Monday, March 31, 2008

The naked tooth

Three years, four months, 13 days ago, I got braces on my teeth for the first time in my life.

They came off today. It's gonna take a while to get used to naked teeth.

I'm delighted with the results, too. No, I didn't really need my teeth straightened -- had a little gap in the top front teeth, but not much, and that was just like my dad's gap. But I'd lost a lower tooth in the center front because of a perforated root canal that got infected over time, and I didn't like the options of implants (not insured and only "fair" chances of succeeding), a bridge (would have to put crowns on the two side teeth, plus potential problems with decay), or a prosthetic tooth (made me talk funny). When a dentist suggested orthodontia, I jumped at it, went for an opinion to Dr. Shoff, our local orthodontist, and he put 'em on.

My teeth are stubborn, apparently, and took their own sweet time about moving into place. My bite changed every couple of weeks; my gag reflex was very low -- I had to be careful about what and how much I tried to put into my mouth. Sometimes it was a little uncomfortable, but over all, no big deal. It was just all this metal grinning at me morning and night. And I always worried about big wads of food getting stuck in my wires.

No more. The bottom gap is closed (you'd hardly know), actually the top gap is closed too, and the teeth look great. I'll get retainers for night wear tomorrow, but no more metal mouth.

I'm ready for the popcorn. The caramels. The corn on the cob. And I'm grateful for dental insurance and positive thinking by both me and Doc Shoff. And for patience. It took twice as long as we'd thought it would.

Smile! I sure am. (but I never stopped, either)

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