Looking at my beautiful dog Rufus’ teeth every time he licked me was painful. Not physically painful, but emotionally painful. This may seem strange, and even downright weird, but the truth is that it was painful because I was jealous of my dog. Specifically, I was jealous at how straight and perfectly formed his teeth were, while mine looked like a row of dilapidated fences.
Growing Up With Crooked Teeth
Fact is that kids are merciless and cruel. They’ll find your weakness and go straight for the jugular. With how bad the state of my teeth was, my metaphorical soft belly was exposed. There was no mercy, and I was given daily verbal eviscerations on said condition.
My parents weren’t really of much help. I could tell they pitied me, but I was still too young to get braces; I still had my baby teeth after all! They sold me hope that once my adult teeth started forming, all would be well and I would have nice, straight teeth.
Alas, this did not come to pass. In fact, as each baby tooth fell out and a larger tooth took it place, one thing became evident almost immediately; my mouth was too small for the full 32 teeth. They cramped and pushed at each other like delinquents in a crowd, and the result was none too aesthetically pleasing.
Depression and much moping set in. The tooth fairy was a cruel joke; what did I care about 50p for a baby tooth when what replaced it was so much more monstrous? Life just did not seem fair to 11 year old me.
I Finally Visited the Orthodontist
When I turned 16, my parents agreed to get me braces. They had hesitated for years as braces weren’t cheap and growing up in the council flats, we obviously didn’t have much money. But I already knew this and had started slaving away at part time jobs since I was 13. I took my 3 years of savings, added that in to some of my parents, and finally I was on my way to correcting my teeth and hopefully improving my self-image.
And that’s how nervous 16 year old me ended up in the offices of probably the best orthodontic centre in Edgbaston, Birmingham. They also offered aesthetic dentistry and cosmetic dentistry services as well, which all apparently mean the same thing. How confusing.
How My Life Improved After Getting Orthodontic Treatment
Now of course, orthodontics isn’t an instant fix. It’s a process that lasts many months. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and extremely inconvenient. But for me, I would go through ten times the pain for what it did for me.
I wore those braces for 3 years. I later found the average person only really wore braces for 18 months to 2 years. My dental condition was so bad that my treatment had to be extended. Even then the orthodontist pushed the limits, tightening my braces more than the usual prescription every month. It was all so painful, but all so worth it.
Here’s what orthodontics did for me.
My Self Esteem Reached the Levels of a Normal and Well Adjusted Human Being
Do you know the level of self-consciousness you can achieve when you have one of the ugliest grills in the game? I kept my mouth firmly closed in every group picture I ever took as a kid, making me look even less friendly than normal. Worse, because my teeth protruded out so much I looked like I wasn’t smiling because I had food in my mouth.
The freedom I got from finally being proud to give a wide, friendly smile in pictures and to other people did wonders for my social life. This created a positive feedback loop where because I looked friendlier and more approachable (because of the smiling), people became friendlier and thus I became friendlier. My social circle must have quadrupled after I took off my braces.
I Realized That We Are All Animals
On a deeper philosophical level, getting what could be characterized as a cosmetic treatment really showed me that for all our blustering, humans really are animals. If someone has an ugly smile, does that mean that he or she is a bad person? And does a nice smile equate to friendly, open, and trustworthy?
No it does not. Yet the reactions I got before and after my treatment were so stark it almost made depressed again. I’ve read that obese people who lose weight and become fit go through a similar revelation. Oh well, I suppose until the day we evolve into pure energy, I will continue to be happy with what my orthodontist did for me.
I Finally Have Better Teeth than My Dog
And yes, on a side note I finally have better teeth than my dog. Not Rufus, who is long dead, but my current dog, Trey, who has a set of canines just as good or better than Rufus. But you know what; it’s still not as good as mine.