Previously on Brace Yourself: Her whole life, Anusha has detested and evaded braces like the plague, perceiving them as veritable instruments of torture. But one fateful day, upon visiting the dentist, she is told that braces would be an ideal option once a tooth of hers is extracted. Will Anusha ultimately become ensnared in the metal wiring? Will she bound to constantly visit an orthodontist every four weeks? Find out here…
While I was silent and obliging in our dentist’s presence, I was sure to share my shock and aversion on the ride home.
“Braces! Ma, I can’t get braces! They’re terrible!”
Staring fixedly at the road ahead, she replied, “Anusha, they seem horrible now, but just think of the long-run. By getting braces, you’ll have a magazine-worthy smile in the future. I’m sure they’ll be worth it.”
I thought about what my mother had said. After all, she seemed to have made a viable point. I’d seen plenty of others undergo the ordeal of braces, only to shed them later on for the grace and beauty of adulthood. Perhaps, I too could go through the arduous transformation. Perhaps, I too could bear braces. Where grudging consternation and shocked anger had been, a cautious hope began to take hold.
Several weeks, free consultations, dentist appointments, and hours of researching later, I finally found myself fitted within the confines of metal wires and brackets. I’d finally gotten braces.
Even after having had them in for a couple of days, they’re still a lot to get used to. I’ve been numb for several days, and even the slightest pressure on some of my teeth causes me incredible pain. Brushing has become a cumbersome dance between the bristles of my toothbrush, gums, teeth, and the intrusive metal. I’ve discovered that I can no longer consume caramel, whole apples, carrots, nuts, pretzels, chips, or gummi bears. That’s right-gummi bears. When my orthodontist’s assistant told me, I couldn’t contain my bitter laughter.
She might as well have told me that I couldn’t eat anything fun. But, always an optimist, I refuse to dwell on all that is unpleasant, and instead look to the future in hopeful anticipation. One day, perhaps in the distant future, my teeth will be once again free from these metallic constraints. They will be straight and perfect. Much like before, I will chew and swallow. I will articulate with ease. But instead of stubbornly keeping my mouth shut in photographs, I will show my lovely teeth to the world, insisting everyone see the work that has been done. That my epic battle with braces and insecurity has been won.