.

When I was growing up, I had to have some wiring done to get my teeth in order. I know there were braces involved on my bottom teeth, and I had to wear a retainer on my top teeth for quite some time. But the actual process is pretty much a blur. I don’t remember how long it lasted. I remember getting the bottom braces off, but not much more than that.

(Ironically, when I moved to Maine at the ripe old age of 28 and went to my new dentist’s for my first cleaning (yay dental insurance!), she noted that I still had cement on my teeth from those braces. I guess it had just been hanging out there for fifteen years or whatever. It’s gone now.)

While you have to worry about actually having the work done when you’re growing up, you don’t have to worry about anything surrounding that. How much it costs. What actual work is happening. To me, it’s sort of like the difference between being a passenger and a driver. Before I could drive, I never really paid any attention to how I got wherever I was going. The car was this magic device. You entered it in one spot, and then some amount of time later, you got out at your destination. I let my parents worry about all that stuff in the middle. (Likely because I was too focused on my Gameboy to really have a clue what was happening.)

Now that I’m actually in the driver’s seat, I pay a lot more attention. Straightening your teeth is a complicated, expensive process. As I said, this is already the second round for Tomas. The first one involved getting his jaw into the right position. As I was driving him here this morning, we were reminiscing on that process. It had involved putting pistons into his mouth. Actual pistons between the top and bottom jaw that controlled how he could open his mouth.

While this was (obviously) preferable to getting head gear, I still don’t like to think of what it would feel like to have that happen to me. Not being able to move my mouth the way I want to. Being stuck with it all the time. Ugh. Thankfully, that’s behind us now.

Denisa and I debated doing this second round, talking it over with Tomas some as well. The first one had been almost a necessity for medical reasons. It would have caused him headaches (both literal and figurative) to leave the jaw the way it had been. This round is more cosmetic, for the most part. In the end, we felt it was the thing to do now. Straight teeth can help your self confidence. Healthy teeth keep the rest of your body healthy as well. And doing it when everyone else is lets you avoid at least some of the self conscious bits.

Anyway. It’ll be a couple hours more before he’s done. No clue how he’ll feel at the end of it. Wish him luck.

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