Thursday, March 21, 2013
I'm Free! ...Or am I?
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About six months ago, I entered the orthodontists' office, skeptical, and a little nervous as well. For the most part, I kept my cool demeanor intact, but inside, I was dreading what the doctor might have to say.
The need for braces runs in my family. My younger sister, Aarathyn, has had braces twice, and my dad had both braces and headgear during his childhood. Needless to say, I had good reason to be worried.
Sure enough, after being looked over by the doctor, he gave me the dreaded news; I needed braces. Not only braces, but an expander, as well as a MARA device, and the possible removal of a few teeth.
And thus, my trials began. The woman who took my impressions had a complete disregard for other people's mouths, and for the first time in my life, I felt the tiniest inclination to bite someone. However, I tried to be understanding. They didn't really mean me harm, they just wanted to straighten out my mouth. Right?
Step Two was the expander. And let me tell you- expanders are the worst. For those of you who don't know what it is, let me show you.
That isn't me in the picture, but that is what they put inside my mouth. At first, I hated it. It was very intrusive. I had to completely relearn how to swallow and talk, because my tongue's movement was so restricted. I have to admit, I cried... a lot. It didn't help that because of the roughness with which my mouth was treated during impressions, my mouth was covered in swollen sores.
But, after the first few days, I got used to it, and the sores healed. In two weeks, I was able to talk normally again... for the most part. Words like 'key' and 'green' still sounded a little funny, but you get used to it. When people asked me how I was doing with the expander, I told them that I lived with it, and that it would be nice to have a straighter mouth when it was finished.
Step Three was the braces. They weren't so bad. I'll take braces over expanders any day! It hurts a little when they tighten the wires, but it's bearable.
Yesterday, I had the great joy of getting my expander taken out. Oh, the joy of running my tongue over the roof of my mouth! Oh, the freedom of being able to swallow normally, and to return to my original way of speaking! My gums are still very raw after being covered up for so many months, but they will heal.
Happily, I departed the orthodontists' office, whistling like I have not been able to for months. Then... not fifteen minutes later, I found out that they weren't quite finished.
Oh, no. My freedom was not to last. It seemed that I had traded one horror for another- now, in place of the expander, I have a retainer, to make sure that my mouth does not go back to the way it was before.
Now I have a lithp. It'th very annoying, thpeaking thith way. Oh, I'm thure I'll get uthed to it, but currently, I'm having trouble with thethe thtupid rathpy-thounding 's's.
Alright, perhaps I'm being a little dramatic. Already, I'm getting used to working around the obstruction. And this time, I only have to wear it for five weeks, instead of six months.
But it's not over yet.
In five weeks, just as I get rid of my retainer, they will initiate step three:
The MARA device.
Time will tell how this strange looking device will affect me. My sister Aarathyn has one already, and she seems to be fine, but I will make my decision once I have my own...
So! Make sure to tune in in five weeks, when I post the update of my oral progress. Until then!