Which is probably why I put off going to the orthodontist for so long. I kept pretending that my teeth weren't going to keep moving and that the dentist would only have good news at every checkup as long as I kept brushing and flossing.
Unfortunately, reality has a habit of biting you in the bottom when you least expect it. After sitting in a reclining chair and listening to the orthodontist telling his assistant phrases like "bone loss," "severe overjet" and "moderate crowding," I learned three things that I already knew:
1) My teeth will continue to move (and eventually suffer bone loss) if I don't get braces to fix them.
2) I really, really need to have jaw surgery if I want to protect my jaw from further damage (hence the phrase "bone loss" again).
3) I have to have the hard-core metal brackets and colored rubber bands, because Invisalign (the plastic braces that people with only slight dental problems can use) isn't strong enough for my teeth. Nice.
And, of course, I learned three things that I didn't already know:
1) Braces cost an obscene amount of money -- nearly $6,000 total.
2) No one (do you know anyone?) has orthodontic insurance, including me, and my dental insurance only covers $1,000 -- up to age 19. I am 24.
3) I will have to channel my inner teen again and wear braces for at least 20 months.
As I sat in the orthodontist's office looking at horrible mug shots of me straight on and from the side and x-rays of my jaw, all I could think of was I look like a criminal and How am I ever going to pay for this? and I'm almost 25 years old. I don't want to look (and feel) like a 14-year-old again.
Then I cried. In the orthodontist's office. Who cries in the orthodontist's office? And I'm crying again now. Stupid cry-at-everything genes!
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the next time you see a picture of me, I will look ten years younger (in a bad way) and will probably not be smiling very broadly since the braces I had at 14 had the annoying habit of cutting into my lips.
Wish me luck as I try to figure out how to deal with two years of braces (and pay for thousands worth of metal wires and brackets)! I'd love to hear your dental stories, too -- I could use some cheering up. :(