“The Road Goes Ever On and On…”

When we last met, summer had just begun and I was closing in on my one-year anniversary of bracedom.

Today, there is snow on the ground, and spring is lurking nearby (probably behind the Bradford pear at my folks’ house).

I still have braces. My metal mouthwear and I have had several exciting adventures during the past few several almost-year, including (but not limited to):

  • Power chain action
    • Because my teeth developed the Gap of Rohan on more than one occasion
  • Rubberbands everywhere
    • SO. MANY. TINY. RUBBERBANDS. Surprisingly, I lost only one (and found it a few months later…).
  • Wire gone awry
    • The entire bottom wire somehow slid just enough to come out of my farthest-back right molar bracket (the buh-looooood!).
      • Don’t worry; the ortho was able to set up an emergency appointment (thank you, Dr. B!). *whew*
  • O-ring severance
    • Chips will indeed do a number on your rubberbands, yo. (But my love for Kettle-brand crinkle-cut potato chips lives on!)
  • Tooth shaving
    • Sometimes you’ve gotta give a little to get a lot (i.e., give a little bit of tooth to get a lot of movement in the right direction).

I really, really wish that I had been able to keep you all up to date on the latest happenings in Orthodontialand, but it just didn’t happen. The past ten-ish months since my most recent post have been difficult. (I have been able to take only two vacation days during that span: the day after Christmas and the day after New Year’s, if that gives you any idea of the insanity that has been my life outside the blog.)

To compound that craziness, over the past year or so, my life goals and priorities have been shifting, and my compass slowly swung in a different direction than the one toward which I was so dutifully heading. The greatest evidence of this change is that I am quitting my job (don’t worry; my employer already knows 😉 ). If you know me, you know that this is a hecka big deal, and not just because of the financial implications.

But all of that is a tale for another day and a different blog.

Returning to [Bracketed Brackets], I have continued to take photos of my braces journey, so I plan on at least having a grand finale of sorts, as well as a few spinoffs. 🙂

For those of you who have hung around, thanks for continuing with me on this adventure! We’re in the home stretch!

“Young lady, if your teeth get any more perfect, we’re just gonna have to take those braces off!” –Dr. B

Soap Operas, Makeover Shows, and Spring Fashion

For the braces record: I’m not sure popcorn is worth it. Eating it is like a soap opera for my mouth.

“Oh, popcorn! I know I shouldn’t be eating you, but you are exactly what I want to consume right now! You’re so wonderful, popcorn! And you come in a giant ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ tin! IN THREE IRRESISTABLE FLAVORS! We’ll be safe as long as your jealous little husks don’t realize that there are places into which they can get lodged!”

And then the corn husk is all like, “Rennie! I’ve discovered the non-space between your back two molars! We’ll be together forever now that I’m wedged between tooth and metal!”

The sound of synthesizer violins fills the room as my eyes well up with tears and I dash to the bathroom to bust out all my food-dislodging tools (God bless you, Waterpik).

Someone keeps bringing bagels to work, though, and that sordid love affair continues. I can’t resist them—although I’ve found that I have much less patience than I used to for bagels with any kind of transferable topping (e.g., cinnamon sugar). This is probably due to my inability to simply bite into the bagel, which forces me to tear it into slightly-less-than-bite-sized chunks with my bare hands (rawr?), leaving said hands and any other surface within three square feet open to sugary assault.

And now for something completely different: the captured-in-a-photo version of my teeth’s continuing journey to bracetastic completion! I present to you the following:

  • Top row: end of second round and beginning of third round
  • Middle row: end of third round and beginning of fourth round
  • Bottom row: end of fourth round and beginning of fifth round

Sidenote: You would be correct in noting that I should be on my sixth round (if you’re keeping track (but pleeeeeease, for the love of sugar cookies, tell me you have better things to do than calculate my braces adjustment periods!)). The sticking point is that I haven’t transferred those pictures from my camera to my computer yet.

All the single braces, all the single braces!

Just like those fancy makeover shows, except that you don’t have to wait 45 minutes for the big reveal.

PROTIP: If you click on the image, it’ll show up on its own in this window.

Crazy, huh?! My teeth are a-movin’ and a-not-really-shakin’! I’m not even halfway through my orthodontia odyssey and such progress has been made.

And check out that gap in my teeth on the bottom row. Pretty gnarly. They achieved that by threading a tiny, tiny spring onto my wire.

We got spring fever, spring feverrrrherrrherrrrrr! We know how to do it!

Because nothing says Halloween and Thanksgiving quite like orange bands on one’s dental hardware.

I took that picture right after I exited Dr. B’s office. By the end of the day, most of the gap you see had developed (please refer to the collage’s bottom left picture). In the span of one workday, the shocking power of a tiny piece of coiled metal had forced two of my teeth apart. Mindblowing. Who came up with this stuff?

The tiny spring and I became fast friends. I have a habit of pushing on my teeth with my tongue (braces or no), so this spring and my tongue became BFFs. Much mindless spinning occurred. It was great.

What wasn’t so great about my friend the li’l spring was the fact that, if my mouth happened to fall open while I slept, my inner lip would adhere to that sucker like Bubblicious to a first-grader’s pigtails. Not the most exciting thing to wake up to (especially when waking up before the sun crawls over the horizon), but I lived. So just be warned about the nighttime treachery you may have to endure if springs are a part of your orthodontic experience.

  • Milestone of note: My right-side crossbite has been corrected! (And there was much rejoicing!)
  • Uncertainty of note: I’m still not sure if I’ll eventually be prescribed rubberbands. Every so often, I consider inquiring after my rubberbandy future, but I end up deciding to let it remain a mystery. I’m along for the ride. It’s been fun so far.

Annnnnnnnnd that’s the view from here! Thanks for watching reading! Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode!

Just Poppin’ In

Dear neglected li’l blog,

I’m so sorry I’ve left you all alone these past few weeks. Between deadlines, Board of Directors meetings, birthday celebrations, surprise visits from out-of-town/state friends, house/dog/cat/fishsitting, editing work, and a host of other things, you’ve been left to languish by the wayside. And for that I am sorry. Not woefully apologetic, because I’ve been out living/doing/being, but still sorry.

But I felt that a brief update should be made because I am eating popcorn right now and I was told not to do so. I’m letting the fluffy bits melt in my mouth and then I’m spitting out the kernel husks like so many watermelon seeds. No chewing involved.

And I’m throwing out the faintly burnt puffs. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I know you’re surprised, li’l blog, and so am I. I’ve made it through four-fifths of a bag of this microwaveable stuff, and I daresay I shall make it to the end without incident (famous last words?).

Wish me luck, and I’ll return to you soon!

With all sincerity (and nary a kernel husk wedged ‘tween my brackets),

Rennie