Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B Is For Braces

Despite the love my parents showed me while I was growing up, I believe there was a small part of them that hated me.  It is the only explanation I have for one big decision they made which traumatized me for life.

They chose a man who was professionally trained in torture techniques to be my orthodontist.

(OK, that probably isn't true.  He probably took some correspondence course, which, now that I think about it, is much more feasible.  Professionals wouldn't have been so sloppy.)

Well, there is one other explanation.  Either they hated me or they were ridiculously frugal and found the guy's name and number on an ad on a corkboard at the grocery store that read, "Cheapest Braces In Town!"  They just tore the tag off and made an appointment.

Either way, their choice in orthodontist sucked.


Before
 
How 'bout we bullet point the ways in which this man traumatized me?

* To prepare for braces, I underwent surgery to have eight teeth pulled, four of which were adult teeth.  I was knocked out, and when I awoke I had 12 teeth left.  I basically had to learn how to gum my food at the age of 10. 

* At one of my first ortho appointments, a mold was taken of my teeth.  The assistant wasn't very good at it and gagged me, which caused me to throw up all over myself.  Did she take the mold thing out so I could puke in peace?  No.  She put me in a chokehold so I couldn't move and waited the three (or was it a million?) minutes for the mold to set.

*  To add insult to injury, she then wrote on my chart that I am a "gagger".  That moniker stuck with me for years and years.  As an adult, I went to a new dentist in a new city, and one of the first things the hygienist said was, "Oh, I see you're a gagger." 

*  Two days before my braces were to be put on, I fell on the playground.  My bucky-beaver tooth went right into my bottom lip, and I had to get three stitches in it.  The orthodontist decided I was to keep my appointment.  My mom agreed.
 
*  Paying zero attention to my still-swollen, stitched-up lip, the ortho yanked my gerbil-sized mouth open to get a good look at my horse-sized teeth.  The pain.  Oh, mercy, the pain.

*  After I screamed, the orthodontist left the room, then came back with a spray can.  He sprayed my entire face.  It was some sort of numbing concoction, which he probably got on the black market.  My entire face went numb.  Sure, I couldn't feel him pulling my stitches to their breaking point, but I couldn't feel my eyelids, either.  All I could think was, "Am I blinking?  For the love, tell me if I'm blinking!" 

*  My orthodontist had Parkinson's.  No joke.  While I have nothing against people with this disease, and in fact have much compassion for them, this man was dangerous.  He would accidentally pinch me with the utensils, leaving me with blood blisters on my lip.  (Yes, the very same lip that had previously been stitched.)

During
 
*  I had the old-fashioned kind of braces, of course, that completely encircled every tooth and were put on with an unbelievable amount of cement. There was a wire that went through itty bitty holes in the front of each band.  It wasn't until the wire was in that he could tell if the wire was too long.  Instead of taking the wire out, he would put the metal sander in my mouth.  The sander would be spinning at lightening speed, when he shoved it aaaaaaaall the way to the back of my mouth in order to sand the wire down.  Smoke and metal dust actually poured out of my mouth.  One false Parkinson's twitch, and my cheek would have been sliced open. 

I have never been so terrified as those days when the wire needed to be changed.

After
Really, what's the point of fixing the teeth when you are walking around with such horrible clothes and hair?
This torture went on every three weeks for two years.  Two very long years.

So, when our dentist told me that Phoenix needed to see an orthodontist, I broke out in a cold sweat.  My poor baby will NOT be treated in such a manner!  I don't care how often he annoys me by not brushing his hair or goofing off at the store, my son will have the best orthodontia money can buy!

Sure, we won't be able to afford pants to fit the boy who never stops growing, and he'll have to go around wearing floods and/or capris for a couple of years, but God as my witness, he will have a youngish, compassionate, healthy, steady-handed orthodontist!

Day 2.  B word.  Check.

Have a lovely day!

37 comments:

  1. Both my hubby and I have similar memories of orthodontia treatment gone bad. However, it has come a LONG way. I have two children in braces and it is amazing how "easy" it is for them. There is still the discomfort/tenderness for 1-2 days after getting the braces adjusted (every 6-8 weeks...didn't it seem like we went at least once a month?) but it is a walk in the park to what we went through. Shop around and interview a few orthodontists. Don't sign on the dotted line until you feel comfortable. Sorry that you have such awful memories...it's hard not to relay those to your children and freak them out, isn't it?

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    1. So glad to hear braces are easier these days. Now that I think about it, it's been a long time since I've heard anyone mention headgear for their kids. :)
      It really is hard to keep our memories in check when raising kids.

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  2. Oh my goodness you must have had my othro's brother! Mine was terrible, I shiver weekly as I drive past his old office. When our dentist told me that C needed braces {it was obvious to everyone that ALL the kids will need them} I too broke out in a cold sweat of fear and panic. My ortho's office windows looked into a hotel pool area, monthly I wished I was at that hotel and not in the torture chair. He had stupid posters hanging on the ceiling, and would shove his short fat stubby fingers all 10 into my mouth yuck! I had the wrap around braces and he injured my teeth so badly that I have had to pay the price now. I too am a gagger and puked while getting my mold. I made 3 different appointments with ortho's before I agreed to one, and we love him. Funny thing is his receptionist was my ortho's receptionist for a year before he retired. Lucky kids with crooked teeth. And my mom DID sign the dotted line because he was the cheapest in town...

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    1. Haha! There is something to that saying, "You get what you pay for."
      I am very happy with the ortho we chose. He has come highly recommended by lots of people, and I like his no nonsense attitude with the kids.

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  3. gah-- braces! that brings back some memories. ooh, how my teeth hurt. but I guess it was worth it in the end.

    best,
    MOV

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    1. My dad still asks to see my teeth every once in a while to have a gander at his investment. He'll probably have plenty to say once he reads this. It may have been worth it. :)

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  4. I thought those impressions made everyone gag. I gagged. Maybe I had that label too. I didn't throw up though. You had a HORRIBLE ortho. I had braces twice. The first time he thought he was doing more harm than good, so he removed them. Got them again three years later.
    Both of my sons are already in orthodontia, since ages 4 and 7 because of their cleft palates. They're already enduring this pain. I was 12 before I went. I feel bad for them. My 8yo will probably be getting the actual braces sometime this year.

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    1. Twice?!?! Ugh. My boy's ortho is of the mind to hold off on braces until the kids are older and into their big growth spurt, so there shouldn't be any of this.
      Poor kids. I'm wondering if either of them will be dentists when they are older. I'm going to bet no.

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  5. You poor thang, but you have to admit you were damn cute!!! Both my kids have braces and their orthodontist works 3 1/2 days a week while I make monthly payments to support his lavish vacations with his new lover.

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    1. Looks like you went into the wrong profession, getting that lawyer degree! Seems teeth are much more profitable and much less stressful.

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  6. My daughter needs to read this, but then she'll probably make me write a post about HER experiences - 17 teeth pulled, gagging, failed appliances. You people and your itty bitty mouths!

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    1. Doesn't she know by now that the blog is supposed to be all about you?

      17 teeth? Dang! Might as well just go to dentures at that point!

      You know what they say about people with itty bitty mouths...

      They have to endure lots of dental work, apparently.

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  7. I was so tortured and ridiculed in the dentists offices again and again that I couldn't bring myself to take my girls at all when they were growing up. I know that is horrible but I would get tremendous anxiety at the thought of bringing them to a dentist. As it is I can't bring myself to go to one now even though I desperately need to. So sorry you had such horrible experiences. I am sure you will find the best dentist/orthodontist for your children.

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    1. Oh no! That is bad! How do your girls feel about the dentist now that they are grown? You're sorry for me? I'm sorry for you! Fortunately, we've had fantastic dentists for our kids, and the orthodontist we've chosen seems to be just as good. Thanks.

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    2. My youngest, when her step-mother took her and her sister to the dentist in high school, had not a single cavity. My oldest daughter wasn't so lucky but she has regular visits now and seems to do well. Maybe because they weren't victimized as children they are able to better handle it now as adults.

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    3. Good news for them, then. And a whole lot of money in your pocket that could have gone to the dentist. :)

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  8. LMAO!!!! That's OK right??? ;P

    Thanks for starting my day off with a good chuckle! Way to go! 24 more to go. :D

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    1. It's always OK. There are very few things in this world that I can't find something to laugh about.

      You're welcome.

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  9. OMG this brought back horrible memories! Your teeth are beautiful by the way! Mine are NOT.

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    1. It seems there are many of us who had horrible dental experiences as kids. Why thank you very much. They're still too big, but they're at least straight. :)

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  10. I apologize, while I cringed at various parts... I also chuckled and laughed at some others, despite your plight! I feel terrible and we just "met" so some of the jokes coming to mind would be triplefold inappropriate lol

    I can't even imagine enduring that, but I am now glad I never ever had to go through the process of getting braces! I'd imagine this day in age the process is a lot less archaic? Less torture, pain, blood and puke... I surely hope anyways!

    Get the best orthodontist your money can buy for your child :)

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

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    1. Triplefold inappropriate?! My favorite kind. :)

      I hear it is much easier for the younger generations. Isn't it always?

      We will go broke if we have to.

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  11. My daughter had braces for five years. We had to put them on while she was young and kept them on while waiting for the final adult teeth to come into place. While I did not endure this humiliation as a child, I have found myself plagued with them as an adult because my front teeth were turning. Needless to say, child #2 is not very sympathetic with her mom when I come home complaining that my teeth hurt. She just rolls her eyes and blurts out "Five Years Mom!". Although I thought I was kind to her plight, I can now see that my telling her to "grab a Tylenol" was not exactly the comfort she could have used. ~~ EmmlyJane @ Unconditional love with a few conditions

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    1. Oh, the poor dear! I would imagine she has very little sympathy for you. Coming back to bite you, eh?

      I brush my kids off with a Tylenol plenty of times. They don't know pain! Well, your daughter might. :)

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  12. And people wonder why our generation are scared of the dentist! We were all traumatised back in the 80's!

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  13. Just the fact that I am using the term "my first orthodontist,"should tell you he sucked! I think he was drinking too much...very angry man. My next orthodontist years later (because the first fix was not permanent was a fabulous guy.) He and I worked out a barter for services as I was an orthopedic specialist and he had some serious knee issues. This way we were at each other's mercy...no messing up!

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    1. Yikes! What is it about orthodontists back then??
      That has got to be the best barter I've ever heard. So smart of you both!

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  14. You and I clearly had the same orthodontist! Did yours smell like moth balls and wear only western attire?

    I also had the old school braces, but I had them TWICE, each time for almost 3 years a time. It sucked. And you know what else sucked? I had 2 adult teeth pulled because my orthodontist said they needed to go because I had too many teeth. They should have stayed.

    I now have to wear a partial because of the two missing teeth. It's one of the few things in life I get really bitter and angry about. The partial broke just before Christmas and I had to go to several appointments to get it fixed. Every one of them made me angry...even some 20 years later.

    Bottom line: I feel your pain. And it hurts!

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    1. No western attire, sorry to say. That might have made him more personable.

      Oh my word. Six years of braces?? That's just a daggum nightmare.

      I can see why you are so angry. I'm beginning to think all orthodontists were awful, just different levels of it. Yours is one of the worst.

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  15. Arrggghhh, I had similar experiences with our hometown "family" dentist as a child which have left me with a fear of dentists to this day, I have to force myself to go. Thankfully, dentistry and dentists have come a long way since then, and there really is a thing called gentle dental care. Hallelujah!

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    1. Thankfully, dentists have gotten much, much, much better. My kids don't mind going at all.

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  16. My mouth hurts now! EEeeeek! What a wonderful childhood memory... :P

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  17. Oh my, that's some horrible experience you've had with your orthodontist! I cringed when you talked about your lip that was cut. And with that experience in mind, it's truly understandable and parent-like to think of having the best ortho to take care of your son's teeth. Please do so; it's unbearable to think that there would be other people to suffer through the same things you had. Aura Minaya

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    1. It wasn't pretty, that's for sure. I am going to do what I can to make sure none of the kids have to endure anything like it!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. Before anything else, I would like to commend you for giving such cool names for your kids. :) Anyhow, did Phoenix already got his braces? I hope that you have found a reliable orthodontist. It's important because your kids' dental health are at stake. A great dentist will ensure that your children will achieve that beautiful and healthy set of teeth.

    Cody Zieba @ Reed Orthodontics

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!