The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
I changed my profile picture on Facebook this week to the one above. Boy, did I get the comments. I was blushing. 🙂 You probably don’t know this about me, but I wore braces for what felt like half of my life. It really wasn’t half of my life but to me it seemed that way.
The radiant, lovely smile I possess now I never take for granted. It took me years to get it and so, in gratitude, I want to pass along my story for anyone who might be wishing for a change.
First, let me tell you I smiled all the time as a small child. In looking at pictures of myself at a young age, I was always happy and showing teeth in all my photos. When my permanent teeth came in, that was when things began to change.
I must have inherited a small mouth and large teeth. When my two front teeth came in, they were pointed in a V shape. Most of the rest of my front teeth were crooked as well. My mouth was a train wreck of sorts and my parents took a very conservative approach to this problem.
Since my Dad had lost all of his teeth after the second world war (poor nutrition and lack of a dentist in India where he was stationed), he didn’t want any of my teeth pulled. And since orthodontics was not really in vogue yet, we ended up at a regular dentist who was trying to move my teeth using very traditional methods. Mostly, he used a plain retainer and wired my teeth to that retainer.
I believe I wore this retainer for approximately four years or so (with very little change) until a friend of the family graduated from dental school, specializing in orthodontics. Dr. K. took one look at my mouth and told my parents I had to have four teeth removed. I clearly remember my mother saying “Those spaces had better close up afterwards!” to which Dr. K. replied, “Don’t worry, they will.”
I had the four teeth pulled and Dr. K began his work. He put “railroad tracks” on the teeth in front of and behind the then open spaces in my mouth. I swear it was less than a year later that my front teeth straightened out completely. I continued to wear full braces during my senior year in high school, and then through three years of college.
The timing was amazing. I graduated from college and Dr. K. took my braces off. It had been years since my teeth saw the light of day. I began smiling with a full on, bright smile. I couldn’t smile enough. It was like the sun coming out after a long heavy rain.
If you are thinking about fixing a problem in your smile, and whether you are young or old, I want you to go for it. The temporary inconvenience is worth the permanent improvement. I had my son and daughter in braces at a young age to save them the hassle of having it done later. Plus, it’s worth it for the self esteem alone. No one wants to go through life with crooked teeth.
Thank you to Dr. K. and his staff (Mrs. S.!) for what they did for me. My life was changed by their dedication and knowledge. I’m grateful every day for my beautiful smile.
You might not hear from me for a week or so. I’m headed for vacation this Saturday!