Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bonding With My Son (It's Not What You Think)

Last Thursday, I officially joined the ranks (young and old) of brave souls who willingly allow a trained professional to glue metal brackets on your teeth that are guaranteed to inflict pain, usually when you least expect it. We even pay lots of money to let these people do this to us. And we curse them again and again, as we bite down on something as innocent as a toasted English muffin and wince in pain. The knowledge that you can't remove these darn things is somewhat akin to how The Man in The Iron Mask must have felt. At least that's my opinion. I'm at the end of Day 4 and still, it hurts. Advil has been my friend. I've even lost a pound because it just seemed easier not to eat, although today is better. At the table, my family shows sympathy whenever I wince, which is embarrassing to me but sweet of them. I have learned to eat nearly everything cut up in small bites, including sandwiches.

Last week, I told my mother (by phone) that I was getting braces. She was silent. Then she said, " I didn't think you could get braces when you are so old." Good ol' Mom.

When I walked into the orthodontist's office, all the workers (they are called "the girls", believe it or not) were standing there and they turned and stared at me. I stared back until I finally said, "Stop looking at me like that!" Todd told me later that they were all surprised that I kept my appointment, they figured I wouldn't show up. I guess I showed them. Apparently, I have a reputation in this office, as the orthodontist has been after me for a year to get braces. I've always given my excuses for not wanting them. He and my husband chat when Todd takes Chad in for his monthly adjustments. This was all Todd's idea, completely. I would not have dreamed of doing this, due to the expense and the inconvenience, not to mention the pain. I hate, hate, hate the "chair" - in ANY dental office. And now I am committed to "monthly" adjustments for 6-12 months - these people belong in a medieval torture chamber!!!

There ... now I've gotten my rant out of the way.

I really hate having my mouth propped open but that's what they have to do. I laid there for an hour, getting pumiced and glued. Wire inserted. Lovely shade of pink rubber bands wrapped around each brace. Todd came in and stood by the chair. Tears started to flow down my cheeks and into my ears (the chair was tilted into a near headstand position). As he looked down at me, I waited for Todd to say something comforting ... "You look like Wallace and Gromit*, you know, the way they smile?" Not what I expected. More tears. He held my hand and Chad came in, stood on the other side of me and held my other hand. That helped. The tech (or whatever her name or title is) finally removed the darn plastic mouth-prop thing and I felt my lips go over the braces for the first time. What did I feel? Panic! Oh, my gosh! This is me for many months to come! At least it's only the top row of teeth. Sigh.

Fortunately, the pain didn't begin right away. It hurt but I got through it. It's better now but there are times I still feel bummed. Everyone keeps saying how glad I'll be when it's done. I look forward to that time.

About the bonding with my son: Chad has been my support and my coach through this whole thing. I asked him a ton of questions before and after and he's been a doll. Very comforting. I love this kid. Now we have more in common than acne and the gift of gab.

*"Wallace and Gromit" is a British clay-mation series of short, silly movies - and not a complement to be compared to.


Leingang Family said...

Bummer! Hope you've been enjoying the sun!

jugglingpaynes said...

I know you are still sensitive about this, but twelve months from now you should read this again, because you have some very funny moments in it. :o)

The smilemaker doesn't make anyone look pretty. Consider it one of life's great equalizers!

I bow to your courage. Every year I think maybe I will get myself in a dentist's chair, but past manhandling by less than competent dentists has made me incredibly fearful. Maybe I could borrow Todd and Chad... :o)

Feel better soon! Marina said eventually it stops hurting and then it will only hurt for a couple of days after adjustments.

Peace and Laughter,

Pamela Waterman said...

Good for you! I got braces last year at age 52, following our three teens who all had them and inspired me. I only needed a year, but they were full braces (top/bottom). I'm *really* pleased with the results! Anyhow, more than one million people over age 18 have them; my own mother went back some years ago at age 68 and did quite well with it all, too. You might want to check out resources at, "the" website for adults in braces, and, the public-info website of the American Association of Orthodontists. You'll also want to keep up with flossing - they make stiff-ended floss pieces which work pretty well (OralB SuperFloss) and also there are two new items: a floss-holder ( and a handy pre-threaded piece ( Best wishes.

Cate said...

I'll be reading this to my daughter. At 16, she was told just a few days ago that she needs braces - and that hers is an unusual case that could be a bit of a saga....needless tosay, she's upset & not looking forward to something that most of her friends finished with.

Her first appointment is in July - will keep you posted & you hang in there girl!
C x

Mama Self said...

Way to go, Kate!! I know it's a pain (literally!), but it will really be worth it. This too shall pass...

And I totally agree with Christina. Reread your entry in a will definately laugh then!

I hope you feel better soon, blog friend. :) Have a wonderful week.