The Big B
Let’s finally discover what Lorna was fussing is about in her last post.
First, I want to set your mind at ease, or at least get you off the va-va-va-moose-caboose, before we got too far.
The “Big B” does not mean:
*Boob job (due to gravity, vanity or any of the ity-issues)
*Butt job (due to flattening, sagging, or general non-resemblance to Lady Gaga’s back-side)
*Botox (due to wanting to look perpetually awake or prepared for something unexpected)
*Basilar Artery Migraine (because I already have that, so that would be old news)
*Bathophobia (it’s not what you think, although I do prefer showers–it’s fear of deep spaces, which could be some of your modern spa tubs, but I think they mean caves and other death traps into which you could tumble)
*Blue Diaper Syndrome (don’t snicker, it’s a real condition, but I don’t have it mostly because I don’t wear diapers…yet…and my pee isn’t indigo blue…yet)
Okay. I’m not dying, at least not that I know of. So what gives?
Here’s what gives.
A couple of months ago, I went to the dentist for a routine six month check-up and cleaning. Yes, I’m that conscientious about my choppers. I smile a lot and teeth are, in my opinion, an important part of the overall quality and outcome of a smile.
While Dr. Perfect Teeth is poking around my clean, minty-fresh teeth, she says, “Hmmm.”
I don’t know about you, but this is not a sound I like to hear coming from someone wrist deep in my mouth.
“Wha?” I manage to semi-say.
“Have you noticed that your upper teeth, especially on your right, have, shall I say, changed positions over time?”
It took me a few seconds to respond because:
1. “Left” and” right” have always confused me under the calmest of circumstances.
2. This was not feeling like this was the calmest of circumstances.
3. I freeze when faced with danger, real or imagined, so any memory I had of the geopolitical landscape of my teeth and any changes vanished.
4. She still had her hands in my mouth so I couldn’t do a tongue-survey to check the geopolitical landscape of my teeth.
I finally eked out, “Mmm. Maamee?” I was trying to say “Maybe?”
When she removed her hands, I asked her what she saw.
She said that one of my front teeth was tilted backwards, the one next to it was twisted at a 45 or 50 degree angle. And some other things.
I stopped listening and started imagining my teeth as tectonic plates shifting around until the planet–my mouth–was no longer recognizable. Then NYC and LA were under water and Las Vegas was ocean front property. Perhaps I was drooling.
She snapped me back by snapping off her rubber gloves. That sound gets your attention in almost every situation.
“Well,” I asked, “what should I do?” I knew this was a question that had no happy answers. But I was in a chair with a bib around my neck. I kind of had to listen.
“If we do nothing, it will only get worse.”
“What do you mean, ‘worse’?” I licked my tongue over my teeth–the ones who had been busy doing the “Twist” or the “Watusi” while I was busy trying to age gracefully.
“The teeth that are twisted will continue to twist and the front teeth will continue to tilt backwards, eventually affecting your bite,” she said with white, perfectly straight teeth.
I had visions of me in a few years.
I don’t care that much about food. I don’t eat anything that tastes really, really good because of my fatwa on all processed foods, sugar, dairy, gluten, meat…you get the picture. But it was my smile. I had noticed the one tooth that was turning and was growing self-conscious about showing a wide Julia Roberts type smile already. If things got worse, I might was well stock up on medical masks or veils, depending on how frisky I felt.
Something had to be done. But, dentistry, like the rest of the world, had gotten high-tech, right? There must be some magic, slick new way to shove a few teeth back in place and be done with it, right? Sure, it might cost me big, but what is spousal maintenance for, anyway?
As it turns out, there is a way to shove teeth back in place, and it does cost a lot of money. But it’s not magic or slick. It may be a little more sophisticated than a decade or so ago, but not much.
The “Big B” I’m dealing with now and for the next year or so is…you guessed it…metal braces on my upper teeth.
Yup, I’m going to be 56 very soon and I get a chance to feel what it’s like to be a kid again. Oh Joy!
If you want to follow along with me as I experience what it’s like prepare for and then live with adult braces, hang around. Look for the tag, “Brace Yourself.”
I’ll be posting other kinds of posts, too, if this isn’t your thing.
Next up: the decision-making process, or how much is a winning smile worth to a virtual shut-in?