By: Nyma Singh Merchant of iDiva
Around three months ago, I took the decision to get my slightly aadha-tedha teeth fixed by getting braces. My situation was not as bad as most people, who have severely displaced teeth and need braces on both, top and bottom sets of teeth. My two adult canine teeth ended up growing behind my too-late-to-fall-off milk canines, resulting in them now having to be pushed in line with the rest of my teeth. As most people would assume, my choice of getting braces was not for cosmetic reasons, but because the dentist freaked me out about what it would do to my mouth in the future. And so it happened, the big life change most people go through as teenagers, I am currently living as a 23-year-old, medium-level adult.
Now most people may not see this as a big deal, and to be honest, most of the time, it isn't; plus it's not nearly as painful as people have described it to be. But as someone who has a hundred and one issues about myself and the way I look, among other things, I currently have many moments of self-consciousness, owing to my new metal-mouth. Contrary to the weird sense of excitement I felt about this ‘new' side of me when I was about to get the braces, I seem to feel far less joy about them right now. I know it hasn't been long enough yet for me to really break into these things, but my feelings towards having random metal knick-knacks stuck to my teeth are fairly akin to a rollercoaster.
On the one hand, I think about the fact that in a year or (I'm really hoping against this) two, I will have so-called "perfect" teeth. Perfect for my face, at least, and that's a pretty exciting thought. But on the other hand, I've never been as conscious about my smile before, as I am now. Which is definitely part and parcel of the whole braces experience. It's just that most people go through this between the ages of 12-17, while I have to go to the office and be an adult whose smile reflects light into people's eyes, every day. I don't even know if this is because of the reactions I got, or my own tendency to feel self-conscious, but my new go-to smile is a closed-mouthed one. Even when I'm excessively happy, unless I forget to control it.
I'm aware that I'm caught up with what people think, and that's something I need to get over. But in a world where consciously or unconsciously, people judge each other based on looks, I'm afraid my braces will prevent people from taking me seriously. Whether at work, or even when I go out dancing with my friends, I try to avoid revealing my braces to people as much as I possibly can. That's just one aspect of it, though. The part about having braces (even only on my top row of teeth), that I legitimately HATE, is not being able to eat what I want. (I genuinely feel for the people who have top and bottom braces, because seriously, how do you ever eat?)
My orthodontist advised me to stay away from hard foods and pizza (PIZZA!) for at least a year, and I was just like, "psssh, they're just being cautious". But after one of my brackets fell out early on in my brace-face journey, while eating a piece of lavash, it's been paranoia city. I can't chew properly anymore, and if there's something harder than the texture of a normally done toast, I just can't eat it. Food resembling baby food, ice cream or any liquid food is my ideal meal now, and this is by far the part of this whole thing that I can't wait to end.
I'm still holding on to my optimism though, and the thought that this will all be worth it. So here's hoping I'm able to smile and eat more freely in the next couple of months as a 23 (and soon enough, 24) year-old braces-wearing adult.