That’s right. I’m getting braces. D:
I had a scheduled orthodontist appointment last May, where a dentist looked around my teeth with a hand-held mirror and seemingly shouted out whatever came to mind: “A1, B2, C1 dinosaur, C12 antidisestablishmentarianism, D2, X23 coma…” and I sat in the dentist chair wondering what all this means and whether or not I should be terrified.
Lots of people are scared of dentists, but I never have been, perhaps because one of my aunts is a dentist. However the chill that ran down my spine when he said, “… J42 impacted…” after minutes of “G39, H40, I41…” didn’t bode well.
After commending me on my cleaning skills to soften the news, the dentist said my teeth were all fine and dandy apart from one that was ‘impacted’ and had only partially erupted when it should have been fully grown. If it’s left alone, it’ll make it really hard to clean that area when I grow up, so they strongly recommended I get braces. Meh.
I used to be concerned that braces would be the subject of mockery if I got any, but it’s not the case, at least not at my school. I can’t imagine myself with braces, but I imagine that once I get them, I won’t be able to imagine myself without them, so that’s not an issue either.
My main worry is the hassle it will cause. Luckily it won’t have much of an impact for me diet-wise (because of my allergies, I’m already restricted from chocolate, toffee etc.) but if I have to clean my teeth everyday after lunch, that will be an annoyance.
Still, I hear that it’s really worth it for the nice smile you get afterwards, so because of the ‘recommendation’ (it was more like an order) me and my parents decided to go with it.
Anyhow, I went for another appointment today to get my X-rays and other measurements taken, so they can make sure my braces will fit my mouth snugly. A few minutes after I’d sat down with my mum, a dentist came in and said that I was to be led to another building where my measurements would be taken… without my mum. I wasn’t sure why this was necessary, but I went along with it anyway.
So we walked around the corner to another building, into a room with lots of machinery. First the dentist took X-rays of my teeth. I had to put my chin on a piece of plastic and bite into a groove in a piece of plastic; both of these pieces of plastic (I don’t know their names!) protruded at right angles from another piece of plastic. Tl;dr: lots of plastic. Then the dentist brought even more plastic apparatus to keep my head in place, and left the room, after telling me cheerily to keep my head still.
When I went to India two years ago and got a haircut (this is relevant, I promise) my dad did all the talking and left me with the hairdresser, who kept muttering at me in Malayalam and then, when I did nothing, forcibly keeping my head still or moving it. He had to mutter a lot, increasingly irritably as time went on.
I think the point I’m trying to make after that very long and convoluted anecdote is that I don’t like keeping my head still and that I’m not very good at it – even hairdressers get annoyed at me for my incompetence . But somehow I managed it – the X-ray machine hung from the ceiling and spun around my head and I stayed still. although there’s no saying the x-rays won’t show some very shaky teeth when they’re printed.
Then I had to go to another X-ray machine, but this time they put things in my ears. I looked like I was wearing very heavy earphones that were attached to the ceiling. The dentist brought down a latch to put on my nose (to keep me in place again), took the X-ray, and then it was over.
After that the dentist took a number of pictures of my face with a very fancy camera. I felt more like a model in those annoying back to school ads that are starting to pop up than a person at the orthodontist’s.
She then proceeded to take pictures of my teeth while her assistant used stretchers to keep my lips out of the way (not as bad as it sounds, but still very strange). Perhaps understandably, this was much less glamorous. At one point, the dentist put a mirror in between my top and bottom rows of teeth so they could look at the inside of my mouth; they then told me I should only breathe through my nose to prevent the mirror steaming up. I had a mild panic wondering whether or not my nose-breathing was sufficient for me to survive for a few minutes. In hindsight, what if the mirror had gotten stuck? Would I have lived the rest of my life a nose-breather, trying not to steam up the mirror? With my perpetual state of blocked nose, I doubt I would last long. But I digress.
The appointment was perfectly normal apart from one unusual moment. Throughout, the dentist was very friendly and cheerful, trying to make some small talk. At one point, after I said that some of the procedures seemed a bit weird, she said something along the lines of, “Oh yes, we do weird here. We do a lot of weird. Never painful though.” Undoubtedly it was meant to be genial chitchat, but it came across a bit outlandish. XD After that, things continued as usual.
I had to bite into a sheet of wax so they could record my bite. I also had what felt like plasticine shoved onto my bottom and upper teeth, so they could make casts of them. It was bearable, although the container used to hold the plasticine were uncomfortable against my cheeks.
That was the end of it. I rinsed my mouth with some mouthwash and was led back to my mum.
Congratulations, you have just read a word-by-word account of an orthodontist trip! This was probably really mundane, but I’m sure you enjoyed it anyway. :P Sorry, that was a bit presumptuous.
What are your experiences with braces, orthodontists and dentists?