www.whyville.net Jul 3, 2011 Weekly Issue

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June 24, 2011 was the day I got my braces off. My family asked me to smile what felt like a million times just to see my new, straight teeth. And honestly, I couldn't stop looking in the mirror either. Looking over the last year and a half with them, I think the most memorable part was getting them on in the first place.

I remember getting them in January 2010. It was the middle of the school year, my first in Washington. It was hard enough being at a new school in a new state, with all new classmates and teachers. But my crooked teeth made me even more shy. I didn't want to be known as the girl with the big gaps in her misaligned mouth. Finally, after months of asking and asking, my mom took me in to the orthodontist to get impressions, x-rays, and pictures taken.

X-rays have always been a problem for me. I have a terrible gag reflex. I mean terrible. When I was a kid, I refused to go to the dentist because they would put the rubber in my mouth to take the X-rays, and I would gag on it. But this time, they used a different kind of X-ray that did not require anything to be put into my mouth. I thought I had gotten away easy. That is, until my orthodontist started mixing up the brown-white goop for impressions.

If you have or have had braces, then you know what it feels like to have impressions taken. For the rest of you, I'll try my best to explain. Imagine a goo with a consistency at the half-way point between shaving cream and Play-Doh. This is put into a plastic tray that fits around your teeth, and then is shoved into your mouth and held there for about a minute while it dries over your top teeth. Then the process is repeated for the bottom. When they are taken out, they looks like white custard with the shape of your teeth in it. Unpleasant? You better believe it. But it takes only a few minutes and has to be taken when you get your braces on and off.

A week later I returned to the orthodontist's office for the tedious 2-hour appointment to get the brackets on my teeth and the wire put in. Let me just tell you from experience, most of the overall pain from braces comes from that first month of having them on. After that, the pain lessons over time.

Look at this, I probably just scared all of Whyville's future brace-bearers out of getting them. I may have made it sound a little worse than it was, though. One or two months of bad pain, then the rest will be easy. And if you don't gag, you've got a one-up on me. Plus, when you're done, your teeth will look beautiful for the rest of your life.

Gotta go brush again!


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