I used to hate it back in high school, when I would be walking down the hall between classes or something and somebody, usually a guy, would look at me and bark “Smile!” like it was an order or something. Like maybe I wasn’t providing the proper high school background crowd scene for his damn day.
Not that I mind smiling. Not at all. What I have always minded is doing stuff on command. Personal stuff like smiling or reading a novel or eating vegetables.
My smile hasn’t aged well, though I started off in life with fairly straight teeth. I had all four of my wisdom teeth pulled when I was in my late 20’s – in one glorious intravenous-Valium buffered sitting. This provided lots of room at the back of my mouth for all my teeth to hang out in. But instead, the top ones in particular gradually crowded their way to the front, and that moved the front ones out of line in all directions.
I KNOW already that I’m going to get old – if I’m lucky. But I refuse to look like an elderly rabbit. So 14 months ago I signed up for teeth-straightening with a local orthodontist. Using the Invisalign system. Which is a very interesting confluence of computer-assisted technology and orthodontic expertise.
Sadly, a couple of my upper teeth aren’t moving with the rest of them, and after talking it over with my doc, I’m going to finish up the straightening in regular braces. Yes, a semi-retired person in good old metal braces. After cringing a little at that idea, I’ve gotten over myself. I’m bloody pleased and grateful to have my own teeth, not to mention fully functioning limbs and major organs.
Today we got started on the braces. The doc inserted rubber band thingies between some of my teeth to create space.
Next week I get metal stuff glued to several of my teeth and the fun begins for real. But only for six months or so, and it’s all paid for now. So I’m smiling.