25 Months and Nine Days later...

Last Tuesday I had my braces taken off. I have hated my teeth and their peculiar ways of moving ever since my fiendish wisdom teeth started to come through when I was 14. My gap in the front closed, some teeth would have all night parties where each one would give me a terrible headache and jaw pain. They moved and turned and danced and it was just not on.

When I was 18, I asked my dentist if I could have all of my teeth taken out and replaced with false ones, to eliminate fillings, drilling's and the constant pain I was in. A firm 'don't be so ridiculous' was met with tears and I was told to let my wisdom teeth arrive and then come back once they had. At age 22 they were all fully in my life like a set of four bad boyfriends all being rubbish and never thinking about my feelings. I had an abscess on one for a week that saw me sucking a piece of clove oil soaked cotton wool and slurping soluble aspirin through a straw. ENOUGH!!!! 

After visiting the emergency dentist out of  'I will show you I can have all of my teeth out' stroppiness and in desperation, I was prodded and poked and after having an X-ray film shoved in my mouth quite rudely, the abscess came to a sticky end. After waking up on the floor I realised that we needed to split up immediately, never go on any more desperation dates to emergency dentists on a Saturday afternoon and that clove oil is useless and sucking cotton wool is disgusting. This then took me after a lot of moaning on a journey to the teeth out day hospital almost 6 months later where I was scheduled to have all four bad boyfriends out under general anaesthetic. 'This is going to be wonderful!' I thought, no more pain, no more upset they will see I need false ones and give me some Sterident and a nice floral pot to put them in for bedtimes.

Arriving at the teeth hospital I was very pleased. I wore my best new pyjamas and bought a new staying in for a few hours bag and then was strictly ordered to change and wear the paper undergarments provided, take out my earrings, store your bag away and wear this green smock ready for when you are called. This proved too much and the smock I had to wear over the paper bits tipped me over the edge.  Never underestimate the terror of a general anaesthetic.  I remember being called five times to the theatre and rolling down the wall as if I was in a film. After being picked up and loaded onto a trolley, the nurses were very dismayed with me and after complaining needles aren't for me and I wasn't having a drip, I got put to sleep with gas. Glossing over the gas trip, teeth being pulled out, feeling stitches where they shouldn't be, throwing up all over the surgeons shoes and telling the new nurse on her first day of working there I felt like candy floss and then being sick on her top, I found out only two teeth had been removed as the others were deemed OK. With an over powering urge to break free of my smock, as I was so incensed that not all of the bad teeth had gone, I was wheeled back to the ward. My demands to open my curtains around my bed as Neighbours was coming on, was met with a sssh and I was given a cup of tea in a beaker with a pink straw.  After six hours I was allowed home and everybody waved me goodbye which I thought was nice.  I did send a thank you card afterwards but they never replied. 

Almost ten years later my teeth were still upsetting. My front teeth had started to cross right over each other, my gap was forever lost as they partied and moved house. I wanted them fixed. Back to my old dentist after 12 years of silent protest and I proceeded to tell him all about the smock and Neighbours and the Joan Collins behaviour and he sent me to get them fixed at the orthodontist within minutes. 'Not a moment too soon!' he said as I was ushered outside. 

After many visits to a green leather chair, no monies left for life and four proper grown up teeth taken out later I was the proud owner of a brace at age 31. I felt in lots of ways that people didn't notice it until I got colours put on. It was more me feeling self conscious about looking stupid and feeling a bit odd. I lisped, got all of the food stuck in it and invented new ways of eating peanuts and glacier mints. Here is a picture of my face with braces on from last year but only a bit of brace mind!

© Lisa Howard

© Lisa Howard

After waiting so long for the special brace off day, I put my last elastic bands on and wax before bed the night before and thought this is good news, no braces, new teeth, new you!  I then dreamt all night that my teeth fell out on the way to the orthodontist and then had a second dream my teeth had turned green in some terrible event unknown to brace kind. Getting them off was OK but the polishing off of the glue was hardcore. I did make a few pain noises where my leg shot up into the air and they felt really odd and massive once I felt them. As my big reveal was about to arrive I didn't want it. I wanted my braces back, my safety teeth with the pink trim. I heard my dentist shouting at me again all those years ago and after wiping away the impression play-doh off my face I had visions of looking like this.

Here is a plaster cast of my old teeth's which I get to keep as a memento. I liked this service very much. 

And here are my new teeth!

The good news is I can whistle again which is what everybody's been waiting for.