Embraceable You

When I decided that my theme for 2007 would be “Revival,” I had a lot of things in mind – reviving neglected passions, lost arts, old friendships – but I didn’t think it was going to take a physical turn. But for years now, something’s been bothering me about my appearance – a lot, actually. I thought about getting some work done, researched alternatives, weighed the financial options, put it off some more, but then finally just went for it.
So a couple months ago, at 35 years old, I got braces. Again.
I had braces as a teen, wore my retainers religiously, and then went off to college with a bright, straight smile. A few years later, my wisdom teeth came in and didn’t cause me any problems, so my dentists never recommended having them removed. This was clearly a mistake, because 15 years later, my teeth returned to exactly the same crooked state they were in when I first got braces.
But now in the high-tech 21st century, modern science has changed the world of orthodontics forever, so no longer do I need to suffer with brackets and rubber bands and headgear and wax. Now, there is this amazing invention called “Invisalign” – space-age clear aligners that fit over your teeth, gradually straightening them over time. I love my new aligners so much that I’ve given them an affectionate pet name: down payment on that condo I’ll never be able to afford thanks to my jacked up grill.
Fun Fact #1: I never developed adult eye teeth, which is why my teeth got so messed up as a kid.
Fun Fact #2: I apparently have a great uncle who had two sets of eye teeth. Lucky bastard.
Fun Fact #3: If I were a fighter and not a lover, I would take a crowbar to my childhood orthodontist and dentist for clearly colluding to ensure that they could destroy as many of my good teeth as possible with unnecessary bridgework, when they should have done what my current orthodontist is doing, which is closing the f*ing gaps in the first place.
So while I’m pleased with my decision to get braces again, and happy that I will be able to get rid of some of my bridgework in the process, what it means right now is that whenever I remove the space age aligners to eat, there is a gaping hole where my eyetooth should be.
This has done wonders for my social life, because without the aligners and depending on how much makeup I’m wearing, on any given day I look like:
a) an 8 year old
b) a hockey player
c) a crazy toothless cat lady
Fun Fact #4: Ironically, when I was 8 years old, my first boyfriend was a hockey player, and I lived down the block from a crazy toothless cat lady. I guess this would be what we call the circle of life.
A bit frustrated by the lack of progress, I recently asked my orthodontist how long it would take before the gap would be closed. She told me that the aligners move the teeth ¼ of a millimeter every two weeks. I had to go back to work and consult with our European accounting division to help me figure out what that actually meant in American units of stones and tooth-inches, and they basically told me not to plan on dating for the next 8 to 10 months. I said that wouldn’t be a problem.
So while I’m still enthused about my Revival theme for 2007, and thrilled to finally be taking care of something that’s bothered me for so long, I can only hope that I don’t revive any of my other teenage physical traits, because a flat-chested, acne-faced, crazy toothless cat lady is really more than even I can deal with.

19 Responses to “Embraceable You”

  1. sizzle Says:

    more power to you jenny. :)
    i can’t wait to meet you in a week (less than!).

  2. claire Says:

    omg, my orthodontist did the same thing- re:#3. I had my braces on for a year and a half or so, got them off, was supposed to get a bridge to fill a missing tooth’s gap when any damn fool could see the space was too small! After a brief reprieve, I went through a second round of braces to close the gap. Grr.
    The invasilign sound pretty cool though, so rock that metrically improving smile. :)

  3. Darby Says:

    “I love my new aligners so much that I’ve given them an affectionate pet name: down payment on that condo I’ll never be able to afford thanks to my jacked up grill.”
    That…might be one of the greatest lines in the history of blogging. We’re still tabulating the official data and results on that one, though, of course.

  4. adena Says:

    Are you talking about the two teeth next to your two front teeth, or are you talking about your canines?
    If it’s the first choice, than join the club!! Mine never grew in, either.
    And insurance won’t cover anything because it’s genetic, as I’m sure you know.
    Fun, huh??

  5. shari Says:

    You’re just saying that to make me less nervous about seeing everyone in person next weekend, aren’t you? Well, it’s not working. I’m staying in my hotel room. Even your braces are cool.

  6. churlita Says:

    Wow. That was really brave of you. I can feel my teeth moving back to where they were before I had braces, (a guy in junior high described my smile as looking like someone shot me in the teeth and the bullet bounce back off of them)but, because I’m brilliant, I prefer to do nothing and wait for them to magically fix themselves.

  7. RW Says:

    I happen to like crazy toothless cat ladies. Especially if they have tatoos and sell stolen jewelry out of paper bags in the alley.

  8. jenny Says:

    sizzle: thanks, sister. can’t wait to meet you too!
    claire: at least you were smart enough to not let them put on a bridge. now i have so many once perfectly good teeth that were ground down by unnecessary bridgework. grrrrr…. :(
    darby: ha – thanks! i might start a band called “jacked up grill.”
    adena: no, i’m talking about the canines. i got no fangs. and yes, tell me about the insurance! oy.
    shari: trust me – they’re so not cool. extremely expensive? yes. cool? nuh uh.
    churlita: wow – that guy sounds like a real charmer. and i tried the magic route for a while – or i just pushed on my teeth sometimes, thinking they would shift back on their own… :)
    rw: i wish more people had your taste. now i just need to steal some jewelry and i’ll be all set!

  9. Dave2 Says:

    You completely underestimate your charming nature! Your social life was fully intact over pizza, and I can’t imagine a better dinner companion… even if you were completely toothless!*
    *Though attempting to eat a slice of butter-crust cheese and olive pizza without teeth possesses an entirely new set of challenges.

  10. Dustin Says:

    To this very day my mom still asks if I wear my retainer at night and gripes about the “arm and a leg” she had to shell out for my braces. I usually respond by grabbing the most sugary substance within reach and rubbing it on my teeth and then saying “Is it wrong that I can feel the decay happening as we speak?”
    The word “gratitude” still isn’t in my vocabulary.

  11. brandon Says:

    for the last time, the official tequilacon grill will NOT be ready until NEXT YEAR. and furthermore, did you SEE the male/female breakdown? i think you’ll be lucky if you can put off dating for the next 6-8 DAYS. (of course, actually DRINKING the tequila instead of giving it to me might grease the wheels as far as this is concerned) ;)

  12. jenny Says:

    dave2: you’re the sweetest! and believe me – if i hadn’t been in the midst of a dental emergency today, i would’ve loved to join you for pizza again!
    dustin: please. if you won’t listen to your mother, listen to me. the only thing worse than wearing braces as an adult is PAYING FOR BRACES as an adult. put that retainer on! and clean your room!
    brandon: i told you not to reveal that george foreman is sponsoring tequilacon ’08 – now it’s ruined! and i would consider drinking my own tequila if it didn’t make me so wild and out of control… oh. that’s your point.

  13. Tracy Lynn Says:

    Dude, you have more than enough personality to carry you through a few months of interesting toothlessness. And that’s not even a word, so it MUST BE TRUE.

  14. Waterfall Says:

    I never got my eye teeth either. I think it means we’re evolutionarily ahead of the game. I have a little bit of a gap where they’re supposed to be, but not enough for braces (though my last dentist would ask me every time, “Wouldn’t you like to get braces to fix that gap?”) (Wouldn’t you like me to bite your *hand* off, dear sweet Dr. Dentist?)

  15. peefer Says:

    Jenny, you are much too sexy for this blog.

  16. jenny Says:

    tracy lynn: thanks! i totally think toothlessness is a word, or at least it should be, because i’m gonna figure out a way to rock my toothlessness!
    waterfall: good for you for fighting the man! the dentist man. unfortunately, hollywood has made us all believe that we have to have flawless features, starting with our smiles.
    peefer: toothless is the new black.

  17. egan Says:

    I would love to do the Invisalign thing with my bottom teeth. They’re all sorts of crooked, but thankfully when I smile they don’t show. I’ve decided not to smile nobody will notice.
    You had a boyfriend at 8? I didn’t have my first boyfriend until 21, but let’s just pretend I mentioned that.

  18. teahouseblossom Says:

    Hahhaa..yeah, my orthodontist told me recently that I need to get braces again as well! Welcome to thirty-something railroad tracks!

  19. Cheryl Says:

    Apparently, Back-In-The-Day braces also make your gums recede when you’re older. I’m having all sorts of fun with that now.
    If my dad–who should meet Dustin’s mom–sees me, say, opening a bag of chips with my teeth (’cause I’m classy like that), he still says, “Stop! Don’t do that with your expensive teeth!”