HORIZONS- Bracing for braces was fear well spent

I’m one of those people who is scared of a lot of things-loud noises, spiders, paper cuts, sharks, and getting poked in the eye, to name a few.

But for some insane reason, all my life-until this year, of course-I’ve wanted braces. Weird, I know. When I was 10, I actually begged my dentist to give me braces (What was I thinking?).

He said, “No, you’ll never need them.” Unfortunately, when I heard that, as a sophomore in high school, I was now going to have braces, I was slightly less than ecstatic, as maybe you can imagine.

On the way to Newton to get the fearsome braces process started, I was so terrified. All kinds of crazy thoughts were racing through my mind.

I’m not especially fond of pain, and I’ve heard there’s some of that. In fact, I believe the exact words my friend used were, “It feels like you’re being punched in the face.”

Great. I was also bouncing back and forth between what color of bands to get. I wanted to accessorize well and was very concerned about possibly looking disgusting (I am a teenage girl!), even though I could get the colors changed at the next appointment.

A good friend told me NO RED: “It makes your teeth look stale.” Well I’m not really sure what stale teeth would look like, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want them.

Someone else said NO YELLOW: “You will look like a pirate.” Well, OK then. No yellow. I had observed that pink and green look good, and one of my friends has baby blue-but my dad would disown me if I looked even a little bit like a Tar Heel.

Another friend said, “Get royal blue! Royal blue is good! It goes with your jeans and anything else you’d want to wear!” But I’m not going to try to match my braces with my clothes. That’s too weird.

All my crazy thoughts were rudely interrupted when my father poked me in the arm, nudging me out of the car.

A few seconds later I was standing in the lobby watching two 5-year-olds playing Super Mario. They were blissfully unaware of the future implications of their crooked teeth.

The gap in their teeth was “cute,” but in mine it “needed to be corrected as soon as possible.”

I felt like bolting back to the car and locking my dad out so he couldn’t drag me back in.

I decided I was definitely adding braces to the everlasting list of things I’m afraid of. But it was too late. The lady with the glasses had already called my name and I was walking through a long hallway. All I could hear were drills revving and people screaming-wait, that’s from a movie.

When I sat down in the electric chair-whoops! I mean dentist’s chair-my dad, a.k.a. “The Shutterbug,” (“Wait, wait! Let me get a picture of that!”) began to interrupt the process, prolonging the pain.

He said he was just taking pictures for my mom since she couldn’t be there, but I know those things are going to turn up at my wedding reception or something.

To my surprise, the whole process wasn’t anywhere close to as horrible as I had imagined. No drilling, no screaming, just blinding pain when giant blue logs, innocently called “spacers,” were shoved between my back teeth.

OK, OK. Seriously though, Patti Duerksen and Dr. Tippin were great; they kept me calm by joking around about how great it was going to be to have an entire meal stuck in my braces to save for later.

To prevent the massive meal-to-save-for-later thing, my dad bought me an awesome Batman toothbrush. It’s definitely my favorite part of this whole braces thing.

And even though for the first two weeks after I got them I lived on soup and Jell-O, and every time I bit down I felt like I might cry… .

I think I kinda like ’em.

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