Saturday, February 14, 2009



I have braces. Just call me metal mouth. I'm sure most of you have had braces... but it is a new experience for me and I think I should make some record of it. I don't think people really help you understand what having braces is like. They are very vague. So, here are some things you should know about braces:

Day 1- Optimistic.

You are surprised at how easy it is to strap metal to each tooth and string a wire through. It doesn't take much longer than a cleaning and x-rays. Other than the fact that you now have a metallic smile, you think, "oh, this won't be so bad!" Your teeth feel tight, but in a good way that makes you feel like you will one day have a good, straight smile.

This nice cloud of optimism fades quickly, however, when you realize you are hungry. "Okay," you think, "I can do this." You have already tried to avoid running into people you know or talking when you don't have to and are almost positive you've offended someone... but, other than the new addition to your face (which you assume, like a new hair cut, you'll eventually get used to), you are pretty confident. "A sandwich? Yeah, that should be an easy 'beginner' food," you think to yourself. You take a slightly cautious bite.

"Hmm... I swore I took a bigger bite then that," you think. You did. It's just that half of it is now caking your teeth- smile big! You eat with your head down-- in shame. You are slightly less optimistic about the situation.

Day 2- Angry

So, after a good night's sleep you wake up. What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you, run to the bathroom? Do you grab breakfast? Brush your teeth? No... none of these things. Because the morning after you get braces, all you want to do is run to the cupboard and take a handful of ibuprofen-- which is what I did. Pain. Luckily you can basically drink some breakfast foods like yogurt or oatmeal and you manage to eat that.

After the medicine kicks in, your teeth feel fine... but your cheeks are shredded and it only gets worse every time you talk. What is your solution? Try your hand at ventriloquism. People don't exactly understand what you are saying. Your speech is definitely being impaired by the barbed wire in your mouth- go figure. And then it hits you. Who the hell was the masochistic who first thought to strap BARBED WIRE to his teeth? How crude! It is a day full of a few soft foods. It angers you to eat because every time you do, it reminds you of how much your teeth hurt.

Day 3- That tortured squirrel feeling. (What, you don't know that feeling?)

So now that you've had time to learn all the wonderful sensations that come with braces, you begin to realize that they are oddly familiar. Although you haven't experienced them yourself, you realize that something has. For instance, eating. When you are finished eating (bread is the worst), you realize that you aren't quite done. A magical reserve of food has built up above your braces on your top teeth and in your cheeks. Yes! You can now pack a snack for school! You can try clearing this reserve with your tongue, but that results in a cut up tongue. Have you ever tried cleaning barbed wire with your tongue? Yeah. You learn to clear it with a finger and you get a nice re-cap of what you ate. It is an assortment of food- yum. Like when you mix a bunch of stuff into your mashed potatoes. "I'm a freaking squirrel... a squirrel in pain," you realize.

In the last three days, you realize you have eaten a handful of yogurts, a couple helpings of potatoes and gravy and some ice cream. On the bright side you think, "this is a really effective way to loose weight!" Too bad I have always tried to do the opposite. Eating has become something to dread... but you often forget this and think of a good restaurant to go to with friends or a date, only to be brought back to reality. That reality is, "I don't want people to witness my squirrel-like tendencies!" And, "I will die if I try and chew on that."

Day 4- Astonishment

While brushing your teeth (and flossing) at night you realize how much time you will spend this year cleaning your bling at night. In order to floss, you need to thread it through the wire for each tooth. Flossing alone takes at least 15 minutes. I figure it takes me 20-25 minutes for my nightly cleaning because, well, I was already very diligent in cleaning my mouth before this new addition. So 20 minutes every night for a year. That is a little over 5 whole days of brushing and flossing. This does not include morning brushing and the times after meals when you feel like there is a country stuck in your teeth. Wow... that is an unbelievable amount of time to spend on your mouth.

Day 5- Hope

Don't fret little children... there is hope. On the 5th day, you wake up in almost no pain. You only take one dose of pain reliever "just in case." You eat something more substantial than yogurt and ice cream. "Maybe I can enjoy food again," you wonder.

Day 6-?- Adventurous

Now, with hardly any pain when you aren't chewing, you begin to experiment with harder foods. You forget that you have braces until you take a bite, but you manage. You start wondering why people you know, but haven't seen you in awhile, are staring at you intently. "Oh, yeah! I got braces." You smile your metallic smile and go along with your day. You've learned to bite with the side of your mouth and chew with your back teeth. "This actually might be worth it," you conclude.


Lindy said...

This post is awesome. Yay for day six, right? Your metallic smile is pretty awesome. I know you think I'm crazy when I say this, but I don't think they look bad at all. :)

Brensters said...

I know I should have warned you about having braces. I think however yo were in more pain than I. My braces never hurt when I got them our when they were tightened. I remember coming home and trying to eat. I had a slice of cheese and realized not the best thing. Cleaning was a pain and when they shred up your cheeks. I know they gave me some wax to put on them to prevent that. I know after awhile you can get used to them. The weirdest part is when they get taken off. Your teeth look and feel so big.

Bruce said...

This made my laugh. I like the idea of having a country stuck in my mouth. I'm not sure which country I'd pick, though.

Miss Scarlet in the Conservatory said...

I have always said that braces are the most effective diet you can go on! Just be glad you don't play oboe with braces.

Michelle said...

very vivid. This is why I happily chose to stick to my crooked teeth :)


Michelle said...

very vivid. This is why I happily chose to stick to my crooked teeth :)


Anonymous said...

very vivid. This is why I happily chose to stick to my crooked teeth :)



Melese said...

Haha! This was hilarious! Wow, seriously Jonathan you explained that perfectly. Funny how no one really clues you into any of the pain/mess eating can be. I remember feeling like my entire mouth was numb the first time I ate (which as I recalled was mac and cheese) and bits of food was in places of my mouth i never knew existed. haha, glad to hear that the last couple days have been filled with at least a little bit of hope :)

Willi said...

jonathan, why ever would you say that???

Willi said...
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Tyler said...

That was pretty dang funny...and it made me quite content with my crooked smile.

I See Badgers said...

i was laughing a lot when reading this post. I kept trying to imagine you as a starving squirrel and it was pretty good.

have a good one.