Growing up, my lower-middle-class parents were concerned with clothing and feeding their three children, and were less inclined to dish out for major dental overhauls on their youngest (and most needy) child. While my two sisters were blessed with perfect teeth, my mouth morphed into a tiny, bird-like structure filled with overcrowded teeth and a serious overbite. I blame the well water.
In my 20s, I was secretly ashamed of my precious mouth and decided to focus my attention on seeking flawless skin (sigh) and creating the illusion of ample cleavage (mission accomplished). After a chance meeting with a practitioner from Toronto's finest, ahem, university, I managed to secure a consultation in their orthodontic clinic -- avoiding the year-long waitlist. Little did I know that not only could I receive top-notch dental care from our city's top ortho students, but it was at a third of the cost! I also didn't realize that this included split-my-jaw-in-half reconstructive surgery.
After signing the scores of paperwork, it turned out to be a package deal that I could not refuse. Sure, I was in the market for a new mouth, but, apparently, two separate jaw surgeries were the only way to get me there.
At age 30-something (OK, 34), I made the leap and had my mouth filled with metal. I'm now highly anticipating my lower jaw being shifted outward by a few millimeters next spring. Go on, look at your profile; you want it too.
The night before the transformation, I had a hellish nightmare in which after the braces went on I couldn't close my lips over my teeth. In reality, I was not turned into a mouth-breather, I wasn't even horrified. I just walked away slightly pained, thinking, "Hmm, that's it? Bring it."
This coincided with a trip to Italy a few weeks later, in which I was planning on eating my way through Rome. If you've had braces, you will know that eating is not just about having food constantly glued to every surface inside your mouth. It's rather impossible, and largely painful, to bite into an apple, crackers or a baguette with cramped little vices around each tooth. Heartbreaking.
Over the past year, I've bought a blender, a juicer and I have made about 40 different kinds of soup. (Look for my new blog: "Cooking for People Who Can't Eat.") Braces will hinder the ability to eat solid food mindlessly, and, as a result, I've lost about 15 pounds without the burden and boredom of exercise.
I'm happy that I've waited this long to have braces. I feel that I've matured enough to fully understand the importance of flossing that I didn't subscribe to when I was 13. Also, the pleasure of a stiff drink after a rewiring is something I'm sure Mom wouldn't have let me indulge in while I was a teenager.