First off, happy holiday-of-your-choice, ReaderFriends! I wish you all the very best of weeks.
I, too, plan on having a nice week, full of family get-togethers and lots of remember-whens. However, I'm coming to grips with the fact that the food-and-drink portion of the holiday’s usual entertainments just won’t be the same this year. Because, you see, I just started Invisalign.
This, for those of you who don’t know, is a system of orthodontia that, rather than metal braces, involves a series of 20 or 30 custom-designed (with CAT scans and everything!) clear plastic casts that fit exactly over my teeth and provide twist-turn-push-pull-shove force to urge them into their proper alignment. The ads (and my dentist) made it seem all so easy. They’re clear! You can take them out to eat! It only takes a year or so! Look at all the happy people wearing our product! Smile!
You might think that I, being a relatively intelligent human being who is used to looking beyond the hype, would have thought “Hm. This involves moving body parts that are pretty firmly fixed in my head. I bet it’s not as easy as they make it sound.” But, no. I, after many years of “gee, I wish my teeth were straighter” and a recent faceplant off my bike that added some new chips and made them even less straight, took the plunge.
Today is my third full day in my first set of aligners, and so far I feel confident in saying that: a) moving teeth hurts; b) I’m almost over the lisp; c) this is going to be a great diet aid, as it’s too much of a pain (literally and symbolically) to take the aligners out for a random snack and I can only eat soft foods anyway; and d) I wanted this, it’s paid for, and my teeth already look better. So my message to self is: Suck it up, buttercup, or this is going to be a long year! (But, oh, how I’m going to miss popcorn.)
In the spirit of sucking it up, therefore, I determined that I needed to grind down two spots where the aligners were cutting into my mouth. Having announced this, I went in search of an emery board … and Arizona volunteered his Dremel.
This, dear friends, is an essential difference between the male and female of the species (at least in my experience). Once, back in my farm days, I was stymied by a frozen-solid barrel bolt that was preventing me from lowering the ramp on my horse van. I busted out my hairdryer and eventually (like an hour later) got the thing loosened up, only to have my ex come out after the fact, survey the scene, and comment: “Blowtorch would’ve been faster.” Which it would have, darn it. But apparently I just don’t think of the Big Hammer first on a day-to-day basis!
In the end, Arizona and I compromised on one of the rasps that he uses to work on our mountain bikes, soaked clean of metal filings and applied with great care. Et voila, the aligners are intact, the sharp edges are no more, and it hurts far less to swallow and talk. And maybe the next time I come to one of those situations where I stop and think, “What tool would work best for this?” I’ll try the Big Hammer first. Maybe I’ll use the car to crack some eggs … or the air compressor to clear that darn clogged drain … or … or …