It’s now been ten months since I had braces fitted. How does it feel after 250 days of wearing metal fixtures on every tooth? Aside from the shredded cheeks, erupting ulcers, aching gums and headaches (and the ghastly yellow rubber band they threw in for good measure eight weeks ago) it’s actually feeling good.
None of the minor pain matters. I’m used to it, it’s amazing how quickly you adjust to having an entirely different mouth. I still have the odd ulcer here and there from the metal rubbing, and I bite my lip more often than I used to, and this rubber band is the most annoying thing on the planet, but in general it’s been fairly easy having them. Already I am so much less self-conscious. I can see my new teeth under the metal tracks and brackets, and I’m excited for my future with a straight smile. Doesn’t that sound so lame? But I really am excited because I’ve always had squint teeth (symmetrical, but squint), I’m so used to that crooked smile that has looked back at me since primary school. But now, beneath the braces, I can see straight, neat teeth forming.
Seeing the teeth – my teeth – fitting together all in a row, ship shape, is exciting and makes me impatient for the day when I can finally have a metal-free mouth (my orthodontist is hopeful that they will be off in time for Christmas). I can’t wait to eat anything I want in public without hurrying to the mirror (thankfully coffee barely touches the sides), to choose a red lipstick without worrying about people looking at my teeth, to throw my head back and laugh without holding my hand up to cover my mouth, to see photos that show off a happy, toothy smile rather than pursed lips.
Of course, a teeny, tiny part of me is sad that an element of my identity is going, will be gone soon. These new straight teeth mean my old ‘vampire’ teeth have disappeared, the dip in my lip on the lower side when I smile is fading (thanks to the rubber band which is sorting out my bite), and this makes me feel a bit sad because there is a family link with that dip.
My family and friends claim to have loved my smile, just as it was, and what more can you really hope for in life? For people who love you, just as you are. But those people have to include yourself, and I feel happy that I’ve finally followed a pipe dream and can now start to love myself that little bit more.
These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago in Dunkeld, at the Aran Bakery which is owned by Great British Bake Off semi-finalist Flora Shedden. It’s a small shop with only a few seats because the focus is on take away breads, pastries and cakes, as well as hot drinks. I ordered four pieces of cake for my husband’s 40th birthday and have to say they were all delicious. A nutty chocolate brownie, a wedge of courgette and lime sponge, a slice of lemon and poppy seed loaf, and another slice of loaf, this time pistachio. My decaf cappuccino was enormous, and it was great fun sitting in the window watching people pour into the shop to buy Flora’s baked goods. If you’re in Dunkeld, you should definitely make a point of popping in – but go early as they sell out within just a few hours most days.
Images: Kris Miller.
Location: Aran Bakery, Dunkeld.