Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Wonky Tooth Needs Fixin'

I got braces on my teeth two days ago. It's still freaking me out. When they first put them on in the orthodontist's office and I went to the bathroom, I was mortified at what I saw: there was my normal face, but then when I opened my mouth there were these shiny, metal brackets attacking my inncoent, white teeth. It reminded me of a horror movie or something. I wanted to cry but I didn't want to deal with any sympathy from the nurses. I have to wear these braces for 2 years, so I'd better just think positive because these metal parasites aren't going anywhere anytime soon!
For those who might be curious about why I am wearing braces at 36 years old, here is the story of my tooth: When I was a little girl and all my baby teeth were getting pushed out and adult teeth coming in, one of my baby teeth didn't fall out. This is because the adult tooth got impacted at a 45 degree angle in my upper gums. Everytime I went to the dentist and they showed me the X-ray we could see the adult tooth stuck up in there. 
The dentists told us that sooner or later that baby tooth would rot because baby teeth don't last forever. (Did you know that is a fact that baby teeth don't last forever?) Most of my dentists (I've had a dozen different ones as I've moved around so much) mentioned it everytime I went in for a checkup that someday I would have to get that taken care of! But, for whatever reason it kept getting ignored and pushed aside as I got older and older. So although we knew that day would come that my baby tooth would rot and I would need to get the adult tooth yanked down, it just never happened, until now. My baby tooth is not quite rotten yet, but it is starting to turn brown and deteriorate. Because of my age my bones are denser and harder and the process is substantially more difficult to go through. If I had done it 25 years go it would have been a simple procedure, but because I am older and my roots are more cemented, I have to have braces, an expander, and an oral surgeon to help remove the baby tooth and extract the impacted adult tooth. It's a long, painful process, and something I didn't expect at this time in life--but hey--life is full of unexpected surprises. This morning I went back in to get the expander cememnted into the roof of my mouth just to add insult to injury because with the new braces, my sore, painful teeth, and the fact that I can only eat liquids, it just wasn't enough. haha. 
The expander will help expand the bones in the roof of my mouth to make room for my new tooth. It's freaking me out also. I feel like a robot. I have to use this small, metal key and insert it into the expander every night and twist it two times to the left before bed.

I'm trying not to complain because this is going to help my overall health and well being in the long run. I should feel grateful that I live in a country that has these resources to help my mouth survive. Instead of braces and surgery I could have a rotten, infected tooth in it's place. I guess two years isn't so bad. I just have to get used to eating, cleaning, and talking, and also used to being sore once a month when I go back in to get them tightened.

I'm also feeling a little more creative with the things I can eat. The first day all I could think of was smoothies, then today I ate a pumpkin-spinach-banana-soy smoothie, pureed vegetable soup, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoe muffins soaked in whole milk eaten with a spoon. I won't be on an all-liquid diet forever, just until my teeth stop hurting. I'm not really sure when that will be, but hopefully soon.

It bothers me a little that some people think I got these braces on to straighten my teeth out. I've already received comments like, "Why braces? I thought you already had straight teeth." I wouldn't choose these braces for three reasons:

#1. Because my teeth were straight enough for me. #2. Because I'm not sadistic. I wouldn't put myself through this misery for the sake of vanity. And #3. I'm too old for braces. There's a reason I look 13 in that photo below: because 13 year olds have braces, not 36 year olds. haha. Except for me because I have a wonky tooth that needs fixin.

Here's an X-ray of my teeth. You can see the impacted tooth in my top gums on the right. It's going to see daylight for the first time ever in about 6 months! Those white patches are cavities that have been filled in. Aren't teeth exciting?


Here's me, in all my braces and glory. My friends and family say I look 13 again. Wouldn't that be fun?

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