225 - The orthodontist isn't your friend.

I've never been to an orthodontist before. I don't know if my parents just never thought about it, if my teeth were straight enough, or if my dentist never recommended it, but until I went for my consulation a couple of months ago, I was virginal and naive in the ways of orthodontia.

So naive.

When they said they were going to make impressions of my teeth I thought easy peasy. I envisioned biting into wax or some semi-solid block of something. Ideally I would have opened my mouth and a laser would have scanned it, but I guess that's too high tech and costly. And painless.

As I said, I was naive.

First they took a picture of me from the front. With my mouth closed. Then they took a picture of me from the side. With my mouth closed.

Huh? Shouldn't my mouth be... open? Ah well. Didn't hurt. I don't care, except that because it was rainy, my hair was a little frizzy. Didn't know we were taking photos.

Then they tricked me... the next part was easy. Disgusting, but easy. They filled a tray with some sort of wax and shoved it in my mouth. It set up pretty quickly. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't bad. They said I was handling it very well. Flattery. Sometimes it works. Then they repeated the procedure for my top teeth. As I spat out little bits of wax I thought, "Hey... not so bad except that these little bits of wax remind me of that dream I have where my teeth shatter and I can't stop spitting out little bits of teeth..."

Then they tripped me up. They began shoving random trays into my mouth (I really hope they have a dishwasher or something that they toss them into) to see which fit my mouth best. I present a slight challenge since I have all my wisdom teeth and they're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay far back there. And apparently I also have a 'high palate'. Mm-kay, apparently I'm a freak.

Suddenly there was a new goop in town. It came in a double-barreled syringe like you make epoxy with. They squirted a yellow layer into the tray. Then they squirted a fuschia layer into the tray. It smelled like varnish. They shoved it into my mouth without giving me time to swallow one last time. If I thought the wax was disgusting... this was worse. It oozed out of the tray and sort of hung there like a ball sack (sorry, that's how I picture it...). Guess I could have said a uvula (not a vulva... a uvula) (sorry Ms. Anthropy... I did it again... oops). With that varnish smell inside your mouth, there's no escaping it, even if you breathe through your nose. The feel is repulsive. It set up more slowly, probably took a minute and a half to two minutes... Blech! But other than that, the bottom tray wasn't so bad.

The top tray was a different kind of beast. The part that went up against my palate went further back than the first tray they'd used. It went right up to the point that it activated my gag reflex. So I started gagging. They told me to tilt my head down and that might help, and they held a bowl under my mouth to catch the drool.

I'm feeling super sexy at this point.

It lasted for eternity.

Then I hear them say that they're going to have to redo the bottom impression because there's a gap or something where the impression didn't take. Fucking great.

Worse, after they remove the top tray, they immediately say they're going to have to redo it, too. Double fuck.

They redo the bottom. They squirt some of the yellow shit directly on my teeth before they shove the tray in. They proclaim it better, but not good enough. Awesome. I'm stoked.

They redo the top. They squirt more of the yellow shit onto my teeth and gums, which by the way are starting to feel a little numb because of the chemicals... I liken the feeling to... if you've ever painted your nails, gotten a boo-boo while they're still went, and tried to smooth it out with your tongue... it feels and tastes a little like that.

Take two: another epic fail.

As they prepare for round three I ask what happens if this impression is worthless, too. They say they'll keep doing it until they get it right. I think, 'the hell you will!' Then they add, "If you're alright with that." To which I reply, "But... I'm not." I mean, enough is enough... I'm a realist. If you can't get it in three tries, a fourth try is probably not going to have a significantly different outcome. The ortho pops his head in. I say, "They're torturing me." He laughs.

So for the third attempt, the ortho takes charge. He starts squirting the yellow crap onto my gums and teeth, I feel a tingling sensation. He shoves the tray in and pushes up on it. I point down. I can't talk, but I need to tilt my head down or I'm going to gag. The nurse gets it, but the ortho is pushing up on my teeth and I can't move my head. I point down again. She says, "If you need to tilt your head down, go ahead." I say, "I can't" but of course it sounds like "ha hahnk." Nobody moves. I point down more urgently. She finally says, "She can't move her head." He repositions himself so that I'm not gagging on my own spit -- he literally has me in a headlock. Don't underestimate the ability to communicate. Without it, life sucks.

Now it's time for my bottom tray. He pulls my lower lip out and brutally shoves his finger between my gum and my lip. Hurts like hell. He shoves the tray in and pushes down. You should know that my bottom wisdom teeth aren't out all the way. At the very back, the tooth is still covered by a layer of gum tissue. He was pushing down on that with the tray, determined to get a good impression this time. It hurt and I winced several times, but without the ability to speak, I can't say anything. I felt like I was mouth raped.

This set still doesn't make them happy, but they think that if they send the second and third sets to the lab, they'll be able to get an accurate computerized image of my mouth. Thank God. Except that if the lab rejects them, they'll request another impression. I don't see that happening... if it comes to that I'll just get regular braces. Seriously, a gal can only take so much of a good time.

After that I got to bite down on a piece of wax and take two x-rays. It was hella fun.

So... if the lab accepts the impressions, they'll give the ortho a date when my trays will be ready, and then the real fun begins. Depending on how quickly my teeth move, and how faithfully I wear my trays, I'll probably get new ones every three to four weeks. She said I'll know it's time for a new tray when the tray starts to feel loose. At our consultation he estimated that I'd be wearing them for two years. I'm usually pretty stringent about things, so I'm hoping it goes a little quicker. I'm an overachiever. =)

When I got back to work I was talking to a friend on the phone, telling him about my lovely day at the spa... As I said the following, a co-worker walked into the room, squeezed his eyes shut like he'd seen his parents having sex, turned red, starting guffawing, and walked out: "Then he shoved it in my mouth without any warning and didn't even give me a chance to swallow!" ... sigh...


  1. I'm never getting braces now! I'll just keep getting my annual check up....

  2. Swallowing is WAY overrated.

    Word verification: comen. (seriously)

  3. ABAO - LOL, I think the wax part is probably a normal part of getting braces, but the other shit was because I'm getting Clear Correct (like Invisalign)

    Terry - Oh my... the captcha strikes again!

  4. I went to the orthodontist once.


  5. Kristy...If Ian doesn't put this up for post of the year...HE'S CRAZY!!!!

    I was laughing and crying for ya all at the same time. I can say that often times i end up snorting soda out of my nose reading Sarah's posts.. This one indeed had that effect on me...

    Wonderful..(but i'm sorry for all the shit you went through to make me laugh).

  6. Oh Kristy! I will have nightmares over this post. (not for the reason you might think, either) I positively loathe those trays! I have insanely weak gag reflexes and those trays get stuck and will not come out easily. I think they dislocated my neck and jaw the last time I had that done. It's a darn good thing I won't remember what I dream... or I would be dropping the "f" bomb, myself! *shutter, cringe, wince*

    Thanks for the excellent visuals! *gag

  7. little bird - I completely understand... I think I must like pain just a little...

    Bendigo - You're welcome. If I made you laugh that hard then it was all worth it... I'm sorry... I'm lying... it so wasn't... but I'm still glad it made you smile.

    Ms. A - I was afraid they were going to chip my bottom teeth when they pulled the top tray down; it does take a lot of force. They should put a tongue depresser between your teeth and the tray or something... I can see how your neck might have gotten injured!

  8. BAHAHA to the last bit of that post. Oh lord...

    And oh yes. I remember this all too well. They do all that stuff for people who get normal braces too. Of which I had for six years. All the tightening, moulding, stretching, pulling...but I am not making you feel better am I?

    It's exciting that you are getting braces! Yay! :)

  9. Six... years... holy... cow... yeah... I think you just made me feel a wee bit better. Not much... but a bit...

  10. This reminds me that I'm never going to do this. I'm all big and brave until it comes to seeing those... *shudder* people.

  11. I've been through years of orthodontal shit like this. I so feel for you, and I appreciate all the curse words in here.
    It WILL be worth it in the end.
    Keep smiling.

  12. HAHAHA! You said ball sack! good times, great post.


  13. I had that shit from the age of 7 all the way till right before my 13th birthday. Nice to see that it hasn't changed much. It sucks shit.

    That wasn't the worst part...what you described...

    For me the worst was the once a month I had to go in and have those fuckers take pliers. Yes I said PLIERS to tighten the damn things.

    That's the real fun part. Oh yeah, and the pain that ensues afterward.

    Kind of gives wisdom teeth extraction a new meaning.

  14. I have sympathy for you...but alas, I have been through so much more at the dentist...
    Not only can I relate, but I feel your pain, and then some more!
    Don't you love when they shove those razor blades into your mouth and then tell you to 'bite down' on them when taking X-rays?