Monday, August 31, 2009

Bracing myself

I've signed the contract. The spacers are in. There's no turning back now. In three days I'll be decked out in adult braces. I'll endure a mouth full of metal and all the discomfort that comes with it for the next five months. I've emptied my savings account to do this to myself, convinced that I'm investing in a procedure that will save me a lifetime of painful and expensive dental work and an eventually snaggle-toothed smile.

As the assistant attempted to force in the spacers with pliers, she consoled me, insisting this would be the worst of the braces ordeal. I found the process only mildly uncomfortable. "I can so handle this," I thought. Then she started struggling with next two teeth. She was working up a sweat, grunting with frustration as she tried to squeeze in the rubber bands. She left me with two strings hanging out of my mouth to call in for reinforcement. This next assistant wasn't so gentle. She got a good yelp out of me. After bloodying several strings of floss, she conceded that she'd have to resort to the metal spacers.

Counterintuitively, metal spacers induce far less pain. They also function far less effectively. The women shook their heads at my overcrowded mouth and advised me to pop several Advil before coming in Thursday.

During this process a tanned blonde wearing a ponytail and scrubs entered the room. I assumed her to be another assistant until I read the "Dr." prefix on her name tag. She didn't look that much older than me. I realized she was the woman I'd seen in the pictures around the office, the one I'd actually suspected might be the age 40-ish main doctor's high school daughter. No. She's an orthodontist, raking in the cash and designing healthy, beautiful smiles. I better start doing something with my life or all my bosses will be younger than me.

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