This time last week I had just had a brace fitted on my teeth and I wasn’t happy. I tried to be positive, put a brave face on it, focus on the benefits and various other clichéd attitude adjusters, without success. After three days, things were no better, if anything I was more stressed at the prospect of this continuing for a year or more. I couldn’t eat comfortably, I couldn’t distract myself from being constantly aware of the brace, and I just wanted it to go away.
Luckily I have a brilliant dentist. He not only understands my teeth and bite, he also understands my anxiety and will spend time just talking through things with me. So, after two long chats with him and a few adjustments to make eating easier, I am now a lot happier with it. It feels manageable. I’m a long way from being able to ignore it, but I don’t want to rip it out of my mouth right now.
I thought I was just going in for a consultation when I went for my appointment with the orthodontist this morning.
I had seen the orthodontist before and he had talked about braces then, but the last time I talked to my dentist about getting my teeth straightened we were still planning to go down the Clearstep route. I knew that plan would have to change — Clearstep have gone into administration since that last chat — so I was expecting to just discuss the options.
He was expecting to fit top and bottom braces.
This did not help my anxiety levels. I do not react well to unexpected events.
A few controlled breaths and some rapid rationalisation and I agreed to have one of the braces fitted to give me a chance to adjust to wearing them.
With great (Austrian apparently, though he sounds stereotypically German) efficiency, he fixed the brace in place. And that’s when the anxiety washed over me; the nurse was quite concerned at how white I had gone, but she was really good and kept chatting to me until I got a handle on things again.
I know it needs doing: the anxiety leads to clenching problems and my bite isn’t as good as it could be, the overlap on some teeth makes it hard to keep them shiny clean and, a long way behind in last place, being straighter will make them look nicer. I just wish I’d known it was going to happen before it did.