My broken smile

As a kid, it was brought up to my attention that I never smiled when I took pictures. I honestly never thought much of it, and I didn’t quite care.  As I grew older, I began to notice my smile.  I observed pictures that I took with friends and family and noticed how everyone showed their teeth, but I had the tendency to keep my mouth fully closed with much hesitancy to show my teeth. I was never conscientious or embarrassed of my teeth, but truthfully I never really liked my smile and didn’t have the energy to make the effort to smile fully.

The truth is, ever since my new teeth grew in as a kid, I’ve had an imperfect smile.  Over the years I’ve learned how to smile just enough to show some teeth, but not enough for the world to see how crooked my teeth actually are. My smile is a fraud – it’s a broken smile. For a very long time, I feel like I’ve gotten away with it.  I’ve been lucky that nobody has ever actually criticized my teeth (at least not to my face) to make me upset or feel like I’ve had to do anything about it.  The reality is, I have overcrowded teeth that are very noticeable and have indeed made me conscientious over the years as an adult.  Although it has bothered me for quite some time, I never actually thought about correcting my teeth – I always thought braces were for kids and that ship had sailed.  My thought has always been that if I’ve gone with crooked teeth for most of my life, why change now? Interestingly, as an adult I have learned to let things go and not care about superficial things. I don’t think any modeling agencies or toothpaste companies are going to be banging at my door anytime soon.  But for some reason over the years, I’ve become more and more conscientious.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts, I turn 40 this year.  I decided that from here on now, anything that I am passionate about or feel strongly about, I will make it happen. Early this year I decided I would look into getting Invisalign. The first step was finding a nearby orthodontist for a consult.  It turned out that I was a perfect candidate, the only problem was that my insurance didn’t cover it.  I thought it over carefully.  I felt somewhat guilty about adding an expense for something so superficial, but the more I reflected, the more I realized that this is extremely important to me.  I am not doing this to impress anyone, or find a guy (cause I already have one that loves me with all of my imperfections – I have a theory that he’s secretly blind), but I really want to do this for myself (and that is all that really matters).

On March 7th I received my first pair of aligners. I didn’t know what to expect and still unsure of the journey.   However, on my first day, it so happened that I was scheduled to do a presentation at a local community college. What I didn’t know is that I would experience discomfort and speak with a lisp.  I went into that classroom confidently and like a real trooper. I spoke with a minor lisp and my gums were sore, but I powered through because I was happy, this was the beginning of my quest for a mended smile.

Other random thoughts:

  • Ok, so this is totally going to be a total lifestyle change for the next 18 months.
  • For those not familiar with Invisalign – I have to keep them on for 22 hours. That means, I can only remove them to eat. Every time I remove them and put them back on, I have to brush the aligners, floss, and brush my teeth.  Not to mention, they are not that easy to take off and put on (but I am hoping it will get easier over time).
  • I can’t enjoy my morning cup of Joe and drink it leisurely (not worth going through the process of removing them).
  • I can’t casually pick up a chocolate or piece of candy from my candy jar (nope, not worth removing them).
  • I can’t have any afternoon snack (again, the whole process thing).
  • While at Trader Joe’s I can’t eat the fun samples they offer and can’t have a sip of their drink of the day.
  • Good news, I can keep them on if I want to drink water – yay.
  • As you can see, there are lots of limitations with these things (but sooooo worth it).
  • In 18 months I will share my transformation and hopefully my new mended smile 🙂

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