Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brace yourself

I am not what you'd call high-maintenance. I am the type of person who thinks it's annoying to spend more than 15 minutes getting ready in the morning -- and that includes showering, getting dressed and doing my hair.

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. :(


  1. In Idaho our orthodontist charged $4200 and we paid the last $1800 with a painting. I don't know how that could help you feel better but... maybe there is hope. Have you checked around? We need an orthodontist too.

  2. Not sure how much this will help, but in Korea there is a black market for braces. They're considered adorable and girls will do anything to get them, even when they don't need them.

    I understand not wanting to look 12 when you're 25, and I wish you the best for next practically-2-years of braces! Especially with that bill, ouch. I think you're beautiful with or without metal adorning your teeth!

  3. At least you don't have to have head gear. It was not fun. And back then there was no time limit for braces. I could swear I had 4 years of all that. Hope that makes you feel better. Elsie loves reading your friend stories. She has come across a lot in previous magazines.

  4. I have the cry-at-everything gene too! I think you have every reason to cry! I am sure things will work out; the Lord knows what we need the most! I'll be thinking about you!

    P.S. You are going to look super cute in braces because you look great no matter what. I am sure Andrew tells you that all the time.


Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts! I love reading them.